Last night with several dogs and their owners in the stands for the first of two Bark in the Park games, the Bravehearts were down 2-0 after 2 innings. Though it took a few innings for Worcester to get going as warm-ups were shortened by downpours before game time, the team was able to rally their way to the lead in the 4th inning and hold that lead through the rest of the game. Despite being held to just 4 hits, they ended up taking down the Bristol Blues 6-3, with Bryce Hellgeth earning the save for Worcester and Shawn Babineau earning the win.
Going into this game, the Bravehearts had lost 2 games in a row despite the return of star hitter Mack Cheli and shortstop Ben McNeill. But in this game, everyone was settled in for the summer and contributed as the team was helped by having a full roster. Just an hour before the game, it did not look good as it was pouring. But the tarp was taken off the field soon before the original 6:35 PM start time and the grounds crew did an excellent job getting the field ready.
Even with the rain, a decent number of fans still showed up with their dogs for Bark in the Park night. You can bring your dogs again on July 22nd for another Bark in the Park game. I caught up with one dog owner and season ticket holder, Michael, who ran on the field with his dog after the 6th inning along with many kids.
I also interviewed C Jack Gardner, who caught the Bravehearts first ever team no-hitter on Opening Night this year . Riley Livingston would catch tonight for Shawn Babineau (aka “Babs”) in this game, but Gardner was in the lineup as the DH.
You can also check out my pregame discussion with Bravehearts broadcaster Donny Porcaro:
It didn’t look good for Worcester early on. The big hitting Blues lineup didn’t do much in the 1st inning, but in the second, the Blues had 1st and 2nd after a base hit to deep left followed by a bunt single. Jordan Laske drove in both runs with a huge double. However, Babineau got out of the inning with two consecutive outs.
In the 2nd, Cheli became the first Braveheart to get a hit in the game, and a Tyler Becker walk made it 1st and 2nd. But the Bravehearts ended the inning on a double play that stranded both runners. The team didn’t have another hit until the 4th inning, when the team made their comeback.
Blues starter Arjun Thakar was having trouble finding the plate, as he gave up 4 consecutive walks to make it 2-1 Bristol. This was followed by another double play, but another run scored to tie the game. A balk scored the go-ahead run while P.J. Barry, the next hitter, was up at bat. After this, Barry crushed a home run into left field to extend the lead and knock Thakar out of the game after just 3 2/3 innings. But Worcester wasn’t done. Livingston walked during the next at bat, and though he was caught stealing with Nick Martin up, Martin returned to lead off the next inning with a home run of his own and give Worcester the 3-run lead.
Babineau left the game after 6 innings due to pitch count, and in the 7th, the Bravehearts did give up 1 more run. Brandon Miller walked and stole 2nd against Worcester’s relief pitcher Chris Macca. Though Macca struck out a second batter after the walk, Kyle Maves drove Miller in with a single to make it 5-3 Worcester. Nolan Cloutier continued the rally attempt with a single of his own to make it 1st and 2nd. Jordan Laske walked for the 2nd time that night. He had not failed to reach base yet, and it was bases loaded with 2 outs for Danny Roth. But Macca struck Roth out to get out of the jam to hold onto the lead.
The Bravehearts gave their bullpen some additional run support in the bottom of the inning. Livingston walked again, and Mariano Ricciardi got on base for the first time of the night with a walk of his own. There were runners on 1st and 2nd for Jakob Sessa, but also two outs. Sessa has been a performing very well for Worcester this season. Going into this game, he was batting .350. But he was hitless in this game until he smoked an RBI single to extend Worcester’s lead back to 3 runs. Angelo Baez and Hellgeth pitched the final two innings for Worcester and helped secure the 6-3 Bravehearts victory, with Baez maintaining a 0.00 ERA on the season through 5 appearances.
I caught up with P.J. Barry on his home run after the game:
Stay tuned for more of my Worcester Bravehearts coverage with this Sunday’s afternoon game against the North Shore Navigators at 4PM. For the remainder of the week, the Bravehearts will be on the road for 4 games: two in Bristol, one against North Shore, and one in Pittsfield.