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FCBL Around The Diamond: August 4, 2021

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By Benjamin Upson

Last Night’s Games:

Wednesday, August 4

Nashua Silver Knights 9, New Britain Bees 6 (7 innings) (Game 1)

The Nashua Silver Knights stormed into New Britain to face the Bees for a doubleheader on Wednesday with a prime opportunity to gain even more ground on the teams ahead of them in the playoff race. On a 6-game winning streak, anything can be possible. 

Nashua opened the scoring with 2 early runs to take a 2-0 lead, 1 during the 1st and 2nd innings combined. From there, New Britain then had their own chances, scoring at least 1 run in every inning from the 2nd to the 6th. 

Despite the Silver Knights leading for most of the time, we were all tied at 4-4 as we headed to the 6th inning. Nashua got on top once again with an RBI single from first baseman Will MacLean (UMass) to get a 5-4 lead. That was not the last we heard from the Bees. 

In the bottom half of the inning, they rallied to take the lead off 2 more runs of their own. One of the new members of the team, right fielder Harrison Feinberg (University of Southern California) tied it up with an RBI single, leading to a sacrifice fly from second baseman Zach Donahue (UConn) to later score Feinberg, giving the Bees a 6-5 lead.

New Britain brought out reliever Brendan Kirck (Springfield College) to attempt and close it out. As of late, he had been having a lot of success on the mound, allowing just 2 earned runs over his last 7 starts. That turned for the worse as the Nashua offense mounted a big rally with an RBI double, RBI triple and sacrifice fly to end this one by a score of 9-6. Kirck was pulled once Nashua took the lead at 7-6, but was credited with allowing 3 runs on 5 hits over 1.1 innings. 

This was a missed opportunity in Game 1 for the Bees as they held that narrow lead and let it slip away in the final inning. They had their work cut out for them, knowing they would need to find something as they went into Game 2 later that night. 

Nashua Silver Knights 3, New Britain Bees 1 (7 innings) (Game 2)

After securing the Game 1 victory, the Silver Knights were in pursuit of the sweep after gaining confidence with the late rally in the early game. 

The offense came early in this game as Nashua struck with 2 runs in the 1st inning off an RBI single by John Mead (Wilmington University) and on an outfield error that allowed Kevin Skagerlind (UMass) to score. At this point, Nashua took a 2-0 lead. They hung onto the lead the rest of the way.

New Britain only managed 1 run on 2 hits in this game and it came on a leadoff home run by Colin Kelly (Fairfield University) way back in the 1st inning. They also recorded 4 errors on defense, partially to blame in this loss. 

The player of the game came from the Silver Knights pitching staff as Noah Wachter (Plymouth State University) tossed 5.2 innings of work, allowing 1 earned run on 2 hits with 8 strikeouts. Wachter also recorded his first start of the season in the 3-1 win. 

The Bees hopes of a playoff spot are slipping away quickly as they now fall to 5.5 games out of Worcester in 4th place. They have also dropped 10 of their last 11 games in one of the most crucial stretches of the season. If there is to be any hope left for the team, they must defeat the Worcester Bravehearts when they head to New Britain on Thursday. 

Worcester Bravehearts 2, Brockton Rox 1 (7 innings) 

The Worcester Bravehearts headed east to face the Brockton Rox at Campanelli Stadium on Wednesday, in a big matchup amongst top teams in the standings. Brockton was clinging to 2nd place just barely as the Pittsfield Suns were putting pressure on them for the spot. 

There was only one run managed by the Brockton offense. It came back during the 1st inning when center fielder Jacob Studley (Wheaton College) knocked an RBI infield single that scored third baseman Nick Mistone (Saint Mary’s College (CA), making it a 1-0 game. 

There was not much in the way of offense but the Bravehearts did just enough to stave off the Rox. First baseman Gavin Noriega (Marist College) was responsible for both of the Worcester runs scored in the game. He got a run across in the 4th inning off an RBI double followed by a fielder’s choice and error in the 6th inning that allowed for second baseman Cam Caraher (Southern New Hampshire University) to come in and score, giving the Bravehearts a 2-1 lead. 

Pitcher Max LeBlanc (UMass) made a huge difference on the mound for the Bravehearts and is the player of the game. He tossed 6 dominant innings of work, allowing just 1 earned run on 2 hits. It is his 3rd consecutive win on the season as he improves to 4-1 with a 4.07 ERA overall.  

Inclement weather entered the eastern Massachusetts area, forcing this game to be called during the bottom of the 7th inning and Worcester winning by a score of 2-1. It’s an unfortunate ending to a contest that has a good amount of playoff implications within it, but obviously Mother Nature had different plans. Brockton drops to 3rd place for the first time in many weeks, while Worcester gets a small cushion in 4th place once again. 

Vermont Lake Monsters 9, Westfield Starfires 8

The Vermont Lake Monsters and Westfield Starfires ran it back on Wednesday at Bullens Field as part of a back-to-back. After a 10-1 rout by the Starfires on Tuesday, this game had much more drama and excitement. Westfield needs every game they can get as they keep trying to get within reach of the 4th place Worcester Bravehearts. 

Everything was going right for the Starfires once again much like Tuesday. They were able to gain as much as an 8-0 advantage by the end of the 4th inning and the feeling was that this game was practically nearing the end. But you can never take your foot off the gas, especially in the sport of baseball. 

The 8th inning is where the tone of this game completely changed. Trailing by a score of 8-3, Vermont posted 6 runs, but only off 2 hits! The Westfield pitching really cost them, allowing 5 walks, 2 wild pitches and 1 hit by pitch, all part of a completely disastrous inning which put them down 9-8. They would fail to score in the 9th, making this the final score with Vermont pulling off an incredible comeback. 

Despite the awful loss, the player of the game must go to Westfield designated hitter Braydon Seaburg (Quinnipiac University). He hit a 2-run home run on Tuesday against Vermont and carried his success over into Wednesday. Seaburg went 3-5 on the day with an RBI double, RBI single, solo home run and 4 RBIs in total, falling just a triple shy of the cycle. 

Vermont is inching very close to clinching the first playoff spot in the Futures League this season and has the opportunity to clinch as early as Thursday when they go on the road to face the Pittsfield Suns. If our math is correct, they can get in with a win at Pittsfield OR a Worcester loss at New Britain AND Westfield loss at Nashua on Thursday. They will be locked into the 2021 FCBL postseason with a week remaining in the regular season if this scenario happens.  

The Playoff Race

Here are the updated standings at the conclusion of Wednesday’s action. From now through the conclusion of the regular season, we will be posting these in the articles. The playoff race is certainly getting intense in the 5-8 spots as Nashua has won 8 straight games, making some noise late to try and chase a playoff spot. 

FCBL Standings:

  1. Vermont Lake Monsters (37-21) (Leader)

  2. Pittsfield Suns (32-23) (3.5 GB)

  3. Brockton Rox (31-23) (4 GB)

  4. Worcester Bravehearts (28-28) (8 GB)

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  1. Westfield Starfires (25-30) (10.5 GB)

  2. Nashua Silver Knights (24-32) (12 GB)

  3. Norwich Sea Unicorns (25-34) (12.5 GB)

  4. New Britain Bees (22-33) (13.5 GB)

 

FCBL Nightly Awards:

Player Of The Night: #3 Braydon Seaburg, Westfield (3-5, HR, 2B, 4 RBI) (Quinnipiac University)

Pitcher Of The Night: #34 Noah Wachter, Nashua, (WIN, 5.2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 8 K) (Plymouth State University)