Brockton, MA - The Worcester Bravehearts came from behind late to win game one of a doubleheader against the Brockton Rox 6-4.
Worcester took no time in getting on the board. In the top of the first, Trevor Johnson singled with one out. After Chris Rinaldi reached on an error, Mack Cheli drove Johnson in with a single of his own. Rinaldi would also score thanks to a sacrifice fly by Jacob Sessa, putting Worcester up 2-0.
Brockton cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third thanks to a solo home run by Cory Wasylow, making the score 2-1.
Things unraveled for Worcester in the bottom of the fifth when Joe Sullivan walked and Nick Shumski singled. Wasylow proceeded to drive both in with a two-RBI triple, giving the Rox their first lead of the game. Brockton tacked on another run when Casey O’Laughlin doubled to left field, putting Brockton ahead 4-2.
The Bravehearts quickly responded in the top half of the next inning when Tyler Becker hit a solo home run of his own to make it a one-run game.
In the seventh, Worcester tied it up when Mariano Ricciardi doubled home PJ Barry, who had reached on a leadoff walk. Ricciardi advanced to third when Johnson flew out, but was unable to score, leaving things tied 4-4. Brockton failed to score in its half of the seventh, sending the game to an eighth inning.
The Bravehearts loaded the bases in the top of the eighth with walks by Ben McNeill and Riley Livingston along with a PJ Barry single, and took the lead when Ricciardi reached on a fielder’s choice. Johnson added an insurance run with an RBI single, extending the Worcester lead to 6-4.
Brockton made things interesting in the bottom of the eighth, putting runners at second and third, but Bryce Hellgeth struck out three Rox to shut the door.
Earning the win for Worcester was reliever Jakob Barker, who tossed two scoreless innings of one-hit ball, striking out three and walking two. Brockton pitcher Jake Sanderson took the loss, giving up three earned runs on two hits while walking four and striking out one. Hellgeth picked up the save, striking out three and walking one
After taking game one of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Brockton Rox in come-from-behind fashion, there was no such drama in the second game, as the Worcester Bravehearts beat Brockton 13-1 to complete the sweep.
The Bravehearts’ bats once again came through in the top of the first. A Mariano Ricciardi double and walks to Ben Rice and Chris Rinaldi allowed Jacob Sessa to bring all three home with a three-RBI double. Sessa then scored on a Jack Gardner double. The Bravehearts batted around, and Ricciardi drove in two more runs on a single in his second at-bat of the inning. By the time the third out was recorded, Worcester had scored six runs.
Worcester batted around again in the third, scoring five more times. After Becker and Joe Pesce started things with singles, Trevor Johnson drove in a run when he grounded out to first. After a Ricciardi walk, Pesce would score when his NYIT teammate Ben McNeill singled him home. Ricciardi scored on a wild pitch, and after Rice walked and Rinaldi singled, Gardner drove both of them in with a two-RBI single, extending the lead to 11-0.
Two more runs scored for Worcester in the top of the seventh. An RBI single by Rice drove one in, the other coming when Ricciardi scored as Brockton turned a double play.
Despite getting eight walks in the first four innings, Brockton was neither able to record a hit nor score a run until the fifth inning, when Evan Sleight hit a solo home run to left field. That would be the only run Brockton could muster all game.
Brendan Case picked up the victory for the Bravehearts, throwing a scoreless and hitless inning while walking one and striking out a pair of Rox. Getting the loss for Brockton was starter Liam LeVangie, who gave up four earned runs and six total in two-thirds of an inning, walking three and striking out two.
With the doubleheader sweep, the Bravehearts’ record is 20-18 going into the All-Star break, while Brockton drops to 19-18.
Eleven Bravehearts will travel to Pittsfield Tuesday for the Futures Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game. The season resumes for Worcester on Thursday when they host the Nashua Silver Knights.