Starting Nine

Coming off of the team’s seventh consecutive Futures League championship appearance in 2020, the Worcester Bravehearts will return to Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field this summer with a core group of nine returning players on the roster. Five pitchers and four position players have rejoined the team for the upcoming season, a majority of whom have local ties.

Fan-favorite Nick Martin (Shrewsbury HS / Shrewsbury, MA) will be returning for his third summer with the Worcester Bravehearts. The Shrewsbury native is a current Junior at Westfield State and was a standout on the Shrewsbury Legion Post 397 team for many years. Over the past two summers he has played in 64 games for the Bravehearts at a variety of positions, hitting .271. In 2021 he has a chance to become just the third player in franchise history to appear in 100 career games, a feat that has only been accomplished by West Boylston’s Mariano (133) and Dante (114) Ricciardi.

Another former Post 397 player, Carson Hauben (St. John’s H.S. / Grafton, MA), will be returning for his second season with Worcester. The Grafton resident was primarily used as a reliever last season, but Bravehearts Manager Alex Dion has high hopes for the right-hander, saying “he has experience in the league and pitched in big spots for us last year, including in the championship. He will probably be one of our top two starters this year.” He is teammates with former Bravehearts player Nick Santucci at Rollins College.

Holden’s Brendan Case (Wachusett Regional H.S.) will return to the Bravehearts after a year off following arm surgery. The right-handed pitcher was a key bullpen arm for the Bravehearts during their championship season in 2019. He appeared in 13 games that season, only allowing three runs. The graduate student at Salem University in West Virginia was a member of the 2015 Wachusett Regional H.S. team that made a Super 8 appearance.

Alex Amalfi (Ashland H.S. / Ashland, MA) returns to the Bravehearts’ pitching staff after his first season with the team in 2020. Amalfi was a two-sport athlete at Ashland High School, also playing hockey. In 2019, he was the ace of the Ashland Legion Post 77 team and threw a complete game against a Shrewsbury Post 397 team that featured his 2020 Bravehearts teammates John West and Carson Hauben. Although he was unable to make an appearance for UMass-Boston as a freshman in the shortened collegiate season last year, he did go 2-0 for the Bravehearts and had 19 strikeouts over 12 innings.

A pair of players who play their college ball in Worcester will also be returning to the team this summer, with Holy Cross’ Andrew Selima (St. John’s Prep / Andover, MA) and Clark University’s Chris Radovic (Fairfield Warde H.S. / Fairfield, CT) each coming back for a second season. Selima led Holy Cross with 13 RBIs in the shortened 2020 season. The senior first-baseman made a great first impression with the Bravehearts last year, hitting a two-out, game-winning homerun in the top of the ninth inning in his very first game with the team. Radovic — who is both a pitcher and an outfielder at Clark — posted a 2.31 ERA in eight appearances for the Bravehearts last summer.

The last returning player from the 2020 Bravehearts is catcher Zachary DeMattio (North Attleboro H.S. / North Attleboro, MA). After joining the team late in the season, he appeared in five games, recording a hit in four of them, including a booming three run homerun. He was recently named a captain of the Wheaton College baseball team for the upcoming season.

Rounding out the list of returning players are two members of the 2019 championship team: left-handed pitcher Brian Robertson (Cherry Hill West H.S. / Cherry Hill, NJ) of the University of Dayton and outfielder Jakob Sessa (East Lake H.S. / Palm Harbor, FL) of Valdosta State University. Robertson made his collegiate debut for Dayton last year, where he is teammates with former Bravehearts players Mariano Ricciardi and Bryce Hellgeth. While with the Bravehearts, he struck out 10 hitters in nine appearances. Sessa, a senior at Valdosta State University, was a key bat in the middle of the Bravehearts lineup in 2019 when he hit .333 in 30 games.

The Futures League expects to announce its 2021 schedule in mid-March, with opening weekend slated for Memorial Day. Bravehearts Season Tickets, Flex Plans, and Group Outings at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field are now available by calling the Bravehearts box office at 508-438-3773.