By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Bristol Blues baseball team split the first half of the week with a win and a loss, falling to the first-place team of the East Division. However, they managed to remain even on the year at .500 as they approach the midpoint of the season.
The Blues will wrap up the week with games against the divisional Pittsfield Suns (12-13), divisional Worcester Bravehearts (11-12), and Nashua Silver Knights (11-11). Bristol is currently 12-12 overall and third in the West Division behind the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs (15-7) and Suns.
Bristol’s home game against the Bravehearts on Monday, July 3 is Military Appreciation Night. All military, active or retired, will receive free admission to the game. The American Legion Post No. 2 Honor Guard will be performing an opening ceremony. Game time is 7 p.m.
For the first time in the franchise’s three-year history, the Blues will host the Futures Collegiate Baseball League 2017 All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 18. Tickets for the game are available on the Blues homepage at www.bristolblues.pointstreaksites.com. Gates open at 4 p.m., and game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Win vs. Nashua
JUNE 28—After Bristol’s road game at the Worcester Bravehearts was rained out on Tuesday, June 27, the Blues got back to work the next day to earn their fourth-straight win and move a game above .500 for the first time this season with a 5-2 victory over the Nashua Silver Knights at home. The Silver Knights held a 2-1 lead after the opening inning until the Blues pulled ahead late in the contest.
“We played well,” said Blues manager Ronnie Palmer. “We gave up two runs on a couple early miscues in first inning, but answered back in the bottom of the first by sticking to our approach and plan at the plate.”
Cooper Mrowka tied the game with an RBI single in the sixth, and Garrett Blaylock hit the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. A batter later, Kyle Pileski capped off the victory with an RBI single that scored a pair of runs.
“In the fifth, we got aggressive and moved a guy up,” the manager said. “In the eighth, we were patient at the plate. With the exception of a couple of mistakes in the first inning, we played extremely clean, defensively and offensively. We took advantage of situations that allowed us to come out on the right side of the outcome at the end.”
The Blues finished with eight hits and two errors. Eight out of Bristol’s nine batters each finished with a hit.
Tyler Kovalewich started on the mound and went six innings with a pair of strikeouts, allowing four hits. Anthony Morrone (4-1) picked up the win after relieving Kovalewich to go two innings. Tommy Curtin (0-1) closed to get his fifth save of the season.
Loss at Brockton
JUNE 29—Bristol’s four-game winning streak was snapped on Thursday after the Blues fell by a few runs, 10-7, at the Brockton Rox (14-8), falling back to .500 on the season.
“We made some early mistakes we just couldn’t rebound from and left too many runners on base early and through the middle innings,” said Palmer. “However, the guys continued to compete throughout the game. We had the tying run at the plate in the ninth, but unfortunately, we just couldn’t get him across.”
The Rox scattered runs through the first few innings to hold a 5-0 advantage and capped off the victory with five runs off four hits in the fifth for insurance. The Blues responded with a run in the fifth, two in the sixth, and four in the ninth until their rally was cut short with a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
The Blues finished with 10 hits and two errors, stranding nine runners on base. Mitch Williams went 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored, a RBI, double, and walk. Nick Roy went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
David Stiehl (0-3) started on the mound and was credited with the loss after going three innings with five hits, four earned runs, and three walks. Hayden Manning, Joel Torres, and Takoda Sitar (1-2) saw some action on the mound as well. Manning and Torres pitched in their first game of the season.