WESTFIELD, Massachusetts (July 23, 2023) – For most, Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May. For the Westfield Starfires, it has moved to the third Sunday in July.
After Laura Serce pinch-hit as the public address announcer at the Richards Jewelers Diamond at Billy Bullens Field to introduce the “All-Star representative…my son, Nicholas Serce” in the sixth inning, he hit a go-ahead home run, the first of his two longballs on the day, to help the Starfires secure a 6-1 win over the Brockton Rox.
Westfield is now 26-26 on the season.
It was a quick start for Westfield as Kiernan Caffrey was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the first. After Luke Yuhasz followed with a single, Serce stepped up, slicing a single through the right side to score his American International College teammate from second base.
That 1-0 score held until two outs in the top of the sixth when Ryan Gerety hit a fly ball to right that sailed and cleared the fence, tying the game for the Rox.
However, the score merely added to the mystique of the moment when Serce smacked the leadoff blast. As he rounded third following the shot, his league-best 11th of the season, the Yellow Jacket made a heart sign with his hands up to the booth for his mother. The baseball he hit out was retrieved by team staff and given to him; he in turn passed it along to her as well.
In the seventh, the Starfires broke the game open. Luke Masiuk led off with a walk and then stole second, taking third on an errant throw. Michael Breen walked, and Masiuk scored on a wild pitch with Josh Frometa at the plate. Two more wild pitches during Caffrey’s at-bat pushed Breen home, and Serce came up to the dish once more. He unleashed another mighty swing, launching the ball into right for his second of the game and 12th of the year.
The seventh-inning outburst was not necessary as far as Michael Aceto was concerned. The second-year Starfire ace dominated Brockton hitters from start to finish, throwing the first nine-inning complete game in franchise history.
He conceded just the one run while scattering seen hits and one walk, striking out four, to earn the seventh win of his Starfires career. That total ties him with 2019-20 Starfire Chase Jeter for the most in the five years of Starfires baseball.
The FCBL All-Star Pro Day and Home Run Derby will be held on Monday, July 24 at Centennial Field in Burlington, Vermont, the home of the Vermont Lake Monsters, with the FCBL All-Star Game slated for the following day. The Starfires return to action as a team on Thursday, July 27 against the Norwich Sea Unicorns at Dodd Stadium, and to Bullens Field on Saturday, July 29 at 6:30 p.m. against the Rox.