By MICHAEL LETENDRE
The final week of May meant the Bristol Blues were back in action, opening up the 2018 Futures Collegiate Baseball League campaign on the road on Thursday, May 31.
The Blues took its first game with a 3-1 victory over the Worcester Bravehearts from Hanover Park at Fitton Field.
Bristol’s Mark Silvestri (2 IP, 1 run, 3 K’s) earned the win on the mound while Neal McDermott picked up the save.
The Blues totaled seven hits with Alex Baumann leading the way.
He collected two hits and an RBI while Peyton Stephens added a double.
The contest was tied up at 1-1 though six innings before Bristol added two runs in the top of the seventh to ice the contest.
Giacomo Brancato and Ethan Hunt were both hit by pitch before the Bravehearts made a pitching change.
With one gone, Jeremy Sagun reached base off an error and with the bases loaded, another gaffe was about to foil the home team.
This time, an error on the third basemen off an offering by Alex Loparco scored Brancato as Bristol snared a 2-1 lead.
The bases were still juiced when Peyton Stephens earned a base-on-balls – plating Hunt – to propel the Blues to a 3-1 edge and the win.
And then the following night, it was more of the same for the Blues on the road from Wahconah Park.
Bristol ended up defeating the Pittsfield Suns 9-1 as Ian Ostberg had a record breaking day at the plate for the locals.
He went 5-for-5 against Pittsfield and that tied a FCBL record for the most hits in a game.
His stat line also induced three runs and an RBI.
Kelvin Sosa, on the mound for the Blues, went five innings, giving up just four hits and two walks while striking out four.
Stephens had a good day at the dish, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored.
The Blues tallied three runs in the second and fourth frames to zip up a 6-0 lead, never looking back.
And then in its home opener from Muzzy Field on Saturday, June 2, it was a rematch between the Suns and Blues.
In the end, the Blues scored three consecutive runs to earn a 5-4 come-from-behind win.
Pittsfield led 4-2 through six innings before Bristol nabbed a run in the bottom of the seventh and two more in the eighth to seize control of the contest.
Trailing 4-3, Ostberg scored on a wild pitch to tie things up and when Richard Brereton’s singled, Alex Loparco scored as Bristol led it for good, 5-4.
After three games, Bristol was the only undefeated squad in league play (3-0).
But that changed on Sunday, June 3 in a doubleheader at home versus the North Shore Navigators from Muzzy Field as Bristol finally lost a game.
In game one, the Blues dropped a tough 3-2 decision as the Navigators scored twice in the seventh inning to turn a one-run deficit into a one-run edge.
Stephens was a perfect 3-for-3 in the game while Conor Nolan had two hits as the duo was responsible for five of Bristol’s six hits.
Mark Silvestri was pinned for the loss in relief, giving up the winning run and two hits while walking one.
But redemption came in the second game as the Blues racked up a 1-0 victory over the Navigators.
And the winning run was scored during the final inning of play.
Stephens was in the thick of things again as he flipped out a triple while North Shore rolled the dice by intentionally walking Dylan Reynolds and Brancato to load things up.
With one out, Ostberg dropped in a single – plating Reynolds – as Bristol earned a hard fought 1-0 win.
Casey Elbin won in relief, allowing just two hits while striking out two in two innings of work.
Bristol starter Jared Kollar did not factor into the decision but pitched well, chucking five innings of two-hit, seven-strikeout ball.
Stephens went 2-for-3 in the game and was batting .500 after Sunday’s twin bill.