Home runs and history highlighted an eventful week around the Futures League. Whether teams were on a tear or looking for their bats to get hot again, the competition is surely heating up heading into the last week of June.
The Vermont Lake Monsters are arguably the hottest team in the league right now, having won seven out of their last 10 games and currently standing in first place at 20-8. The team also holds the top three players in three major statistical categories, with pitcher Francis Ferguson (Eastern Nazarene) at second in wins with three and strikeouts with 26. In its last contest on Sunday, 11 hits produced a season-high 17 runs in just 5 innings to win against the Worcester Bravehearts.
Despite having a 5-5 record in their last 10 games, the Worcester Bravehearts stand in second place, 2 games behind Vermont at 18-9. The team also holds top players in the major stat categories headlined by shortstop Tyler Bastunas (Drury) who leads the league in batting average at .396 and is second in RBI with 17. The two top teams in the standings split a Sunday doubleheader in Burlington, with Worcester winning game one in a 1-0 defensive battle that saw Bravehearts pitchers combining for six strikeouts.
The Norwich Sea Unicorns are also on a hot streak. Having won eight of its last 10, the team has been quickly climbing up the standings and currently sits in third place at 16-11. Pitcher Matt Wootton (Eastern Connecticut State) has been lighting it up for the Sea Unicorns, tying for first in the league with three wins while sitting fourth in strikeouts with 23. Five hits and Wootton’s four strikeouts led to a 4-2 win against the Nashua Silver Knights Sunday.
The New Britain Bees have been the Futures League’s wild card team this season. The team’s 5-0 start was the best in franchise history, but an up-and-down June has pushed them into fourth place at 17-12. Despite this, the Bees are on the rise winning six of their last 10 games largely because of outfielder Christian Scanlon’s (Merrimack) 17 RBI, which are tied for second in the league. The team swept the Brockton Rox 9-0 and 8-6, respectively, in this past weekend’s contests.
Right at .500 is the fifth-place Westfield Starfires at 14-14. While the team is a fitting 5-5 in its last 10 games, two Alfred State teammates dominate the stats in batting and pitching categories. First baseman Nick Serce has a league-leading five home runs, and pitcher Ryan Bailey has posted the most strikeouts with 32. Bailey’s 11 strikeouts were not enough as the Starfires lost their Sunday game to the Pittsfield Suns 7-2.
Speaking of the Suns, they currently stand in sixth place at 12-16 having just gotten back into the win column against Westfield on Sunday. A combined 10 hits and 12 strikeouts in that contest were enough to push the Suns to a 7-2 win at Wahconah Park. Although the team is 3-7 in its last 10 games, first baseman Cedric Rose (UMass Lowell) has been playing like the team’s all-star. He is third in the league in home runs with three and leads the league with a staggering 23 RBI.
The reigning champion Nashua Silver Knights currently resides in seventh place at 7-21. The team’s four-game losing streak and 4-6 record in its last 10 games could still make for a big turnaround in July, and the stats are there to prove it. First baseman Shane Wockley (Mount St. Mary’s) is among the league leaders, ranking second in home runs with four. Even in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Norwich on Sunday, the Silver Knights still managed seven hits and 10 strikeouts.
Lastly, the Brockton Rox sit in eighth place at 6-19, but like the Silver Knights, there is plenty of time for a turnaround. Outfielder Manny Ramirez Jr. (Tallahassee Community College) has hit a pair of home runs, while TJ Curley (Mount St. Mary’s) sits in fourth place in strikeouts with 23. The Rox narrowly lost their last game to the New Britain Bees 8-6 after scoring a season-high 19 runs in a 19-1 Friday win over Westfield.
With still another whole month before playoff time, there is still a lot of baseball to be played for all eight teams.
For the latest news and information on the Futures League all year long, visit thefuturesleague.com and follow the league’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Be sure to catch your favorite team all season long either at the ballpark or on the Futures League Network.