Starfires Win Wild One With Worcester On Late Rally

Box Score

WESTFIELD, Massachusetts (June 5, 2024) – In a back-and-forth battle that featured both teams giving back four-run leads, the Westfield Starfires ultimately prevailed 10-8 over the Worcester Bravehearts in Futures Collegiate Baseball League action on Wednesday, June 5 at Bullens Field.

Westfield is now 5-2 on the season, and hold an early lead in the FCBL standings by percentage points over the defending champion Norwich Sea Unicorns.

After the Bravehearts left first and third in the top of the first, Boston College rookie and Easthampton native Colin Larson worked a leadoff walk. He then stole second, taking third as well as the throw across the diamond ended up in center field, and scored on a groundout by Millersville University senior Sam Morris.

In the second, Worcester again left runners on, failing to score with the bases loaded. The Starfires took advantage once more with a leadoff walk, this time by Bryant University rookie Cameron Papetti, and two batters later Quinnipiac University’s Kyle Garbowski singled to put two on. Larson came to the plate two batters later, and hit a single deep in the hole at shortstop; Papetti scored easily, and Garbowski came home as the shortstop fumbled the ball. Morris then laced a hit to left, as did Central Connecticut State University’s Aidan Redahan, scoring Larson for a 4-0 Westfield advantage.

Worcester needed to stop the bleeding, and found an effective suture in Nick Harnish. The College of the Holy Cross product utterly baffled the Starfires, retiring the first 14 he faced across five frames of work.

That allowed the guests to mount a comeback effort. In the fourth, Nathan Samii of Miidlebury College smacked a two-run double to halve the Westfield lead, and then in the sixth, with a runner at second, Fitchburg State University’s Jacob Hurrell laced a ball off the center field wall. Larson dove in an effort to catch the liner and slammed into the wall, and ultimately Hurrell came all the way around with the game-tying inside-the-park home run.

The seventh went completely sideways for the Starfires. Worcester strung five straight hits together, including a two-run double by the University of New Haven’s Owen Pincince followed by an RBI single from Florida Atlantic University’s Dylan Lapointe – his fourth hit of the game. The Bravehearts, who had trailed by four, now led 8-4.

In the eighth, however, the game took another twist. Redahan reached on a one-out single, and his CCSU teammate Gianno Merlonghi followed by launching the first round-tripper at Bullens Field by a Starfire on the campaign, a blast to left-center. Trinity College’s Will Sawyer then reached on a miscue at third, and two batters later, College of Charleston rookie Jayden Novak was called upon to pinch hit. He made no mistake with his chance, hammering a 2-2 offering beyond the scoreboard in left and tying the game.

The Starfires were not content with tying the game, and sought the lead. Garbowski walked on five pitches, and Holy Cross rookie Van Liott of Southampton battled back for a six-pitch free pass. They both advanced on a wild pitch during Larson’s next at-bat, and his grounder to third was thrown away, allowing the duo to score and giving the Starfires an unlikely 10-8 lead.

Springfield native and Boston College rookie phenom Cesar Gonzalez was given the task of protecting the lead. He did so in style, working around a one-out single to strike out the final two batters, the last on a called strike, to save the victory.

Brendan Grady of Trinity was credited with the win; in two frames he allowed two runs on three hits with one strikeout.

The Starfires games scheduled for Thursday, June 6 at New Britain have been postponed due to weather concerns; the next scheduled game is the first of two in Vermont at the Lake Monsters on Saturday, June 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Westfield’s next home game will be Tuesday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m. against the Brockton Rox. Tickets for all home Starfires games are available at

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