The Futures League


FCBL Around The Diamond: July 20, 2021

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By Benjamin Upson

Last Night’s Games:

Tuesday, July 20

Westfield Starfires 4, New Britain Bees 0

Just 4 days after their prior meeting, the Westfield Starfires were able to get revenge on the New Britain Bees at Bullens Field. They were shut out 6-0 last time, and flipped the script with a 4-0 shut out of their own. 

The pitching performance was phenomenal from Westfield all around, as starting pitcher Braden Quinn (UConn), followed up by relievers Zach Clevenger (UMass) and Andrew Roman (Salve Regina University), pitched a combined shutout, allowing just 6 hits from New Britain, while recording 11 strikeouts. 

The 8th inning is where the game got a bit interesting. New Britain led off the inning with a couple of hits off Clevenger, and had loaded the bases with 1 out when Roman was called upon. The Westfield defense backed him up as he got Jack Scher to ground into a crucial 4-6-3 double play to end the rally and hold the Bees scoreless. 

There was not a lot in the way of offense throughout this game, but one person stood out from the rest and is the player of the game. That honor goes to left fielder Cole Bartels (Penn State), who smacked 2 solo home runs out of Bullens Field deep into the night. They were his 3rd and 4th blasts of the season and all of them have occurred in Westfield, as he continues to put on a show for the home crowd. 

Westfield’s 4-0 victory over New Britain was an important one as it makes the playoff picture look a bit more interesting, as they attempt to creep back into the picture as we keep marching toward the end of the season. 

Nashua Silver Knights 11, Worcester Bravehearts 4

The Worcester Bravehearts hosted the Nashua Silver Knights at Fitton Field on Tuesday for the 4th time this season. Last Friday night in Nashua was a close one and we saw Worcester walk away with a narrow 5-4 victory at Holman Stadium despite Connor Hujsak (Virginia Commonwealth University) smashing 2 home runs for the Silver Knights with 4 RBIs. 

In Tuesday’s edition, it was Nashua leading the charge on offense, scoring 4 runs in both the 3rd and 6th innings that made the ultimate difference in this one. 

It was a special offensive performance from designated hitter John Mead (Wilmington University), who received the FCBL Player of the Night honors. Mead went a whopping 5-6 with 3 singles, a triple, 2-run home run, 2 runs scored and 5 RBIs, accounting for half of the Silver Knights runs. In just his 8th appearance of the season, it launched his average from .200 to .323! He recorded his first home run of the season and also has 9 RBIs total on the season. 

Worcester remained quiet and was unable to challenge much of the aggressive Nashua attack. Third baseman Sebastian Salado (Virginia Commonwealth University) hit a solo home run in the 1st inning and the only other offense came from second baseman Buddy Mrowka (Northeastern) as he recorded a sacrifice fly in the 5th and a 2-run single in the 6th. 

It has not been easy out of the break for Worcester as they suffer another home loss in the process. They fall to 0-3 at home and 1-5 overall post All-Star break, and sit on the 4th place bubble with just a 0.5 game lead over Norwich. As for Nashua, they may be down in the standings, but they are averaging 7.6 runs per game in their 6 games played out of the All-Star break. Maybe some second half magic is in store for the defending champs. 

Pittsfield Suns 11, Norwich Sea Unicorns 4

The very fitting “Dodd Days of Summer” continued from Norwich on Tuesday with another home game for the Sea Unicorns at historic Dodd Stadium as the Pittsfield Suns came to town. 

The Suns were looking to continue building off some positive momentum going into this one as they had previously dropped a couple to Vermont at the end of last week and split with Nashua in a doubleheader over the weekend.

They were spreading the love on offense as first baseman Javier Rosales (Long Beach State), right fielder Jake Blinstrub (Mount St. Vincent) and third baseman Cole Wojtkowski (Bryant University) each had 2 RBIs and multi-hit performances, part of an 11 run, 13 hit showing on the night by Pittsfield. 

They spread their offense out across the game too, scoring in every inning except for the 1st and 5th. Blinstrub gets the narrow edge for player of the game, recording a 3-4 night with 2 runs scored, a walk and 2 RBIs that came off a pair of singles. 

Norwich had their fair share of opportunities in this one that slipped away from them. They also recorded 13 hits like Pittsfield, but were only able to produce 4 runs off RBI singles by Jared Zimbardo (Quinnipiac University), third baseman Tremayne Cobb (University of Hartford) and designated hitter Hunter Yaworski (Mitchell College). 

The Sea Unicorns stranded a combined 14 runners on base over the course of the game, including loading the bases in the 5th and 7th innings and producing just 1 run combined. There were also a lot of batters fooled at the plate, as the Suns pitching staff generated 13 strikeouts on the night.

Pittsfield picks up a massive road win and finally heads home to play at Wahconah Park for the first time since July 6th, some 15 days ago thanks to the inclement weather we have seen across the league. 

Brockton Rox at Vermont Lake Monsters **(SUSPENDED DUE TO WEATHER)**

The Brockton Rox were scheduled for a doubleheader on both Tuesday and Wednesday with the Vermont Lake Monsters from Centennial Field in Burlington. Inclement weather has prevented that from happening. They were able to make it to the 3rd inning of Game 1 before it was suspended. The Rox have a 3-0 lead in that game currently, which will be resumed at 6:05PM on Wednesday as a 9-inning game followed by an additional 7-inning game.

FCBL Nightly Awards:

Player Of The Night: #49 John Mead, Nashua (5-6, 3B, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI) (Wilmington University)

Pitcher Of The Night: #54 Braden Quinn, Westfield (6 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 4 BB, 5 K) (UConn)