By BRIAN JENNINGS
With a count of 0-1 with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning, the Bravehearts’ pitcher threw the second pitch, and Austin Chauvin moved off the plate to avoid getting hit by the ball. The catcher couldn’t put his glove on it. The ball rolled to the backstop, and Griffin Garabedian raced toward home plate to score the winning run.
Garabedian was mobbed by his teammates in front of the Bravehearts’ dugout, as they jumped all over him and showered him with water.
Although they went 2-4 on the week, the Bristol Blues (23-16) still remain in first place of the West Division and will be sending eight players to the 2015 FCBL All-Star game.
The Blues opened the week with a 7-2 loss to the Marthas Vineyard Sharks (23-15) at Vineyard Baseball Park in Oak Bluffs, Mass. on Tuesday, July 14. The Blues were unable to recover from a 7-0 deficit after the fifth inning when they put up their only two runs of the game in the seventh.
Gerrad Rohan went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs and Zach Scott went 2-for-4 with a run and a walk. Dominic LoBrutto (3-1) was given the loss after going four innings with two strikeouts and allowing five hits, five earned runs, and three walks.
The Blues returned home the next day where they took the Worcester Bravehearts (15-22) into extra innings. Down 4-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning for their last at-bats, the Blues needed to make something happen.
Tyler Roberts, Garabedian, and Christian Whigham were able to load the bases from an error by the first baseman, a wild pitch, and a base hit. With the bases loaded and no outs, Davis Strong drew a walk to bring Roberts in to score.
Rohan hit a sacrifice fly to center field for the first out to score Garabedian from third. Ryan Costello scored Whigham on another error by the defense—this time by the second baseman. That run tied the game at 4-4 and sent the game into extra innings.
After a scoreless, 10th inning, the Sharks put up five runs in the top of the 11th. The Blues responded with runs in the bottom of the 11th, but would fall short by three, losing by a score of 9-6.
Strong scored Whigham on a double that resulted in an error by the center fielder, and would eventually score from second on the next at-bat. Strong ended up going 3-for-4 with two RBIs, two runs, two walks, and two doubles.
Kyle Dube started the game on the mound and went five and one third innings. Dube threw four strikeouts and allowed five hits, an earned run, and a walk. Riley Streit (1-2) was given the loss after going three innings with two strikeouts and allowing two hits, two earned runs, and a walk.
After suffering a tough, second straight loss in extra innings the night before, the Blues found redemption at home on Thursday night in a 6-0 shutout win over the Torrington Titans (17-19).
The Blues got the job done by scoring a run in the fourth and eighth inning to bookend a four-run rally in the fifth. Rohan went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, two doubles, and a run. Garabedian’s two hits in the game resulted in two runs and a RBI.
Troy Terzi (3-2) continues to have the golden arm on the mound for the Blues, picking up the win by going eight innings with nine strikeouts, allowing just four hits and a walk. After picking up the win, Terzi has now gone 30.2 innings without allowing an earned run. Steve Wallace closed the game out with one strikeout and a walk.
The next night, the Blues traveled up to Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass. for a rematch with the Bravehearts.
The Blues were able to take a 2-1 lead after Costello scored on an error by the first baseman in the fourth inning and Liam Scafariello scored on an error by the second baseman in the fifth. However, the Bravehearts had the final say, putting up two runs in the eighth to take the game by a score of 3-2.
Tim Cate started the game on the mound, going seven innings with eight strikeouts and allowing four hits, an earned run, and a walk. Ty Robinson (1-1) was given the loss after coming in to relieve Cate in the eighth, allowing two hits, one earned run, and a walk.
The Blues returned home on Saturday night to face the Bravehearts for a third time over the week. The battle would be won in extra innings again, but this time, the Bravehearts wouldn’t be as lucky as the first time.
Chauvin gave the Blues a 1-0 lead after the first inning by scoring Whigham on a base hit. The Bravehearts responded with a run in the third even the score at a stone lock tie of 1-1. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Roberts, Garabedian, and Strong were able to load the bases with a hit batter, walk, and base hit.
