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FCBL Around The Diamond: August 10, 2021

Standings | Schedule/Results | Stats | FCBL Network

By Benjamin Upson

Last Night’s Games:

Sunday, August 8

Brockton Rox 6, Worcester Bravehearts 2 (7 innings) (Game 1)

The Brockton Rox and Worcester Bravehearts met on Sunday at Campanelli Stadium with lots of playoff implications on the line. Brockton is fighting for the #2 seed in the FCBL playoffs, while Worcester is trying to hang on for the #4 and final spot. 

The Rox offense got out to a quick start with 3 runs in the 1st and 6th innings. They didn’t waste time as center fielder Jacob Studley (Wheaton College) and left fielder Ben Rounds (Harvard University) got them on the board with an RBI single and RBI double, quickly making it 3-0 Rox. 

In the 6th inning, it was Rounds once again who got the Rox some more run support with an RBI single into right field, followed up by a sacrifice fly from first baseman Erick Ramirez (UMass Dartmouth). It was 6-2 Brockton after that 6th inning, which remained as the final score in Game 1. 

Starting pitcher Juaron Watts-Brown led the charge on the mound for Brockton, as he went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits with a walk and 6 strikeouts, a good performance overall. They brought in their closer Randall Perrin (Triton College) redeemed himself after his disappointing performance on Friday in Pittsfield where the Rox blew a 5-1 lead. This time was much different as he tossed a scoreless inning with a walk and a strikeout. 

Ben Rounds (Harvard University) is indeed the player of Game 1 for the Rox as he posted a 2-4 day with 4 RBIs, including an RBI double and RBI single to score some runs for them. He keeps up his hot weekend with 4 RBIs in this game, along with the 5 RBI performance in Westfield on Friday. 

New Britain Bees 6, Norwich Sea Unicorns 0

The New Britain Bees and Norwich Sea Unicorns met one final time for the regular season on Sunday at New Britain Stadium. An offensive slugfest on Friday went in New Britain’s favor, Saturday’s pitcher’s duel went to Norwich. Who would take the final game of the weekend?

The Bees got the ball rolling on offense from the start with a couple of runs put up on the board during the 1st and 2nd innings, highlighted by a 2 RBI triple from Alec Ritch (Middlebury College) to center field that scored some UConn infield teammates, second baseman Zach Donahue and third baseman Todd Petersen, making it 3-0 New Britain. 

What helped them in securing this victory was a 2 RBI performance from designated hitter Harrison Feinberg (University of Southern California), who is the player of the game. He put the icing on the cake in the 5th inning with a 2-run shot out of the park that would dash any hopes left for the Norwich Sea Unicorns, making it 6-0. 

On the mound for the Bees was Joe Nemchek (Southern Connecticut State University), who posted a solid start, going for 5 shutout innings, allowing only 1 hit, 3 walks along with 7 strikeouts. Nemchek has had a rough time for parts of this season and got a great start as we wind down the season. Overall, he sports a 1-3 record with a 4.80 ERA. It is just his 3rd scoreless outing in 11 appearances for New Britain.  

New Britain wins the weekend series 2-1 over Norwich and for the moment, still has some playoff hopes left in its tank. Time continues to tick for the Bees and they have a difficult final week ahead with Worcester and Brockton both left on the schedule. Norwich is in a similar position and will have to face Westfield 3 times, who is the team closest to chasing the #4 seed at the moment.

Pittsfield Suns 3, Westfield Starfires 0 (7 innings)

There was another doubleheader in action at Bullens Field as the Pittsfield Suns took on the Westfield Starfires. Playoff implications were on the line here as well. Pittsfield is in a battle with Brockton to determine who will get the #2 and #3 seeds. Meanwhile, Westfield is looking to sneak into the FCBL playoffs after getting closer to Worcester on Friday with a 5-0 win against them at home. 

The Suns scored 3 runs in this game, one coming in the 2nd inning off a wild pitch and then the others off a 2-run home run by designated hitter Cabot Maher (Colby College), making him the player of the game. Maher has also pitched for the Suns this season, making 11 appearances on the mound with 11.1 innings under his belt and a string of 4 consecutive scoreless outings. 

Starting pitcher Izaiya Mestre (University of New Haven) kept his great 2021 campaign rolling for the Pittsfield Suns with a dominant performance on Sunday in Game 1, lasting all 7 scoreless innings as it was a doubleheader, allowing just 4 hits with 8 strikeouts. Mestre improves to 4-2 with a 1.95 ERA on the season and continues to impress for the Suns as a big part of their rotation throughout the season. With Game 1 under their belt, Pittsfield extended their winning streak to 8 games and were looking to keep it up in Game 2. 

Worcester Bravehearts 8, Brockton Rox 1 (Game 2)

Game 2 began roughly 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1. With Worcester’s 4th place standing hanging in the balance, they needed to take this victory to stay with Westfield in the battle for 4th place. 

This game was not quite like Game 1 as we saw the Worcester Bravehearts walk away with a commanding victory, much like Brockton doing basically the same earlier with a 6-2 victory in Game 1. The Bravehearts got down 1-0 after the 1st inning, but jumped right back into a lead. They won this game in the 6th inning with a 5 run spot that they posted, which included 2 RBI doubles and an RBI single.

