The Futures League


Bracket Set, Norwich Captures No. 1 Seed for 2023 Futures League Postseason

UPDATED 8/10: Inclement weather has caused schedule changes in both semifinal series. See below for updated schedules.

WEYMOUTH, Mass. (August 6, 2023) — With Sunday’s conclusion of a down-to-the-wire race for the regular-season championship, the four-team field for the 2023 Futures League Postseason has officially been set.

The Norwich Sea Unicorns will enter their first-ever postseason run as the regular-season champion and No. 1 seed, joining the four-team field alongside three clubs boasting playoff experience in the Vermont Lake Monsters, Worcester Bravehearts and New Britain Bees.

A pair of best-of-three semifinal series will commence on Tuesday, August 8, with the two winners meeting in another best-of-three round for the championship immediately following.

The full semifinal schedule is as follows:

No. 1 Norwich Sea Unicorns (39-22) vs. No. 4 New Britain Bees (35-28)
Tuesday, August 8 - at Norwich 3, New Britain 2
Wednesday, August 9 - at New Britain 3, Norwich 2
Friday, August 11 - at New Britain 12, Norwich 2

No. 2 Vermont Lake Monsters (38-23) vs. No. 3 Worcester Bravehearts (39-24)
Wednesday, August 9 - at Vermont 7, Worcester 2
Friday, August 11 - at Worcester 7, Vermont 5
Saturday, August 12 - at Vermont 6, Worcester 1

Norwich has continued increasing its win total through each of its first three Futures League summers, reaching the 39-win plateau to claim the pennant with a one-game advantage over both Vermont and Worcester.

The Sea Unicorns boast the top-ranked offense (.273 team batting average) and pitching staff (3.71 ERA), becoming the first Futures League team to lead in both of those categories since 2020. Infielder Dean Ferrara’s (Fairfield) league-best .422 average led the way for Norwich as it accomplished the postseason clinch.

The fourth-seeded Bees finished the regular year with wins in five of their final six games, becoming the first team in the storied history of New Britain baseball to make back-to-back playoff appearances. Last summer, New Britain dropped a semifinal series to Nashua ahead of the Silver Knights winning their league-record sixth championship.

New Britain may be the lowest-seeded team in the field, but it enjoyed more success against top-ranked Norwich than any team in 2023. Outfielder Christian Scanlon (Merrimack) proved to be a major factor in the Bees holding an 8-3 advantage over their Nutmeg State rivals, hitting a whopping .579 with three doubles, four home runs and 15 RBI.

Worcester searches for its fifth-ever league championship and first since 2019, returning to the postseason structure after a playoff hiatus a summer ago. The Bravehearts trail only Nashua for the most all-time titles and playoff victories (22).

Infielder Tyler Bastunas (Drury) sparks the Worcester attack, hitting .358 while leading the league in hits (76) and runs scored (47). First baseman Daniel Bucciero (Fordham) also hit above .300 and totaled 34 RBI, tied with Bastunas and Norwich first baseman Andrew Bianco (Seton Hall) for the most among playoff competitors.

After both setting the league’s single-season wins record and finishing atop the standings in each of the past two summers, Vermont will play below the No. 1 seed for the first time while hoping to deliver a second title to Burlington. 

The Lake Monsters have played for the trophy in both years, beating the Pittsfield Suns in their inaugural 2021 campaign before falling in an epic three-game set to Nashua last August. Their 2021 title run kicked off with a two-game sweep of Worcester in the semifinals.

Veteran Vermont southpaw and two-way standout Francis Ferguson (Eastern Nazarene) is a Pitcher of the Year candidate at 6-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 52 innings, while Wyatt Cameron (Central Connecticut) and Callan Fang (Vermont) have combined for 15 saves. Ferguson’s six victories match New Britain’s Dylan Scudder (Eastern Connecticut) for the league lead.

The Monsters won seven of the 12 meetings with their first-round playoff opponent. Outfielder Kyle McCausland (Middlebury) had 10 hits and eight RBI in the series, while Ben Alekson (Fairfield) won two of his three starts.

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