Garabedian came in to score the winning run from third on a 0-1 count after the Bravehearts’ pitcher threw a wild pitch that went to the backstop.
Ryan Lauria started the game on the mound, going five innings with three strikeouts and allowing three hits, two walks, and one earned run. Robert Paccione (2-1) was credited with the win after going an inning and allowing just two hits.
“I saw a lot of futility with men in scoring position,” said Blues manager Barry Lions when asked about the bottom of the 10th inning. “I’m thankful for a wild pitch there. Our guys have not come through as often as I would like to see them come through with men in scoring position, but a win is a win. We’ll take it any way we can get it.”
The Blues closed out the week the next night at Holman Field in Nashua, NH where they suffered an 8-6 loss to the Nashua Silver Knights (19-18).
The Blues took an early 2-0 lead after the first inning, but would surrender it when the Silver Knights put up a run in the second and six in the third. The Blues tried to mount a comeback with four runs in the sixth, but it wouldn’t be enough to overcome the deficit.
Ryan Rinsky’s only hit of the game resulted in a two-run homerun, which was his first homerun of the season. Whigham had two hits that went for two RBIs.
Rayne Supple (1-1) started the game on the mound and was given the loss. Supple went two and two thirds innings with one strikeout, allowing four hits, three earned runs, and a walk.
Blues score all-stars
On Friday, eight Blues were selected to play on the West Division’s team in the FCBL All-Star game on Tuesday, July 21st at Fraser Field in Lynn, Mass. Out of the eight players chosen, five pitchers will be representing the Blues: Tim Cate, Troy Terzi, Robert Paccione, George Lund, and Ty Robinson. Cate leads the team with four wins as a pitcher and 44 strikeouts.
“It feels great to make the all-star team,” said Cate. “The competition in the FCBL is great. It’s a lot better than what I’m used to. Coming out of high school has been a transition for me and I’m just trying to do the best that I can out here.”
Cate said that his curveball has his curveball has always been a great pitch of his, but he is learning a lot on the mound through pitching in this league.
“What I’ve been finding out a lot in this type of competition is starting outside, and then working your way in,” said Cate. “The batters start to get adjusted to the outside pitch, and when you bring it in, it messes with them.”
Terzi has three wins as a pitcher, 42 strikeouts, and an ERA of 1.32. Paccione leads the team with an ERA of 1.25.
The other three players that were chosen to represent the Blues are Gerrad Rohan, Davis Strong, and Austin Chauvin. Rohan leads the Blues with 24 RBIs and a batting average of .348.
“I’m really excited,” said Rohan when asked about how he felt about making the all-star team. “I set a goal before I came out here to try to make the all-star team. I have great teammates and they’ve put me in a position to do that kind of stuff. It should be a lot of fun.”
Rohan went on to say that finishing strong in his college season with Akron has carried over to playing with the Blues and has helped him a lot.
Strong leads the team with four homeruns. Blues’ coaches Pat Riley and Jordan Scheiner have also been chosen to help coach the West Division’s team in the all-star game.
“I’m very proud of all of our guys,” said Lyons when asked about the eight Blues that made the all-star game. “They’re all very deserving. We’ve actually had a couple other players that may have been added to the team as well if there hadn’t been so many. I’m excited for them and I know there will be a lot of pro scouts there. I hope each one of them gets a chance to showcase their talents and have a good game. All-star games are a good thing and is a good reward for a kid that has played hard and performed well. All eight guys that are representing the Bristol Blues have done just that.”
There will be a homerun derby prior to the all-star game on Tuesday and a scout day where players will be evaluated by 20 Major League Baseball scouts at 3pm.
The Blues currently have a four-game lead over the Pittsfield Suns (17-18) in first place of the West Division. The Blues’ will have a break and will play their next regular season game against the Seacoast Mavericks (12-25) at Muzzy Field on Thursday, July 23.
“We will take it one day at a time, one game at a time” said Lyons. “We want our players to enjoy the break and let our all-star guys go out and show their skills at all-star day on Tuesday. We’re going to come back ready to compete and go hard those last two and a half weeks of the regular season. Our goal is to be prime and peaking when playoff time comes.”