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Starfires close weekend with a win

WESTFIELD, Massachusetts – As the old saying goes, “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.” That summed up a 3-3 week for the Westfield Starfires that saw two doubleheader splits in incredible fashion, key plays from players new and old, and a pair of rainouts as the season reached the midpoint with the team well within range of a berth in the 2020 Futures Collegiate Baseball League Championship Series.

 

RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY:

  • The Starfires and Worcester Bravehearts were supposed to play three games in a row, with a matchup at Bullens Field on Wednesday and then in Leominster, Massachusetts each of the following two days. However, heavy rain forced the postponement of both contests, giving the Starfires a surprise two-day break from the grind of the shortened season.
  • The date to make up the game at home has yet to be announced; the teams will make up the game that Worcester was slated to host as part of an August 5 doubleheader.

 

VETERAN PRESENCES LEAD THE WAY:

  • In a lineup filled with new talent, the handful of returning Starfires from the team’s inaugural campaign played a critical role in securing the victories that Westfield gathered during the week.
  • Coming off of a frustrating loss in the first game of the team’s doubleheader against the Nashua Silver Nights, pitchers Chase Jeter (West Hartford, CT / Sacred Heart) and Pat Gallagher (Leominster, MA / Connecticut) slammed the door shut on Nashua’s offense; Jeter earned the win with five frames of three-hit shutout ball, fanning six on his way to Pitcher of the Night honors, and Gallagher allowed just a leadoff double in two frames of work to secure the save.
  • Gallagher had also picked up the win earlier in the week against the New Britain Bees, tossing 1.1 scoreless frames of relief in the 3-1 victory to open the set of games.
  • In the weekend finale, needing a win in the nightcap after losing the first-ever FCBL Home Run Derby at Bullens Field, the Starfires again turned to familiar faces. Trailing 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, Dolan Ocasal (Pearl River, NY / Albany) drove in Devin Kellogg (Florence, MA / Connecticut) for what proved to be the decisive run, and was himself brought home on a sacrifice bunt by Danny Crossen (Cotuit, MA / Northeastern) as the Starfires ultimately won 6-2.
  • Kellogg also made two critical plays with his glove to turn two from the outfield in Sunday’s second game; he turned a flyout to right into a 9-2 double play in the second, and then made a shoestring catch before firing back to second to catch a runner in the top of the sixth when New Britain had two men on and one out right before the Starfires rallied to win.

 

JIMENEZ HITS HIS STRIDE:

  • Third baseman Ramon Jimenez (Chicopee, MA / Boston College) has steadily improved as the season has gone on, and this week may have been his best yet; he slugged three home runs as part of a five-hit week.
  • All of the home runs were clutch, as they either tied the game for Westfield or put the Starfires in the lead; he hit the go-ahead dinger in the week’s opener against the Bees, opened the scoring in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, and tied the nightcap in the second frame with a mammoth blast.
  • Additionally, his four-pitch leadoff walk in the sixth inning of the week’s finale and subsequent steal helped to spark the five-run rally that led to the Starfires victory.

 

WHAT’S ON TAP:

  • The Starfires only have four scheduled games in the upcoming week, with three on the road and one at home.
  • On Tuesday, July 28, the team heads to Lynn, Massachusetts, for a battle with the North Shore Navigators.
  • The following day, Brockton, Massachusetts will be the destination for a matchup with the Rox.
  • The Starfires and Bees will have a home-and-home, with New Britain returning to Bullens Field on Friday, July 31 for a 6:30 p.m. start, and the calendar flipping over before the teams battle in New Britain, Connecticut on Saturday, August 1.

 

STAY CONNECTED:

  • All FCBL games during the 2020 season are available to watch on the FCBL Network, which can be found at www.fcblnetwork.com.
  • Single-game passes are $8, while an all-access pass that allows you to watch every FCBL contest all season long is $99.
  • Keep up with the team on Twitter and Instagram by following @starfiresbb, and be sure to like Westfield Starfires on Facebook.


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