By BRIAN JENNINGS
Although they had a rainout and a day off in between, the Bristol Blues baseball team still managed to manufacture their most successful stint yet this season, dropping just one game out of five last week. Some wins were by two runs and some were by 13.
More importantly, the Blues captured all four of those wins at Muzzy Field, where the Blues have owned teams on the year, and where Blues team manager, Ronnie Palmer, said he was happy to be.
“We just passed the midway point of the season, and I think we’re really jelling together and getting along great,” he said. The guys just showed up with the right attitude all week, and hopefully, we can continue to move forward with it.”
The Blues are now 13-4 at home this season. On the other hand though, they have only won four games away from Muzzy Field. Palmer said they’ll try to tweak some things to turn it around on the road.
“I have to figure out how to change the process so that the guys compete better on the road,” said Palmer. “I don’t know if it’s the bus trips or what not, but we have to do something different. That falls on me, not the guys.”
The Blues will be back on the diamond this week with games against the Worcester Bravehearts (14-17), Wachusett Dirt Dawgs (18-12), Pittsfield Suns (16-16), Brockton Rox (18-13), and North Shore Navigators (11-17). Bristol is 17-14 overall and second in the West Division, four games back of the Dirt Dawgs.
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. Worcester
JULY 1—With their home game against the Pittsfield Suns was postponed on Friday, the Blues had to wait to answer their previous loss. It was worth the wait. On Thursday, the locals pulled a game above .500 with a 6-4 home win over the Worcester Bravehearts.
Rain almost claimed its third game of the week, but just a short delay was assessed in the sixth inning as storms moved through the state.
The Blues struck first with three runs in the second, but the Bravehearts responded with a three run rally in the next inning before taking the lead in the fifth. The Blues regained the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Mitch Williams got the go ahead run, and Mark Tumosa (2-for-4) capped off the victory by reaching home on a catcher’s error in the seventh.
The Blues finished with 12 hits, stranding just four runners on base. Garrett Blaylock (RBI, run) went 3-for-4. Jeff Shanfeldt went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Starter Michael Genaro picked up his first win of the season after going five innings with a strikeout, allowing six hits and four earned runs. John Natoli (3-0) struck out six in three innings of relief, and Tommy Curtin (0-1) earned his sixth save of the season.
Loss at Nashua
JULY 2—On Sunday, the Blues fell back to .500 with their 13th loss of the season, a 6-5 road loss at Nashua.
The Silver Knights took an early 4-1 advantage with the help of three runs in the opening inning. The Blues managed to tie the game in the fifth and sixth innings before the Silver Knights clinched the contest.
With two outs and a full count in the sixth, Kyle Bonicki hit the game-winning run with a RBI single.
The Blues finished with 10 hits and two errors. Garrett Blaylock went 3-for-5 at the plate with a run scored and a double. Ben Maycock went 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored.
Malachi Edmond (0-1) started on the mound and went five innings with five strikeouts, allowing 11 hits and five earned runs. Jacob Wallace (0-3) was credited with the loss after relieving Edmond to go an inning. Keith Grant (0-1) closed with a pair of strikeouts.
Win vs. Worcester
JULY 3—The see-saw week continued with a 4-1 home win over the Worcester Bravehearts on Monday. The Blues are now 5-1 against the Bravehearts on the year.
All military, active or retired, received free admission to the game, in honor of Military Appreciation Night. The American Legion Post No. 2 Honor Guard performed an opening ceremony.
The Blues got on the scoreboard early with three runs in the second. With two outs and the bases loaded in the inning, Nick Roy (3-for-4) drove in a run with a RBI single and advanced to second on an outfield error.
Max Goione was the next batter and brought in Roy and another run on a base hit. Roy capped off the win with a RBI double that scored a run in the fourth.
Bristol finished with seven hits on an errorless night. The Bravehearts stranded 11 runners on base.
Ross Weiner (3-0) started on the mound and remained perfect on the year after going six and two-thirds innings with four strikeouts, allowing five hits, four walks, and an earned run. Anthony Morrone (4-1) relieved Weiner to go one and one-third of an inning, and Tommy Curtin (0-1) closed to get his seventh save of the season.
