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FCBL Around The Diamond: July 24, 2021

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By Benjamin Upson

Last Night’s Games:

Saturday, July 24 

Westfield Starfires 8, Norwich Sea Unicorns 6

The Futures League Saturday NESN showcase continued out at Dodd Stadium in Norwich as the Westfield Starfires rode their 4-game winning streak into a matchup with the Norwich Sea Unicorns. 

Designated hitter Hunter Yaworski (Mitchell College) came through in the 3rd inning for Norwich with an RBI single to right field, bringing in third baseman Ian Battapaglia (Franklin Pierce University) to score the opening run of the game. 

Westfield did not waste much time in coming back as they bunched all 8 of their runs together across the 4th, 5th and 6th innings. First baseman Peter DeMaria (Tufts University) clubbed a 2-run home run out to right field in the 4th to put the Starfires up 2-1. 

Shortstop Cam Meyer (Georgetown University) got an RBI single in the 5th inning, following it up with center fielder Christian Beal (Richmond University) and Meyer, who both recorded a pair of RBI singles to extend the lead in the 6th to make it an 8-1 ball game. 

The player of the game was Cam Meyer, who had a 4-5 day with 4 singles, a run scored and 3 RBIs. He was a big part of the win on Saturday and did it in front of a New England audience on NESN. Meyer had only recorded 5 hits in his previous 6 games, so it snapped a small offensive drought for him in the process. 

The Sea Unicorns were not done yet as this game ended much closer than an 8-1 deficit. They got 3 runs back in the 6th inning when first baseman Anthony Porrino (Sacred Heart University) drilled a 3-run home run to make it 8-4. Norwich got 2 runs back in the 8th inning with an RBI groundout and RBI single by Battapaglia which got it to 8-6. 

The 9th inning provided some late drama as well when Norwich was able to load the bases. Westfield reliever Zach Clevenger (UMass) who was on the mound stayed in the game and shut the door on a comeback, striking out second baseman Reece de Castro (Castleton University) and getting catcher Matt Malcom (Eastern Connecticut State University) to ground out. 

It may not be on the level of the Vermont Lake Monsters at the moment, but Westfield continues to rack up their own streak as they have now reached 5 consecutive wins. They are making a move themselves as they continue to close in on the top 4 in the FCBL standings. 

Pittsfield Suns 4, Brockton Rox 3

It was a crucial showdown on Saturday up at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton as the Pittsfield Suns were looking to regain their positive momentum from the first half of the season against the first place Brockton Rox. 

This was a thrilling contest throughout and provided lots of drama. Brockton was in control for the majority of the game. Left fielder Jacob Studley (Wheaton College) decided to steal 2nd base and was caught in a rundown. Right fielder Mike Golankiewicz (Merrimack College) came in to score from 3rd while all that was occurring, putting Brockton on the board. 

The Rox tacked on another run in the 7th inning when Golankiewicz recorded his 5th home run of the season off a 1-1 pitch and took it deep to right field over the wall. Mike continues his impressive campaign, now .396 on the year with 28 RBIs. He holds 2nd place in the league in runs batted in and is now tied for 1st place in home runs with the injured third baseman Luke Broadhurst (Eastern Connecticut State University) of New Britain. It is unknown if and when he will return to the Bees. 

The Suns were not getting anything on offense, as the Brockton pitching staff limited them to just 1 hit through 8 innings. That tone changed in the 9th inning for Pitttsfield. Shortstop Cole Wojtkowski (Bryant University) came home to score off an error by Brockton third baseman Nick Mistone (Saint Mary's College (CA) to cut it to 2-1. A sacrifice fly later in the inning tied the game up. 

The game was now even at 2-2 after the 9 scheduled innings and there would be extra baseball necessary. The 10th inning got off to a great start for Pittsfield as first baseman Jack Thorbahn (Northeastern) drilled a solo shot to put them in front. Later in the inning, catcher Michael Groves (UNC Asheville) drove in another run with an RBI single to right field, making it a 4-2 ball game. 

