By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – It’s been a busy stretch for the Bristol Blues and as the squad crept into the July portion of the schedule, there were a couple epic games that were played along the way.
Take the Blues mind-boggling 17-3 smashing of the Nashua Silver Knights on Friday, June 29 for instance.
The contest – followed by an amazing firework display – saw the squads combine for nearly two dozen walks.
In all, 23 walks were issued with one pitcher from the Silver Knights – Jarod Norcross Plourde – did not register an out as the squad’s third pitcher of the evening.
But he allowed one hit, five runs – four earned – and four walks as the game quickly slid away from the squad from New Hampshire.
Winning pitcher Emmet Sheehan moved to 2-0 on the campaign in his four inning, one run, three strikeout stint.
He did allow seven walks but the damage was minimal.
The Blues ramped up 10 hits in the contest as Ian Ostberg, who also took the mound late for the home team, went 3-of-5 with three runs scored, a walk and an RBI as the star increased his batting average to .350 on the year.
Pat Winkel also made strides at the plate – going 2-of-3 overall with a double, a run scored, three RBI, and a walk.
But the marathon game was a real contest to boot as Bristol notched a run in the bottom of the first while the Silver Knights added one in the third as it became a 1-1 game.
And then, the wagon wheels fell off the stage coach for Nashua.
Bristol put a five-spot on the scoreboard in the third, scored another five in the fifth and in the sixth, six additional runners crossed the plate as the Blues – with the bases loaded in the sixth – could have scored its 20th run with just one crack of the bat.
Leading by 17-2, Nashua dropped in a run in the seventh but ended up falling by 14 runs.
But then on Saturday, June 30, it was the back end of the home-and-home series between the Blues and Silver Knights.
And Nashua picked up a big 12-3 victory from beautiful Holman Stadium.
Nashua scored at least one run in each of the first seven innings – save the fourth frame – as the home team snatched an 8-0 lead and never looked back.
Bristol had four players collect two hits each as Richard Brereton, Cooper Mrowka, Payton Stephens, and Bryce Ramsey led the charge.
Mrowka smacked out a home run and grabbed two RBI.
The rematch saw the teams combine for just 12 walks as Bristol’s Michael Genaro (0-2) drew the loss over three innings (8 hits, 6 ER, 2 BB).
And then in a double-dip in 100 degree weather from Muzzy Field on Sunday, July 1, Worcester swept the Blues.
Game scores were 5-3 and 10-6 over two seven-inning challenges.
In the first bout, the Bravehearts led 5-0 through four-and-a-half innings and never looked back.
Ostberg (2-for-4, RBI), Matt Bonvicini (2-for-3, 2 runs, RBI) and Jeremy Sagun (2-for-3) stroked out six of the team’s seven hits.
Bristol pitching limited Worcester to just eight hits as Michael DeLease lost for the first time this season but did well over 4.2 innings of work.
He allowed five runs, only two earned, seven hits, two walks while punching out three.
And then in the nightcap, the Bravehearts were winners again.
The Blues led 2-1 after one frame of play but ended up falling 10-6 to drop to 15-13 on the season.
Worcester went ahead for good in the second inning with two runs and when the Bravehearts zipped up six runs in the fourth, it was a 9-2 contest the locals could never get back into.
Bristol’s Jimmy Sullivan was 3-for-4 with a run scored while Justyn- Henry Malloy was 1-for-3 with a homer, two RBI and a walk.
The Blues then went 4-3 over its next seven games, moving to 19-16 on the campaign.
Here’s a summary of all the action:
Monday, July 2 – Blues 9, Starks 7: Bristol broke a 4-4 tie with a two-run fourth as Blues won by a couple runs. Winkel, Malloy (2), and Bonvicini all smashed out homers for Bristol while Bonvicini netted four RBI.
Tuesday, July 3 – Blues 4, Suns 1: Bristol’s Casey Elbin threw a six inning, one hitter as the Blues won their second straight contest. Neal McDermott (4 Ks) saved his 10th games for Bristol.
Wednesday, July 4 – Navigators 5, Blues 4: Jeff Mejia scored off a double by Sal Frelick as the Navigators broke a 4-4 stalemate in the top of the ninth inning. Bristol’s Jeremy Sagun went 2-for-4 with an RBI while Brereton walked three times.
Thursday, July 5 – Bravehearts 3, Blues 2: Trailing by a run, the Bravehearts scored individual runs in the second, third, and fourth frames to close out the deal. Bonivicini was 2-of-3 with a walk and an RBI for the Blues.
Friday, July 6 – Bravehearts 8, Blues 0: Bristol was limited to five total hits as the Bravehearts scored early and often. The Blues committed four errors in the game. Emmet Sheehan (5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 Ks) pitched well in defeat.
Saturday, July 7 – Blues 9, Silver Knights 6: McDermott saved his 11th contest of the year as the Blues netted five runs in the sixth to break a three-game losing streak. Hague (3-for-4, two runs, three RBI) and Brereton (2-for-4, run, three RBI) led Bristol offensively.