Win vs. Nashua
JULY 4—The Blues celebrated Independence Day with a bang, earning their second-straight win with a 15-2 rout of the Nashua Silver Knights at Muzzy Field. The Blues held a 3-0 lead after the third inning, but broke the game open with six runs in the fourth and six more in the fifth. The Blues finished with 14 hits and three errors.
Garrett Blaylock was perfect at the plate after going 4-for-4 with four RBI and a sacrifice fly. Ben Maycock (3 runs, 3 BB, 2 RBI) went 2-for-2. Jayson Gonzalez (2-for-5) collected a home run and four RBI.
Kyle Hodgson (3-0) started on the mound and picked up the win to remain undefeated on the year after going six innings with four strikeouts, allowing five hits and two earned runs. David Stiehl (0-3) and Hayden Manning saw some action on the mound as well, and Joel Torres closed.
Loss at Nashua
JULY 6—Following a day’s rest, Bristol’s two-game winning streak ended with a 16-6 loss at the Nashua Silver Knights. Nashua held a two-run advantage, 6-4, after the second inning until they pulled away by scattering 10 runs across the fifth to eighth innings.
The Blues finished with 13 hits and five errors, allowing 22 hits and stranding 10 runners on base. Josh Zbierski (RBI, BB) went 2-for-2 at the plate. Mitch Guilmette went 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double, and a walk.
Tyler Kovalewich (0-1) was credited with the loss after allowing 10 hits, five earned runs, and a walk over two innings. Relievers Keith Grant (0-1), John Natoli (3-0), and Hayden Manning pitched two innings apiece.
Win vs. Wachusett
JULY 8—After another rain day, the Blues got right back to work on Saturday with a 9-7 home win against the Dirt Dawgs. The Blues jumped out early with the help of five runs off a pair of base hits, a fielder’s choice, and an error by the catcher in the third to take an 8-2 advantage.
The Dirt Dawgs closed within one run with rallies in the sixth and seventh, but a 4-3 putout in the seventh ended their late rally with two runners on base. Mitch Guilmette scored on a wild pitch to extend the lead to two runs, and the Blues held on for the win.
Bristol finished with 12 hits. Cooper Mrowka (3-for-4, double) scored twice with three RBI. Garrett Blaylock (3-for-4, RBI) scored twice.
Starter Brandon Fox went two innings with a pair of strikeouts and just one walk. Takoda Sitar (2-2) went 2 and 2/3 innings to get the iwn, allowing seven hits, six strikeouts, four earned runs, and a walk. Closer Tommy Curtin earned his eighth save.
Win vs. the Sharks
JULY 9—The Blues finished the stretch with back-to-back wins, scoring a 7-5 triumph over the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks at home on Sunday. However, it didn’t come without some last- minute dramatics.
With two run rallies in the second and fifth innings, the Blues built a 4-1 lead. The Sharks knotted the score with three runs in the sixth, and both teams scored a run in the seventh to keep the game tied. Martha’s Vineyard’s bullpen eventually became their worst enemy in the eighth, which ultimately cost the Sharks the game.
With one out and runners on first and second and Blaylock at the plate, the Sharks made a pitching substitution, but reliever Zack Shannon threw a pair of wild pitches to score Max Goione and move Nick Roy to third. Blaylock eventually drew a walk, bringing Ben Maycock to the plate. Another wild pitch allowed Roy to score, and Tommy Curtin (0-1) closed out the game for the Blues, scoring his ninth save of the season.
Starter Michael Genaro (1-0) scattered nine hits, four earned runs, and two strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. John Natoli (3-0) set up Anthony Morrone (5-1), who picked up the win with an inning’s work.
The Blues finished with nine hits and no errors. Jayson Gonzalez went 2-for-3 with two RBI, two walks, a run scored, and a triple. Chris Davis went 2-for-5 with a RBI and a double.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/07/12/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-july-14-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.