Rice Powers Bravehearts Past Bees in HR Derby

LEOMINSTER, MA – Ben Rice (Dartmouth) hit a solo homerun in the seventh inning, and it proved to be foreshadowing as Rice blasted nine home runs in a Homerun Derby to give Worcester a win over New Britain Thursday night at Doyle Field.

The final score after the first 10 innings was 3-3, and that Rice homerun in the eighth proved to be crucial because it gave the Bravehearts a 3-0 lead. Worcester would need all of that insurance as New Britain climbed back and tied the game with a three-run top of the ninth.

Danniel Rivera started the inning with a single followed by a double by Mike Caruso. Noah Martinez singled both runners home to make it a 3-2 game. Andrew Cain then doubled, and Worcester intentionally walked Ryan Bagdasarian. The tying run scored on a bobbled ground ball at first base by Aidan Wilde (Stonehill) that negated a potential force play at home. Jack Steele (UMass Amherst) – who pitched the final three innings of relief – did settle down to get out of the inning, striking out Kyle Brennan and getting a 6-4-3 double play.

After a scoreless bottom of the ninth and tenth inning, Andrew Cain stepped into the box for New Britain to start the Homerun Derby. The Bee’s designated hitter hit eight homeruns by himself with the help of both timeouts. Rice also stayed in for the entirety of the derby and hit the nine homeruns, needing just one timeout.

The final ending eliminated a result for Worcester starter, Angelo Baez (St. Thomas Aquinas). The reigning FCBL Pitcher of the Year showed little rust after the long layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, firing six scoreless innings and striking out four batters in just his second start of the campaign. Baez allowed just four hits and faced only three batters over the minimum.

Worcester (3-3) scored first in the bottom of the second on a Donnie Cohoon (Hartford) RBI-single to score Wilde, giving Cohoon his first hit of 2020. Danny Torres (St. Leo) hit a homerun for Worcester in the seventh inning – his second of the season – for a 2-0 lead before Rice added the insurance run in the eighth. Rice hit seven total homeruns for Worcester a season ago and now has two through six games this season. Despite entering the game tied with Westfield for the fewest runs scored in the league (13), the Bravehearts had hit the most homeruns in the league (four).

Tim Blaisdell allowed one run across his four-inning start for New Britain (2-4). Tyshaun Diaz and Ben Talbot each threw three relief innings and allowed one run apiece. Caruso had two hits for the Bees.

Worcester stays home at Doyle Field for a four o’clock first pitch versus Nashua Sunday afternoon.