By BRIAN JENNINGS
After dropping five of their last six games through the holiday weekend, including a doubleheader loss to the Worcester Bravehearts at home on the Fourth of July, the Bristol Blues baseball team has since bounced back to reach a.500 overall record and momentum heading into the all-star break.
“These guys are staying the course,” said Riley. “Things are starting to turn around a little bit. Finishing off the week strong is important, but moving into the all-star break for the second half is what we’re trying to do.”
The fifth annual Futures Collegiate Baseball League All-Star game is scheduled to be played at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass. on Wednesday, July 13. The following Blues made the West all-star roster: Fuentes (pitcher), Kreiger (pitcher), Munson (pitcher), Roberts (infielder), and Chauvin (utility).
Fans had until Monday morning to send in votes for the all-star rosters. Starting lineups will be announced on the FCBL homepage the day of the game.
The Blues are currently second in the West Division of the FCBL, seven and a half games back from the Bravehearts. After the All-Star break, the Blues (16-16) will look to get back in contention of first place this week with games against the Dirt Dawgs (11-20), the Bravehearts (24-9), and the Titans (12-19).
North Shore Navigators
JULY 6—Bristol fell into another three-game slump after suffering an eight-run loss, 10-2, to the North Shore Navigators at home on Wednesday.
The Navigators took a 4-0 lead by the fourth inning with four runs in the third, and continued to pile on runs across the next four innings.
Roberts went 3-for-3 with a RBI. Kendrick went 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Chauvin went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Teddy Carey went five innings as the starter with a pair of strikeouts, four hits, four walks, and an earned run. Marsh, Titus, and Sam Spadafore saw some time on the mound as well.
Marthas Vineyard Sharks
JULY 7—Bristol broke the three-game cold spell the next day by garnering a one-run triumph, 3-2, over the Marthas Vineyard Sharks at Vineyard Baseball Park in Oak Bluffs, Mass.
Dylan Morris opened the game with a single, eventually circling the bases to score on a Lorenzo Arcuri triple. Arcuri later stole home on an error committed by the catcher to give the Blues an early 2-0 advantage.
The Sharks cut the deficit to one with a run in the fourth inning. However, with two outs in the sixth, Chauvin hit a solo homerun, which was his first this season, on the very first pitch to secure the win for Blues.
The Sharks answered with a run in the bottom of the inning, but the game was called due to fog. Arcuri and Chauvin each finished the game by going 2-for-3.
Scott Creedon picked up the win on the mound in his first start as a Blue. Creedon threw a complete game, allowing six hits and two earned runs.
Wachusett Dirt Dawgs
JULY 8—Bristol carried the momentum into Friday when they returned home to host the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs. The Blues scrapped for another close victory, walking off Muzzy with a 6-5 win after some ninth-inning dramatics.
The Dirt Dawgs held a slim, 4-3, lead by the fourth inning after putting up three runs in the first. The Blues shot in front of the Dirt Dawgs by a run with a pair of scores in the fifth, but the Dirt Dawgs knotted the contest even at 5-5 with a run in the seventh.
With one out and a runner on second in the eighth, Christian Budzik hit a shallow, fly ball to right centerfield. The right fielder dove for the catch, but the ball hit the ground and bounced into his glove. Greene scored from second, but the right fielder threw to second to double up the Blues and end the inning. The umpires ruled that the right fielder made a catch in the outfield, and Riley and Budzik argued the call on the field, but were eventually ejected from the game.
Then with one out and a runner on third in the bottom of the ninth, the Blues got another crack at a scoring opportunity. Arcuri drove in Chris Villa to score the winning run on a walk-off, RBI single.
Arcuri paced the Blues with two RBI, two runs scored, and a triple, going 3-for-5 at the plate. Greene went 2-for-4 with two RBI, a run scored, and a double.
The Blues outhit the Dirt Dawgs, 10-4. Wachusett committed three errors.
Versteeg threw five innings as starter with a pair of strikeouts, four earned runs, three hits, and a walk. Nocera and Goss set up the victory, and Kreiger was credited with the win after coming in the game in the seventh to close.
Wachusett Dirt Dawgs
JULY 9—Bristol finally evened their record, 16-16, with some help from their pitching rotation after tagging the Dirt Dawgs for 12 runs, 13-1, at home to wrap up the week.
Fuentes took the mound for the Blues and went eight innings with 10 strikeouts, allowing just two hits, an earned run, and a walk. Munson closed.
“He [Fuentes] was outstanding tonight,” said Riley. “He commanded the strike zone and threw all of his pitches well in all counts. He has really good strikeout stuff, but most impressively was his ability to go after hitters. There were a lot of long innings with long waits, and it’s difficult sometimes for pitcher to stay in that groove. But he did.”
The Blues amassed a 7-1 advantage by the fourth inning, tacking on five more runs in the fifth and a run in the eighth.
Conti went 2-for-3 with two RBI, two runs scored, and two walks. Titus went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a RBI, and a walk. Titus also batted a double and a triple as well. Liam Scafariello went 2-for-5 with a run scored and a double.
The Blues outhit the Dirt Dawgs, 10-3.
Riley said that the past few nights have definitely been more consistent, especially offensively.
“We’re really starting to scratch some things together,” the coach said. “We’ve been really aggressive on the base paths and have been doing a lot great things. We’ve been getting guys on with our speed and were able to score guys with a couple hits in the gap. That’s the way we need to play. The bats are starting to come around a little bit, and it’s a good time.”
Bristol was scheduled to play at the Pittsfield Suns on Sunday, but the game was suspended due to rain. The Blues’ home game against the Bravehearts on Friday, July 1 was postponed to a later date as well.