By Benjamin Upson
Another week is in the books of this fast paced 2022 Futures League season! The action is heating up literally (another ejection this week!). We begin to enter the middle portion of league play and the summer solstice is here. Let’s catch up on what was a wild week!
It’s already been a headline in our last edition, but the story remains the same for the scorching hot Vermont Lake Monsters. With a current record of 17-5, they continue to impress each game out on the field. They are comfortable at home at Centennial Field in Burlington, where they are winners of 11 consecutive games. While their 13-game winning streak was snapped in Pittsfield, they are increasing their lead in the standings. Although we can’t start looking too far ahead just yet, they hold a 5.5-game cushion at the moment for an FCBL playoff spot, which is going to give them some early confidence as they continue on their title defense march.
The Westfield Starfires, at one point leading the league standings in the opening week, are now in a close battle for 3rd place after a tough week. Following a 1-5 stretch, they currently boast a 13-9 record with the Worcester Bravehearts right in their footsteps, now only half-game game behind. Jackson Hornung (Skidmore), who has been at the helm of the team’s offensive success cooled off this week, accounting for a .273 batting average with just six hits. He still is holding a .408 average for the season, stellar numbers up against the rest of the league’s offensive players.
The weekend hit and provided us with one of the wildest games that the Futures League has ever seen. In a Saturday night showdown, the Vermont Lake Monsters took to the field against the New Britain Bees. In a shocking beginning, a 59-minute first inning placed New Britain ahead 11-0 as everything was going right for them. They were able to send 15 batters to the plate in the inning, with seven hits and five walks, off of what has been a strong Vermont pitching rotation.
The Lake Monsters did not back down and continued to chip away at the massive deficit throughout the game. Vermont scored in seven of their eight innings on offense, and were able to tie it up at 11-11 during the 7th inning. Perhaps the largest contributing factor was the pitching performance of Liam Reiner (St. Lawrence), who entered in an 11-0 scenario. In relief, he posted 5.1 innings, allowing one hit, two walks and five strikeouts. He remained at 2-0 on the season with a 1.25 ERA and kept the Lake Monsters in it.
Despite the 11-11 tie, the Bees had some buzz left in them as Tyler Pettorini (Ohio State) ripped an RBI single into center field before the skies opened up in the 8th inning, forcing the game to end in a 13-12 New Britain victory. In total, 25 runs came in to score, on 20 hits and six combined errors by both teams. The Bees are now 11-10 on the short season, hitting above the .500 mark in the standings for the first time all of this season.
The team had another highlight as Craig Corliss (UMass Boston) helped lock up a comeback win against the Nashua Silver Knights in their Wednesday matchup. New Britain was trailing 7-3 in the 8th inning when an RBI single and passed ball accounted for a four-run inning tying the game at 7-7. Then in the ninth, following a few hits and a walk, Corliss knocked in the game-winning RBI on a fielder’s choice to walk it off for New Britain.
Some all-star dads made their way out to Campanelli Stadium in Brockton on Sunday for a memorable Father’s Day moment. Boston Red Sox legends Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Keith Foulke all made guest appearances, all of them throwing ceremonial first pitches to their sons, Manny Ramirez Jr., D’Angelo Ortiz and Kade Foulke who are on the team this summer. Unfortunately for the Brockton Rox, they’re off to a 6-14 start, placing last in the standings for now. They host the first doubleheader of the season against the Norwich Sea Unicorns on Tuesday this week.
It’s time for another round of weekly awards. The player of the week presented by 78 Sports is awarded to Ryan Donnelly (Sacred Heart University) of the Brockton Rox. This week in five games, he recorded a .533 batting average, equipped with a pair of extra base hits (double and triple), as well as six RBI.
The pitcher of the week presented by ChangeUp is awarded to Michael Quigley, making it a Brockton Rox sweep! In his only appearance, he tossed 6 scoreless innings against the Westfield Starfires on Wednesday, allowing just one hit and three walks and led the way with 12 strikeouts, the most recorded by a pitcher in the league this week.
Around The Diamond is back and will continue on a weekly basis. 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 game packages custom made for you.