By MICHAEL LETENDRE
With the hot and rainy weather finally clearing, the Bristol Blues of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League finally got back to Muzzy Field – trying to keep their collective heads above the .500 mark while back in the Mum City.
But the FCBL is as competitive as ever – with the top six teams separated by just a single game – and Bristol started a stretch of home games against a very good Pittsfield Suns squad.
Here’s a quick look at all the action from this past week:
Suns 6, Blues 3 (Game 1)
JULY 23—Trailing 3-2 going into the top of the sixth, the Suns scooped up three runs as Pittsfield nabbed a huge win in the first game of a doubleheader in Bristol.
Doubleheaders in the FCBL are seven innings.
The Suns’ Jackson Peterson smacked out a two-RBI single as the game-winning hit ended the evening for Bristol pitcher Reed Pegram (5 IP, 4 hits, 4 BB, 5 K) as the visitors nabbed a 4-3 lead.
Pittsfield added a run in the sixth and tabled another one in the seventh to snare the victory.
The Blues were limited to just three hits in the contest but it was enough to keep the program hanging around.
Dylan Reynolds led the charge with a home run while Kyle Maves and John Orzechowski were each 1-for-2 with a walk.
In the bottom of the third, Bristol nabbed two runs as Austin White scored via error and Reynolds blasted out his round-tripper to knot the score at 2-2.
And in the bottom of the fifth, a balk scored White as the Blues were ahead on the scoreboard, 3-2, before that late sixth inning rally doomed the locals in the end.
Blues 7, Suns 6 (Game 2)
JULY 23—In the second contest of the double-dip, the Blues had a walk-off in the seventh inning as Brandon Miller scored via an error by the Suns shortstop – breaking a 6-6 stalemate that led to the win.
But there was tomfoolery for both squads in the seventh as Pittsfield scored three runs in the top of the tilt to tie things up at 6-6.
The Blues’ Spencer Fox won the game in relief (1 IP, 1 hit, 2 BB, 3 K) as he eventually struck out the side over the final inning to set up the game-deciding inning.
Bristol tallied eight hits as Maves led the charge by going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.
He tallied a double and his first triple of the season over the winning endeavor.
Brandon Miller was 2-of-3 with a stolen base while Zeke Diamond and Kasey Bass (double) were both 1-of-3 – including an RBI apiece.
Jordan Laske also blasted out a hit to propel Bristol to the win.
Matt Shane (5 IP, 4 hits, 3 BB, 6 K) started the contest for Bristol but did not factor into the decision.
Trailing 1-0 going into the fourth, Miller scored off an error; a Bass double plated Maves. When Noah Budzik skied a sacrifice fly to centerfield, Laske came across the plate to score, Bristol led it 3-1.
The Suns notched two runs in the top of the fifth. But another three-pack of runs scored by the Blues gave the home team a 6-3 edge.
And even as Pittsfield came back with three runs in the top of the seventh, Miller scored the game winning run to make finish the contest off as the Blues were winners by one.
Blues 14, Silver Knights 0
JULY 24—When your squad collects 18 hits in a game, that tally usually results in a victory.
And that’s exactly what the Blues did against Nashua as the aggression from New Hampshire was mauled and shutout at Muzzy Field.
Six players from Bristol had multi-hit games with two batters collecting three or more hits.
Reynolds was 4-for-6 with two runs scored and two RBI – including a double – while Maves went 3-for-5 with a walk and a run scored.
Leadoff hitter Christian Beal nabbed two hits – one being a home run – with three runs scored and three RBI; Brandon Miller scooped in two hits; Sam Loda was 2-for-2 with two walks and three runs scored; while Danny Roth went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a run, and two RBI.
Bass, Buddy Dewaine, and Diamond all tallied one hit apiece for the Blues.
And then there was an outstanding pitching component.
Bristol’s Tyler Boisvert threw just two-hit ball over his six innings, fanning six, while Peyton Stephens also struck out six over his two frames of relief.
It was just 4-0 through four innings of play. But off a seven-run fifth, the game was all but over for the Silver Knights.
Bristol moved to 23-20 off the winning effort.
Blues 12, Westfield Starfires 5
JULY 26—Bristol used a pair of five run innings to knockoff the struggling Starfires in a showdown from Bullens Field in Westfield.
Just over 1,000 paying customers saw the Blues rack up five runs in both the second and eighth frames to eventually take the game.
Eleven hits led to 12 runs for the squad from Bristol as Maves scooped up three hits to go along with two runs scored and an RBI.
Miller added two hits and three RBI; while Bass kicked in two hits and an RBI as well.
Diamond smacked out a double as Bristol won its 24th game of the campaign.
Bristol pitching also did the trick as Shane Bogli won his first game of the year.
In 6.2 innings, the chucker allowed five runs on nine hits, walked just one while fanning four to snare the victory.
The Starfires were pesky throughout, notching three runs in the second and another two in the seventh to trim the deficit to 6-5.
But that final five-pack of runs by Bristol in the eighth spelled doom and demise for the home team, falling to 14-32 on the season.
The Blues won their third straight game and were just a game behind division leader North Shore (27-21).
Bristol sat in fourth place in the FCBL behind Brockton (25-20) and Pittsfield (25-20).
Blues 2, Silver Knights 1
JULY 27—Meanwhile, back at Muzzy Field, the Blues got to the pay window once again – posting a 2-1 win against the Silver Knights on Saturday.
Bristol added two runs in the bottom of the second to ice the game; while Nashua generated just four total hits and a single run in the seventh.
On the hill, Garrett Coe won the contest behind a nifty seven inning stint.
He allowed four hits, an unearned run, two walks and five strikeouts to snare his first win of the year (1-0).
Maves, on a tear from the plate as of late, went 2-for-3 with a run scored; while Reynolds (2-for-3) replicated the feat.
Austin White, Miller, Laske, and Danny Roth all wrangled up hits for the locals.
Andrew Marrero threw two shutout innings and collected three Ks in posting his second save of the year.
An error by the Silver Knights catcher and an RBI single from Roth resulted in the two runs for Bristol.
The Blues’ fourth straight win, and seventh over the last 10 games, put the squad at 25-20 and just a half-game out of first place.
Brockton Rox 10, Blues 6
JULY 28—The Rox overcame an early deficit – scoring six straight runs – as Brockton rolled up a 10-6 win from Muzzy Field.
B.J. Murray had a big game, going 4-of-5 with three runs scored and four RBI for the Rox.
Buddy Dewaine led the Blues with two hits – including a triple – and two RBI.
James Judenis took the loss for Bristol (4 IP, 9 hits, 7 ER, 5 K) on the hill.
It was the first game of a doubleheader.
Blues 9, Brockton Rox 3
JULY 28—And in the second contest of the doubleheader, the Blues racked up six runs in the third on their way to a 9-3 win to move to 26-21 on the season.
Miller was 2-of-4 with two runs scored and an RBI while Reynolds collected two hits and two RBI.
Diamond went 1-of-4 with a triple and two RBI and Dewaine captured a hit and an RBI.
Matt Shane won it on the mound for the Blues, nearly going the distance (6.1 IP).
He allowed seven hits, three earned runs while punching out five, moving to 2-1 on the year.
The Blues, Rox, and North Shore Navigators were all even in the loss column (21) as Bristol was just a game out of the division lead to start the new week.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Michael Letendre, email him at MLetendre@BristolObserver.com.