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FCBL Around The Diamond: August 16, 2021

Around the diamond

By Benjamin Upson

Last Night’s Playoff Games:

Sunday, August 15

Game 2: Pittsfield Suns 6, Brockton Rox 5

After taking the trip out east, the Pittsfield Suns were ready to go for Game 2 of their series with the Brockton Rox. The Suns were trailing 1-0 in the series and they certainly had their share of chances at home in Game 1, stranding 8 runners on base over the course of the game as the Rox won 6-2. That needed to change on Sunday as they were down to their last life in these playoffs.

The Rox got off to a wicked hot start as starting pitcher Dillon Ryan (UMass Boston) opened the game with 6 consecutive strikeouts. Ryan had an amazing regular season in 2021, going 5-0 with a 1.36 ERA in 39.2 innings pitched, allowing 21 hits with 66 strikeouts.

They also backed him up with a nice offensive burst to start the game, scoring 4 runs over the first 2 innings with a couple of RBI singles from center fielder Jacob Studley (Wheaton College) and third baseman Nick Mistone (Saint Mary’s College (CA), roughing up Suns starting pitcher Kyle Roche (Franklin Pierce University).

The Suns quickly got back into this game in the 3rd inning as we once again saw an error filled inside-the-park home run! Left fielder Jack Cooney (Springfield College) drilled a single to center field and 2 errors by the Brockton defense allowed center fielder Joel Lara (Franklin Pierce University), second baseman Stephen Quigley (Wheaton College) and Jack Cooney all to score to cut the deficit to 4-3. Pittsfield tied it up in the 4th inning on a wild pitch and just like that from 4-0 it was quickly 4-4.

The Suns were able to break through and take the lead for the first time in the 6th inning behind another pair of costly mistakes from the Rox defense, including a wild pitch and error which brought in 2 more runs to make it a 6-4 advantage for Pittsfield. Brockton got one run back in the 7th as left fielder Ben Rounds (Harvard University) kept up his hot streak with another RBI single to make it a 6-5 game.

That was just the beginning as there was a ton of late drama during the 9th inning. Ryan Langford (Florida Southern University) was on the mound for the Suns in an attempt to close it out after being in for the previous 3 innings. The Rox were able to get a rally going with a walk and single to take 1st and 2nd base with no outs, eventually loading the bases with 1 out. Rox first baseman Erick Ramirez (UMass Dartmouth) was in the box and grounded into a 5-2-3 double play to end the game as Pittsfield hung on to win 6-5 and even the sries!

Pittsfield navigated through one of the most difficult situations you can get in baseball and survived for another day. In what looked to be a 3-game series on paper, now these two teams are back in Pittsfield for a win-or-go-home Game 3 at Wahconah Park! The winner of Monday’s game will advance to the FCBL championship series which is set to begin right away on Tuesday.

Game 2: Vermont Lake Monsters 4, Worcester Bravehearts 3

In the other playoff series, the Vermont Lake Monsters stormed into Fitton Field on Sunday with a whole lot of confidence after beating up on the Worcester Bravehearts in Game 1 by a score of 15-2! It was clear that this was the team to beat from Saturday’s showing and the Bravehearts certainly moved on quickly, putting the loss behind them and playing much better on Sunday at home.

The Lake Monsters did most of their heavy lifting during the 1st inning with 3 runs going up on the board. It all started with an RBI walk by designated hitter Colby Brouillette (Clarkson University) and then a 2-run single by first baseman Brian Schaub (Trinity (TX) University) that put them ahead 3-0 early.

The pitching was on point once again from Vermont as Patrick Harrington (Assumption College) turned in yet another solid performance out on the mound, tossing 6 innings with 2 runs and 7 hits allowed, 1 walk and 8 strikeouts. Sunday marked Harrington’s 4th consecutive win of the season and he has also pitched 6 innings in 4 of his last 5 outings.

Bravehearts chipped away at their deficit throughout the game, but were only able to get it as close as 4-3. They scored 2 in the 3rd innings off a pair of RBI singles from first baseman Gavin Noriega (Marist College) and added another when Noriega lined an RBI double into left field during the 8th inning.

Worcester made it interesting in the 9th inning with a leadoff double by third baseman Sebastian Salado (Palm Beach Atlantic University), but were unable to make any further rally as Vermont reliever Wyatt Cameron (New England College) shut them down to seal the series victory for the Lake Monsters.

What a thrilling Game 2 between these two! It was a great effort in front of the home crowd for Worcester but in the end it is the Vermont Lake Monsters who get the sweep and advance to the FCBL championship series! This is the first time in franchise history that the Worcester Bravehearts will not be playing for an FCBL championship. The scene will shift to Vermont for the start of the championship series, as they will be hosting Game 1 at home in Burlington on Tuesday night.

2021 FCBL Playoffs

#4 Worcester Bravehearts at #1 Vermont Lake Monsters (VT WINS SERIES 2-0)

Game 1: @ Vermont Saturday 6:05pm (Vermont 15, Worcester 2)

Game 2: @ Worcester Sunday 5:00pm (Vermont 4, Worcester 3)


#3 Brockton Rox at #2 Pittsfield Suns (SERIES TIED 1-1)

Game 1: @ Pittsfield Saturday 6:05pm (Brockton 6, Pittsfield 2)

Game 2: @ Brockton Sunday 3:00pm (Pittsfield 6, Brockton 5)

Game 3: @ Pittsfield Monday 6:35pm


FCBL Nightly Awards:

Player Of The Night: LF #18 Brian Schaub, Vermont (2-3, BB, R, 2 RBI) (Trinity (TX) University)

Pitcher Of The Night: #33 Patrick Harrington, Vermont (WIN, 6 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 8 K) (Assumption College)