Starfires Complete Sweep of Lake Monsters, Extend FCBL Lead

Box Score

BURLINGTON, Vermont (July 7, 2024) – For the first time in franchise history, the Westfield Starfires swept a two-game series against the Vermont Lake Monsters, taking a 6-2 victory at Centennial Field to complete the weekend.

The Starfires, now 21-12-1, gained ground on the Norwich Sea Unicorns, who fell 13-8 to the Nashua Silver Knights, and lead the FCBL by three points.  

Both teams had chances in the first three innings, but neither Cedarville University sophomore Sam Formus nor American International College’s Hayden Mutz allowed runners to cross the plate; Mutz was able to get Washington State University’s Trey Cruz swinging in the first after Westfield connected for back-to-back two-out hits, while Formus did the same to Vermont’s leadoff man, Tyler Favretto, in his second plate appearance of the game in the second.

The Starfires scored the game’s first runs in the fourth; Kansas State University’s Chandler Murray and Cruz both singled, and Bryant University’s Cameron Papetti walked to pack the bags. Two batters later, University of Louisiana-Lafayette slugger Luke Yuhasz whacked a 1-0 single to center, scoring Murray and Cruz.

Vermont answered back quickly, with a Chone James walk and a Jackson Sirois double down the left field line that scored James. Manager Paul Bonfiglio went to the bullpen, calling on Keene State University’s Jake Jachym, and while the reliever did not allow a hit in the inning, a groundout and a flyout advanced Sirois home to tie the game.

In the fifth, Boston College’s Julio Solier worked a four-pitch leadoff walk; he was replaced on the bases by Central Connecticut State University’s Aidan Redahan after a groundout retired Solier at second. Hofstra University’s Luke Masiuk then singled, and Murray followed with another hit to score Redahan and put Westfield back on top.

That began a distinct pattern, as the Starfires added runs in each of the next three innings as well. In the sixth, a Solier groundout scored Central Connecticut’s Jackson Haker, who had led off the inning with a single. In the seventh, Masiuk doubled and Murray followed with an RBI single. In the eighth, Haker and Yuhasz walked, and Haker came home on back-to-back wild pitches.

“I’m just so proud of our guys, they played really hard and were really focused this weekend, and we got great pitching…it’s a total organizational effort,” Bonfiglio said. He added, “There have been times where we’ve had great pitching and our offense kind of stalled, but today was kind of a breakthrough…to just produce some offense was important.”

Meanwhile, Jachym mowed down the opposition. He scattered three hits and a walk across six fantastic innings of relief, putting an exclamation point on the win with a 1-2-3 ninth frame.

“It felt good. I was happy to be out there. Tried to throw strikes, and the defense made plays,” Jachym said. “It’s been drilled into me at school – three pitches or less every batter,” he added.

“He was lined up to pitch on Tuesday and he kept on bugging me the last three days of this week here…his stuff today was good; he was able to pitch it to both sides of the plate, control and command to both righties and lefties,” Bonfiglio said of his pitcher.

The Starfires close the six-game road swing on Tuesday, July 9 with an 11:00 a.m. contest at the New Britain Bees before returning to Bullens Field on Wednesday, July 10 and Thursday, July 11, for back-to-back 6:30 p.m. starts against the Brockton Rox.

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