By BRIAN JENNINGS
Bristol Blues manager, Pat Riley stretched his arms back and reclined in his chair in the locker room. The expression on his face displayed a calm demeanor.
“We have a good team here,” the manager said. “We just have to figure out ways to win and hit our stride at the right time.”
The Blues only came away with one win this past week after dropping three-straight games to the North Shore Navigators, but the feeling in the locker room is still good, according to Riley, as the team enters the final week of the regular season.
The manager said that the Blues have been treating every game like a playoff game as they look to make one last push towards the postseason,
“That’s the way our coaching staff is treating it,” said Riley. “We’re right there, but we have to finish off strong. We have to continue to battle and compete every day, trying to catch a streak here at the end. That’s been the goal, and it hasn’t changed.”
A 56-game season in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League can be daunting to most coming off of shorter seasons during the school year, especially those whom have never experienced it before. But Riley said that the team should have a certain comfort level at this point of the summer.
“You get here three or four hours before the game, you’re traveling, and you do it all again the next day,” the manager said. “They should be in routine. The season moves quickly, and it always seems to, but we’re a lot of games in.”
Riley said that the playoffs are obviously a fun time, and they want to be around for it.
“We’re going to compete to get in there,” said Riley. “We have a couple of double headers that we’re going to have to finish up. So we’re going to have to grind it out and get the best efforts from everyone.”
North Shore Navigators (1)
JULY 26—The Blues began the week on Tuesday, where they continued their series with the Navigators from Sunday, but fell short, 7-4.
Both teams got off to an explosive start, each combining for seven runs off of just six hits. But it was Bristol that came out on top with a one-run lead, 4-3. However, four runs off of a double and two base hits across the next couple of innings secured the victory for the Navigators.
The Blues finished the game with ten hits and three errors. Liam Scafariello went 2-for-5 with two RBI, a run scored, and a triple. Austin Chauvin went 2-for-5 with a RBI, a runs scored, and a double. Tyler Roberts went 2-for-3 with a walk. Dylan Morris went 2-for-4.
Paul Versteeg was credited with the loss after going three innings on the mound, allowing seven hits, four earned runs, and a walk. Ben Brown relieved Versteeg to go four innings with three strikeouts, three walks, and two hits. Adam Goss and Logan Greene threw the last two innings.
Wednesday night’s game at Frasier Field in Lynn, Mass. was suspended due to lateness. The game is currently tied 5-5 in the 17th inning.
“Our relief pitching was outstanding tonight,” said Riley. “You look back and say that you were a part of a 17-inning game, but point blank, we had a lot of opportunities to get a run across. North Shore can definitely be a team that we face in the playoffs. So hopefully we got a little bit of a chip.”
North Shore Navigators (2)
JULY 28—Bristol suffered their third-straight loss by 13 runs, 14-1, to North Shore when they remained at Frasier Field the next day. The Navigators stockpiled six runs in the fifth to take a commanding 10-0 advantage by the sixth inning, tagging the Blues for 16 hits. Bristol scored their lone run of the game in the eighth, mustering just five hits with three errors. The Navigators are now winners of their last seven games.
Scott Creedon picked up the loss after going four innings with four strikeouts, surrendering seven hits, three earned runs and a walk. Randy Polonia and Kyle Carvello each pitched two innings.
JULY 29—A 7-2 triumph over the Torrington Titans, along with 13 hits, snapped the Blues’ three-game skid at home on Friday.
“We just had a couple of tough losses, but it was a good rebound game tonight, especially with what happened yesterday and the night before with that 17-inning game,” said Riley. “We needed this, and the guys came through.”
Bristol came out of the gates swinging the bats, building a 5-0 edge over the Torrington after the first two innings of play.
Greene was perfect at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Chauvin (2-for-4) paced the Blues’ lineup with a pair of RBI, a run scored, and a double. Jimmy Titus went 2-for-5 with a triple and a double. Frankie Gregoire went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles, a RBI, and a run scored. Lorenzo Arcuri went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk.