Brockton came to bat in the bottom half of the 10th inning against Pittsfield closer Ryan Langford (Florida Southern). They got a few runners on base with 2 outs in the inning but were unable to make enough noise. Catcher JP Olson (Northeastern University) was able to get an RBI single to right field to drive in Ben Rounds (Harvard University), but that was it for the Rox as they fell in a close one 4-3. 

Nashua Silver Knights 6, Worcester Bravehearts 2

The Worcester Bravehearts were in search of their 3rd straight win at home as they met with the Nashua Silver Knights once again on Saturday at Hanover Insurance Park.

3 runs came across in the 2nd inning for the Silver Knights as they set the tone early. Right fielder John Mead (Wilmington University) got off to a good start with a massive RBI triple that brought home second baseman Brandon Fish (UMass-Lowell) to put them ahead early. A couple of errors by the Worcester defense in that same inning allowed them to expand the lead to 3-0. 

The Braveheart offense was rather quiet as the Nashua pitching staff surrendered just 2 runs on 4 total hits with a combined 10 strikeouts. It all began with starter Nick Guarino (Southern Connecticut State University) who went for 5 strong scoreless innings, surrendering only 1 hit with 4 walks and 7 strikeouts. Saturday marked Guarino’s 4th consecutive start of at least 5 innings pitched. 

With the pitching working well, the Nashua offense did not let up and were able to score some additional runs, with 1 in each the 4th, 7th and 8th innings. Right fielder Kevin Skagerlind (UMass) and third baseman Sam McNulty (Boston College) each recorded a pair of RBI doubles to extend the Silver Knights lead. 

The game was all but over as Worcester made a small bit of noise with a run scored in each of the 7th and 9th innings, one off of an error by Nashua, the other on a solo home run by catcher Zach DeMattio (Wheaton College). It was his 4th home run of the season and first since June 26th against New Britain. 

Worcester draws a bit closer to the edge of the playoff picture, now just a 0.5 game ahead of the streaking Westfield Starfires. They will have to put together some good baseball over these final weeks to stay in that top 4 position. 

Vermont Lake Monsters 11, New Britain Bees 1

The Vermont Lake Monsters stormed into New Britain Stadium on Saturday for a matchup with the New Britain Bees. It was the first time all season that the Lake Monsters played in New Britain as we are now two months in. 

From the start, the bats were hot for Vermont, as they scored 2 runs in the 1st and 4 in the 2nd, setting the tone from the beginning of the game. Catcher Ethan Anderson (University of Virginia) kickstarted the offense with a 2-run home run deep to right field. He added on to the lead with an RBI single in the 2nd inning.

Center fielder Andrew Bergeron (Georgetown University) and second baseman Anthony Stephan (University of Virginia) got in on the action. Stephan reached on an error by the New Britain defense, which tallied 3 errors in total and Bergeron ripped an RBI double all the way toward the left field wall. It was quickly 6-0 Vermont.

The New Britain pitching staff was able to settle down when Brendan Kirck (Springfield College) entered the game. It was his 13th appearance of the season and he allowed just 1 run on 3 hits over 3.2 innings of work. 

Vermont added on in the 8th inning with 4 runs off of 7 hits, including a home run, wild pitch and 2 RBI singles to put them ahead by double digits, 11-0. New Britain was able to get 1 run in the bottom half, but it was not enough as Vermont won in mercy rule fashion.

Ethan Anderson is the clear nominee for player of the game as he went 3-4 on the night with a home run, walk and 3 RBIs. Since he made his debut with Vermont on June 30th against the Norwich Sea Unicorns, he has been among some of the best players in the Futures League. He has home runs in back-to-back games now, with a 3-run shot in Pittsfield on Friday and now the 2-run shot in New Britain on Saturday. 

These two will be getting more familiar with each other, as they are scheduled to play 4 more games next week across Thursday-Saturday, two in Vermont and two in New Britain, including a doubleheader. Vermont is closing in on 1st place Brockton, as they are now a 0.5 game back. Those two will meet for a doubleheader on Monday at Campanelli Stadium.

FCBL Nightly Awards:

Player Of The Night: SS #56 Cam Meyer, Westfield (4-5, R, 3 RBI) (Georgetown University)

Pitcher Of The Night: #15 Jack Snook, Brockton (6 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 8 K) (St. Mary’s College (CA)