The Bristol Blues baseball team went 2-3 over the week, but remained in contention of the top spot in the West Division as they approach the midpoint of the season. It was also a record-setting week for the ball club as well, as the franchise slugged their first grand slam, reached their maximum innings played in a game, and tallied a season high of hits in a game.
Vs. Wachusett Dirt Dawgs (Wednesday, June 22)
The Blues began the week at home on Wednesday, June 22 and defeated the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs, 9-4, after their bats came alive in the opening onset of the game.
The Blues loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a walk with one out in the first inning. Zach Scott drove in Tyler Roberts and Austin Chauvin on a base hit to start the scoring frenzy.
Spurred on by Scott’s single, Frankie Gregoire followed up with a base knock of his own, bringing in Scafariello and Scott to cap off the four-run inning.
The Blues posted four more runs in the third and added another run in the seventh.
Scott finished the game by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk. Roberts went 2-for-4 with a RBI. Gregoire went 2-for-5 with three RBI, two doubles, and a run scored. Chauvin went 2-for-5 as well.
John Mormile started the game on the mound and picked up the win after going six innings with three strikeouts, four hits, four walks, and three earned runs. Jared Gallagher relieved Mormile to throw a couple of innings, and Jacob Wallace closed.
Vs. Worcester Bravehearts (Thursday, June 23)
The Blues fell short, 2-1, in a 14-inning affair with the Worcester Bravehearts the next night, which was the most innings played in a game in the franchise’s history.
The Blues settled three contests in extra innings with the Bravehearts last season, including a 6-4 loss after 10 innings in the final game of the championship series. It was the first game-three of the championship series in league history.
After 11 scoreless innings, the Bravehearts broke the cold streak by taking advantage of a wild pitch with a run. The Brandon Grover drove in Gregoire in the bottom of the inning on a single to keep the contest going.
With two outs and a runner on third in the 14th, the Bravehearts put the game to bed after three hours and 46 minutes, bringing a runner in from third base on a passed ball thrown by Mike Munson.
Gregoire and Roberts each went 2-for-6. Both teams finished with 8 hits.
Teddy Carey started on the mound and went six innings with three strikeouts, six hits, and a walk. Michael Nocera and Adam Goss relieved Carey to get some time on the mound, and Mike Kreiger went three and two thirds innings with five strikeouts to allow one hit and no runs until the 12th inning.
Munson was tagged with the loss after going two and two thirds innings with four strikeouts, two walks, and a hit. Sebastian DiMauro closed the game out.
“We seem to fall behind quite a bit, but manage to get back,” said Blues manager Pat Riley. “We talked about it a couple of days ago. Sometimes, it’s just not always going to happen though. It was a great ballgame, but it would have been nice to squeak that one out. Obviously, they’ve gotten the better of us for the majority of the season.”
At Pittsfield Suns (Friday, June 24)
On Friday, the Blues packed their bus and headed to Pittsfield, Mass., where they fell to the Suns, 5-1.
Gregoire started the second inning with a solo homerun, which was his first on the year, giving the Blues a 1-0 lead. However, the Suns scattered runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to secure the win.
Chauvin went 2-for-3 with a walk. Pittsfield outhit Bristol, 7-5.
Paul Versteeg started the game and went six innings with five strikeouts, three walks, a hit, and an earned run. Sam Spadafore relieved Versteeg and allowed three hits and an earned run. Nocera closed.
At Wachusett Dirt Dawgs (Saturday, June 25)
The Blues dropped their third-straight game and suffered their largest loss of the season the next night at Wachusett when they were overpowered by 12 runs to the Dirt Dawgs, 15-3.
The Dirt Dawgs tagged the Blues for 15 hits, posting six runs in the third inning and seven in the fourth.
Scott went 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Munson went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.
Brandon Fox started on the mound and went three innings, allowing seven earned runs, hits, and a walk. Spadafore came in to pitch two innings, and DiMauro, Artavious Marsh, and Nick Silva each threw an inning.
Vs. Pittsfield Suns (Sunday, June 26)
The Blues ended their three-game slump with a 7-4 triumph over the Suns at home to cap off the week on Sunday, reaching a season-high of 14 hits in the game.
The Blues jumped out in front of the Suns early with three runs in the second inning and four in the third, taking a 7-0 lead by the fourth.
Gregoire went 3-for-4 with five RBI, two runs scored, and a double, including the franchise’s first grand slam in the third inning.
“It felt pretty good,” said Gregoire. “I had been struggling a little bit, but have just been thinking about relaxing and not swinging too hard. And it’s been paying off.”
Gregoire said that his grand slam came off of a curveball that was left a little outside of the zone.
“I was seeing everything today, and seeing it well,” the left fielder said. “I laid off some pitches. I’m not trying to do too much. I’m just trying to put the barrel on the ball and let the bat do the rest.”
Gregoire leads the team with 14 RBI.
Scott went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Nick Conti went 2-for-4 with RBI, a walk, and a double. Chris Villa went 2-for-4 as well. Logan Greene went 2-for-5 with a RBI and a runs scored.
Izzy Fuentes started on the mound and picked up the win, going five and two thirds innings with seven strikeouts, eight hits, four earned runs, and two walks. Wallace relieved Fuentes to go two and a third with three strikeouts and a hit. Goss closed and got the save.
“We had a good start, got good pitching, and held onto the lead,” said Riley. “If we can get the lead after six, I like our chances. It was good to see the bats come out, ready to go.”
Although 14 hits gave the team a boost, Riley said that there are still a lot of things the team has to work on offensively.
“We’re still not completely there,” the manager said. “Our pitching has been strong defensively, and we were solid again tonight. If we can just manufacture runs, have great at-bats, work counts, and not chase, eventually that stuff will pay off.”
Bristol is currently in second place in the West, four and a half games back from the first-place Bravehearts. One of the key attributes that Riley said separates the Bravehearts from most teams in the league is the depth in their lineup.
“As good as we do on the mound against them, they do just as good,” said Riley “I’ve been impressed with their pitching, and they’ve really thrown the ball well against us.”
Riley also said that the Bravehearts have some of the best hitters in the league as well.
“They have a lot of lefty batters,” the manager said. “They can match up and pinch hit.”
The Blues (11-10) will look to remain in contention this week with games against the Marthas Vineyard Sharks (8-13), the Bravehearts (15-5), the Seacoast Mavericks (15-7), and the Torrington Titans (8-14).