By Benjamin Upson
Around The Diamond is back after another exciting week of Futures League action! In short, we saw a 2021 championship rematch, the first ejection of the season along with the first female taking the managerial role in a Futures League game.
The Vermont Lake Monsters have picked up from where they left off in 2021. The defending champions have won 13 games in a row after getting off to an 0-3 start. They’ve been backed consistently in the pitching department as their staff holds some of the top marks across the league.
Ian Parent (Endicott) has appeared 3 times this season, holding a 2-0 record with a 0.69 ERA. He has tossed a pair of scoreless starts in his last two games with a combined 14 strikeouts. Parent is in the lead for best ERA and first in runs allowed with just one surrendered so far in those 3 games.
Tim Noone (Babson) has been a staple in the starting rotation for Vermont, holding a clean 1-0, 2.40 ERA line through 3 appearances as well. He has thrown the most innings across all of the Lake Monsters staff with 15 innings and 16 strikeouts.
Sean Matson (Harvard) received player of the week honors recently and continues to work at it. Despite a rough start against the Pittsfield Suns allowing five runs, he remains on the cusp of the top 10 for ERA, 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA. He continues to confuse batters, holding the league lead in strikeouts with 25, an average of 8.33 per game.
Vermont continues on their exceptional early season roll, currently holding head-to-head tiebreakers over every team in the league, except for Westfield, who they have played four times already this season. There are an additional eight matchups scheduled between the two later on as they are jumping out as the front runners to this point for the 2022 FCBL championship. Vermont is now 13-3 on the year, has not dropped a game since May 28th and continues to build some separation at the top of the standings.
Most teams have played each other at least once to this point, but the Pittsfield Suns and Westfield Starfires have gotten to know each other pretty well as they have already met six times this season in a span of just 16 days, including a pair of matchups from this past week.
In those six meetings, Westfield has posted 62 runs combined, including outscoring Pittsfield 40-6 across the opening three games. In their most recent meeting on Sunday, the final was 12-5 in favor of the Starfires. Errors have been an issue early on in this season for the Suns as they committed 3 in this game. Nathan Lincoln (Marist) and Dan Hussey (Central Connecticut) led the way with a pair of RBI each for Westfield to lead them to another big win at home.
History was made in the league this week. Director of operations and bullpen coach Margot Douillet took the helm for the Pittsfield Suns on Wednesday when they took on Vermont, becoming the first female to manage a game in the Futures League. Douillet began as an intern with Pittsfield and has continued to be a great asset to the franchise over the years. We congratulate her on this fantastic accomplishment!
In their two championship rematches this week, it was a clean sweep for Vermont over Pittsfield. Although the second contest did not go into the standings with Education Day, the Lake Monsters had to overcome two separate deficits on Tuesday, 2-0 and 7-5. In the team’s Sunday matchup with Nashua, they quickly overcame a 5-0 deficit to win by a score 9-5. Behind strong pitching and offensive prowess, Vermont continues to show perseverance when faced with adversity.
Education Day was a big success for the league as all teams participated in exhibition games on Wednesday with unique sets of rules to spice up the fun factor of baseball. Some of the best highlights of the day happened in Westfield and Worcester.
Seth Dussault, play-by-play broadcaster of the Starfires stepped up to the plate for an at-bat and got on base with a walk. The same goes for Worcester’s famous mascot, Jake The Lion. They both received honorary players of the night with their OBPs now sitting at a perfect 1.000. You might as well get ahead while you can.
Worcester also added in some more interesting layers to their game, including innings with kick ball, rock paper scissors and putting every ball in play, ignoring any foul balls. In fact, they ended up winning the game off an inside-the-park grand slam, decided by rock paper scissors, which sent the nearly 3,000 kids there into pandemonium.
The performance of the day came from Ben Arnold (Springfield College), Westfield group sales and promotions coordinator who took the mound to mix it up on Education Day. He pitched 4.1 innings of one-run ball with three hits allowed. He walked four batters and struck out five. Not too bad at all for a former relief pitcher at local Springfield College for three years!
With another week down, it’s time for the second round of weekly honors. The player of the week presented by 78 Sports goes to Jackson Hornung (Skidmore). He continues to rake for the Westfield Starfires in the early season. With an even .400 average for the week in four games, he hit a double, scored three runs and tacked on three home runs with seven RBI as well.
Connor Podeszwa (Tufts University) of the Norwich Sea Unicorns leads the way for the pitcher of the week presented by ChangeUp. He tossed 7 phenomenal scoreless innings against the Worcester Bravehearts on Friday, allowing just three hits, one walk on five strikeouts. He picked up his first win with that performance. On the season, Podeszwa holds a 1-0 record, equipped with a 3.60 ERA. He has started in 3 games, pitched 15 innings with 16 strikeouts.
Around The Diamond is back for the 2022 season and will continue on a weekly basis for the first half of the summer. Here you’ll find some of the unique notes and information from around the league’s action. For the latest scores and statistics, visit thefuturesleague.com. If you are looking to live stream games across the league, go to fcblnetwork.com and purchase an all-season pass at one low price of $99.