WESTFIELD, Massachusetts (July 31, 2022) – The Westfield Starfires won their third straight Futures Collegiate Baseball League matchup Sunday afternoon, defeating the Nashua Silver Knights by run rule after seven innings, 13-0.
With the win, the Starfires inch one game closer to .500, sitting at 28-29 on the season. The team is in fourth place and holds the final playoff spot in the FCBL, two games ahead of both Norwich and Worcester with six to play.
The Starfires defense was the first to shine as Brendan Jones made a diving play in left field foul territory on the first pitch of the game to secure the first out. Two Silver Knights had a runner reach, but Jack Wentworth stole a run from right field, firing home to get Jack McDermott, who tried to score from second on a Shane McNamara single, keeping the score tied at zero through the opening frame.
In the second inning, the Starfires broke the tie when Wentworth reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second base, advanced to third on a ground out by Nathan Lincoln, and scored on a wild pitch. Patrick D’Amico, who walked to get on, came home to score on a single by Luca Giallongo, putting the Starfires up 2-0.
The fourth inning was once again the inning of wonder for the Starfires as they pushed seven runs across. Brian Norsen led off the inning with a single, followed by a Gunnar Johnson walk and a Wentworth single to load the bases. D’Amico then ripped a single to score Norsen and collect the Starfires third run of the day. Lincoln made his second sacrifice, this time collecting an RBI and scoring Johnson to make the score 4-0. With one out, Giallongo drew a walk but due to the fourth ball being a wild pitch, Wentworth was able to score from third. Jones then came through offensively, scoring two on a single to left field. Noah Campanelli followed, drawing a walk, before Jones and Campanelli came around to score on a double by Norsen, extending the Starfires lead to nine.
The offense did not stop, as the Starfires earned one more run in the fifth on a Jones sacrifice fly, and three runs in the sixth on a Wentworth RBI single and a D’Amico two run home run that just made it over the left field fence.
“I felt pretty confident…I just tried to see the ball at my first at-bat and then later on in my at-bats tried to get aggressive on the slider,” D’Amico said about his performance and battling back from an injury. “I was at 90% and tried to take it light…so it felt really good to be back,” D’Amico added.
Not only was the Starfires offense and defense dominant, but their pitching shut the door on the Silver Knights, holding the second-place team to four hits. Michael Aceto pitched the complete seven inning game, striking out three batters and earning his fifth win on the season. With the win, Aceto now holds the franchise record for most single season wins.
“I had my off-speed today… so I had to take advantage of it, spot all my pitches, mix in my fastball when I can, so just throw a lot of strikes, get a lot of outs, and do what I can,” Aceto said when asked how he felt on the mound.
Aceto also praised his offense and defense, acknowledging them when talking about his new franchise record. “There’s been a lot of games where I’ve given up a little more runs than I should… but the offense has had my back all season, so I have to give them a lot of credit,” Aceto said. “[The defense and offense] give me the most confidence I can have on the mound which makes me feel like I can throw every pitch for a strike, rely on my defense, and wait for contact.”
Following an off day tomorrow, the Starfires will return to Bullens Field on Tuesday for the final week of the regular season, facing the Brockton Rox for the first of two matchups this week. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
For the latest on the team, be sure to follow the Starfires on Twitter and Instagram @starfiresbb, and visit us on the web at westfieldstarfires.com.