Izzy Fuentes collected his sixth win of the season after going six and two thirds innings with seven strikeouts, allowing three hits, two earned runs, and two walks. Jared Gallagher closed with six strikeouts, two hits, and a walk.
“We got guys on, and more importantly, we got them in,” the manager said. “We got off to a good start and then manufactured some runs later on. We had a very strong pitching performance by Izzy and Gallagher. Defensively we were solid, and it was an all-around good effort.”
Saturday night’s home game against the Seacoast Mavericks was cancelled due to torrential downpours.
JULY 31—Bristol wrapped up the week at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, Mass. on Sunday where they dropped their 26th loss on the year to the Brockton Rox, 4-1, after letting a few runs slip away from them late in the contest.
The Rox held a 1-0 lead after the third inning, but a single to left field by Gregoire in the sixth scored Arcuri and tied the game. However, a pair of scores in the seventh and a run in the eighth off of a base hit and a sacrifice fly put the game out of reach for the Blues. Bristol finished with just five hits and committed three errors.
Sebastian DiMauro was charged with the loss after going six and a third innings on the mound with six strikeouts, permitting six hits, three runs (1 earned) and two walks. Mike Kreiger, Mike Munson, and Goss saw some action on the mound as well.
The Blues (22-26) remained in second place of the FCBL West division, falling to 10 games back of the Worchester Bravehearts (32-16). Bristol will look to finish out the regular season strong this week with games against the Nashua Silver Knights (30-19), the Titans (19-28), and the Navigators (26-24).
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.
North Shore Navigators 7, Bristol Blues 4
Tuesday, July 26
At Muzzy Field, Bristol
3B—Scafariello. 2B—Peña (2), Chauvin. BB—Peña, Roper, Cabrera (2), Rossi, Nathanson (2), Arcuri, Conti (2), Titus, Roberts. HBP—Roper, DiBenedetto (2), Falkson. SAC—Titus.
North Shore Navigators 313 000 000 — 7 9 1
Bristol Blues 400 000 000 — 4 10 3
Records—Navigators (22-24), Blues (21-24).
Bristol Blues @ North Shore Navigators
Wednesday, July 27
At Fraser Field, Lynn, MA
North Shore Navigators 14, Bristol Blues 1
Thursday, July 28
At Fraser Field, Lynn, MA
3B—D’Acunti. 2B—Conti, Grover, Maiola, DiBenedetto, Cabrera, Singleton. BB—Titus, Brown, Roper (3), D’Acunti (2), Maiola (2), Singleton, Falkson. SAC—Peña, Roper, Malionek, Rossi.
Bristol Blues 000 000 010 — 1 5 3
North Shore Navigators 011 260 22x — 14 16 2
Records—Blues (21-25), Navigators (23-24).
Bristol Blues 7, Torrington Titans 2
Friday, July 29
At Muzzy Field, Bristol
HR—Klugerman. 3B—Titus. 2B—Chauvin, Gregoire (2), Titus. BB—Purcell, Ginsberg, Tralli, Arcuri, Conti, Chauvin, Roberts (2), Villa (2). HBP—Foley. SAC—Grover.
Torrington Titans 020 000 000 — 2 5 1
Bristol Blues 230 010 10x — 7 13 0
Records—Titans (18-28), Blues (22-25).
Seacoast Mavericks @ Bristol Blues
Saturday, July 30
At Muzzy Field, Bristol
Brockton Rox 4, Bristol Blues 1
Sunday, July 31
At Campanelli Stadium, Brockton, MA
BB—Arcuri, Titus, Grover, Scafariello, Budzik, Andreoli, Shaver, Porter, Cooper, Smartt. SAC—Perry, Smartt.
Bristol Blues 000 001 000 — 1 5 3
Brockton Rox 001 000 21x — 4 7 0
Records—Blues (22-26), Rox (25-24).
As of Sunday, July 31
|Wachusett Dirt Dawgs||18||31||0.367||14.5|
|Nashua Silver Knights||30||19||0.612||3.5|
|North Shore Navigators||26||24||0.520||8|
|Marthas Vineyard Sharks||20||30||0.400||14|