The player of the game goes to one of the newer members of the team, and that is left fielder Mark Darakjy (Northeastern University). He went 3-3 with 3 RBIs and a walk, including two big hits in the 5th and 6th innings that helped put some runs on the board for Worcester. He has been with the team only since July 29th. 

Reliever Dennis Colleran (Northeastern University) entered this game and was a big part of shutting down the Rox offense. Colleran was just recently voted to the FCBL team of the month for his incredible work throughout the month of July and it carried over into this performance. He pitched during the middle of the game, tossing 4 scoreless innings with 3 hits allowed, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.  

The Westfield Starfires are scheduled to come into town on Monday to face Brockton. Playoff implications are on the line here as a Westfield win ties them for 4th place. If Brockton loses, that gives the #2 seed in the playoffs to the Pittsfield Suns, who are still clinging onto some hopes of the #1 seed as they have 2 games remaining with the Vermont Lake Monsters this week. 

Vermont Lake Monsters 7, Nashua Silver Knights 1

Another best-of-3 weekend series concluded on Sunday as the Vermont Lake Monsters were facing the Nashua Silver Knights one more time. Vermont was in search of its 40th win of the season, all while getting closer and closer to clinching the #1 seed in the playoffs. As for Nashua, playoff hopes were dwindling and they needed to get a win to have any chance of staying alive. 

Throughout the weekend, the Lake Monsters have handled the Silver Knights very well, shutting them out in both games on Friday and Saturday behind dominant group efforts from the starters and bullpen. This was once again on display for the majority of Sunday’s contest. 

Starting pitcher Patrick Harrington (Assumption College) has been on cruise control as of late for Vermont and it remained the same way for him on Sunday. He tossed 5 more solid innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. He improves to a 5-2 record with a 2.32 ERA in 12 games pitched this season. 

As for the offense, the hitting streak came to a close for catcher Ethan Anderson (University of Virginia) at 17 games after an unbelievable stretch, in which he recorded a total of 32 hits, 27 RBIs and 3 home runs, spectacular numbers that are not able to be replicated too often. 

The Lake Monsters took advantage and put up some big numbers in the 5th and 7th innings, including some help from the player of the game, second baseman Anthony Stephan (University of Virginia) who went 3-4 with an RBI single and RBI double in the 6th and 7th innings. This was just his 2nd 3-hit game of the season as he finally found success. 

Vermont has 4 games remaining on their season schedule, including 2 potential games in a battle for the #1 seed with the Pittsfield Suns. They are still in a comfortable position as they are 3 games ahead of them with 4 games left, but Pittsfield just won 8 straight games so you can’t quite count them out just yet. Either way, the Lake Monsters have now hit 40 wins on the season, the first team to do so in 2021. 

Westfield Starfires 9, Pittsfield Suns 8 (Game 2)

The Westfield Starfires and Pittsfield Suns ran it back for Game 2. With Worcester losing Game 1 to Brockton, the Starfires realized that this was a prime opportunity to keep pace with the Bravehearts and they needed this victory in order to do so. 

Much like Game 1, the Suns got out to an early lead, scoring 3 runs in the 1st inning of the game. They came across from an RBI double, RBI groundout and balk, which is rarely called in the Futures League. They led 3-0 early on but Westfield was able to work their way back into the game slowly but surely. 

3-0 didn’t look bad as it quickly turned into a 4-3 deficit. Pittsfield took advantage of this with 2 runs in the 2nd innings from a bases loaded walk and error, killing the momentum the offense had started building. 

Westfield broke it open in the 5th inning as they posted 6 runs off of 4 hits. A passed ball, hit by pitch, 2 RBI singles and a walk summed up the disastrous inning for the Suns defense as the Starfires stormed ahead to lead 9-5 after the 5th inning was over. 

What is perhaps the most impressive feat of this game for the Starfires is the impressive stamina of starting pitcher Patrick Jordan (Westfield State University). Despite allowing 6 runs on 8 hits, he went the distance in Game 2 of this doubleheader, pitching all 7 innings.

The new members have shown up in the Futures League and have impressed as of late. This was the same case as Pittsfield shortstop Anton Lazits (Columbia University) got the honors with a 2-4 day, including an RBI double, and 3-run home run in the loss. It was Lazits 5th game of the season with the Suns after he just joined the team a week or two ago. 

In the end, Westfield remains 0.5 game back of Worcester, just like they were at the beginning of the day. Brockton and Westfield were the only teams scheduled to play on Monday around the Futures League. The game was cancelled due to inclement weather in the area.

FCBL Standings:

  1. x-Vermont Lake Monsters (40-22) (Leader)

  2. x-Pittsfield Suns (36-24) (3 GB)

  3. x-Brockton Rox (33-26) (5.5 GB)

  4. Worcester Bravehearts (29-32) (10.5 GB)

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  1. Westfield Starfires (28-32) (11 GB)

  2. Norwich Sea Unicorns (27-36) (13.5 GB)

  3. New Britain Bees (25-34) (13.5 GB)

  4. Nashua Silver Knights (24-36) (15 GB)

FCBL Nightly Awards:

Player Of The Night: DH #12 Harrison Feinberg, New Britain (2-4, HR, 2B, 1 R, 2 RBI) (University of Southern California)

Pitcher Of The Night: #11 Izaiya Mestre, Pittsfield (WIN, 7 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 8 K) (University of New Haven)