LEOMINSTER, MA – A nine-run lead for the Worcester Bravehearts turned into just a two-run lead in the middle innings, but Worcester answered with six runs over the final four frames to pull away and stave off Westfield by a final score of 16-8 from Doyle Field Wednesday afternoon.
Aidan Wilde (Stonehill) and Ben Rice (Dartmouth) each hit a three-run homerun in the first and second inning, respectively, to power Worcester’s offense to an early 7-0 lead after two innings. After the third inning, it was a 10-1 Bravehearts lead thanks to RBI singles from Danny Torres (St. Leo) and EJ Exposito (NYIT). That, however, is when things got interesting as Westfield began to claw back into the game.
A three-run fourth inning was highlighted by a Danny Crossen two-RBI single. An inning later, Drew DeMartino and Ramon Jimenez hit back-to-back homeruns to supply the offense in a four-run fifth inning. In the blink of an eye and with Westfield now into Worcester’s bullpen, it was a 10-8 game.
However, the Bravehearts’ relievers provided the necessary stability. Will Hesslink (Boston College), Carson Hauben (Rollins), and Coleman Picard (Hartford) shut down the Starfires, allowing no runs and just three hits over the final five innings. Hesslink earned the win, and Hauben was particularly impressive with his three scoreless innings and three strikeouts.
That stability allowed the Worcester offense to get some breathing room, scoring at least one run in each of the final four innings. Rice delivered a RBI single, Jack Gardner (Morehead State) ripped a RBI double, and Exposito picked up his third RBI with a sacrifice fly in the ninth. The three runs scored in the eighth inning were all forced in with bases loaded thanks to walks and hit by pitches.
Worcester starting pitcher, Eric Chavarria (Lewis & Clark State), lasted four-plus innings giving up eight runs (five earned) and eleven hits. Westfield’s starter, Brayden Garcia, allowed ten earned runs in three innings. The lefty walked four and gave up eight hits. Wilde (three RBI) and Torres each had three hits apiece for Worcester, and six Starfires had two hits each.
The matchup between Worcester (16-8) and Westfield (10-15) was a rescheduled game due to a rainout from July 23. The schedule has now played out that the next four home games for the Bravehearts will come against Starfires.
Worcester is on the road Thursday night at New Britain but returns home versus Westfield Friday night at six o’clock.