Playoff Preview: Brockton vs. Nashua

The 2012 Futures Collegiate Baseball League playoff picture is set. The match-ups have been determined and this Friday, your Brockton Rox will take on the first place Nashua Silver Knights at Campanelli Stadium for the first of a best-of-three series.  This season, the Rox are 0-5 against the Silver Knights, however, all five games were decided by only one run. 

The first of the five contests took place on June 12th at Nashua where the Silver Knights won a defensive struggle, 2-1, by way of a walk off single from Logan Gillis (Bentley).  Then Rox went down early in second inning, 1-0, when Nashua’s first baseman Chris Shaw (Boston College) blasted a solo home run. The score held for seven innings until the top of the ninth, when Cohasset’s Rob McCunney (Fordham) tied the game with an RBI single. McCunney went 3-for-4 on the day with the only RBI for the Rox. 

The second meeting between the two teams took place June 21st at Nashua. East Bridgewater’s Greg Baggett (Bentley) went 2-for-3 with three RBI’s and a run including a two run single. For most of the game the Brockton bats were in full swing. The Rox held a 7-4 lead until the bottom of the seventh, when Nashua scored four runs, highlighted Shaw’s fourth home run of the season and a two run double from Gillis, which made the score, 8-7, late in the game.

On July 9th, the third meeting between these two teams took place in Nashua again. Nashua won 3-2 in 12 innings to improve to their win streak to 13 games at the time.  The Rox pitching staff battled hard, keeping Nashua’s bats quiet.  Chris Kalica (Fairfield) went four scoreless innings before letting up a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth. Kalica went six innings with seven strikeouts, no walks and only one earned run.  In 12 innings, the Rox pitching staff only surrendered two earned runs and only walked two.  Offensively, the Rox rallied in the seventh to pull within one run when Mansfield’s Rhett Wiseman (Vanderbilt) roped an RBI double to plate Nick Colucci (Boston College) and made it, 2-1. Then in the ninth, Colucci scored again from second to send the game to extra innings, where the Silver Knights outlasted the Rox. 

The fourth meeting between Nashua and Brockton took place six days later on July 15th at Campanelli Stadium. Despite a heroic effort from Norton native Sean Ryan (Wheaton), who got on base in all five of his plate appearances, the Rox fell 2-1. The Rox pitching staff once again kept the Nashua bats silent, holding them scoreless through five innings until Nashua rallied for two runs in the top of the sixth.

The fifth and most recent contest between these two teams took place on July 18th at Campanelli Stadium.  The Rox jumped out to a 2-1 lead thanks to an RBI single in the first inning from Vito Perna (Southeastern Louisiana) that scored Ryan and a second inning RBI groundout from Luis Gonzalez (Concordia) that scored Baggett.  However, after a leadoff walk from Gillis opened the fifth inning, Katsiroubas launched an RBI double into the right-center field gap that plated Gillis and tied the game. Moments later, Jon Minucci (Southern New Hampshire) belted a one-out single to center field to score Katsiroubas and give the visitors a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

QUICK FACTS: BROCKTON vs. NASHUA

-Sean Ryan batting average against Nashua is .500 in 14 at bats with one RBI and two runs scored and a slugging percentage of .571

-Greg Baggett is batting .316 against Nashua with three RBIs. He has yet to hit a homerun against Nashua despite having seven home runs on the season, good for fourth best in the league

-Rob McCunney is batting .375 in eight at bats with one RBI against Nashua.

-Michael Romano has pitched six innings against Nashua without letting up an earned run as a relief pitcher

-Vito Perna and Craig LeJeune (George Washington) combined for five innings pitched without letting up an earned run against Nashua as relief pitchers.

-Joe Fasano has faced Nashua the most on the current Rox roster starting twice and pitching nine innings. He has a 4.00 ERA and is 0-1, however has a 2.24 ERA against all teams other than Nashua.

-Brockton has not hit a homerun against Nashua.

-Brockton has lost every game by only one run including two walk off losses and one extra inning loss.

-Brockton is hitting just .218 against Nashua.

-Brockton has a .291 ERA against Nashua.

-Brockton has 39 hits compared to Nashua’s 43 hits in the season series.

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Baggett Earns Player of the Week Honors

Brockton is on fire, winning seven out of their last 10, and East Bridgewater’s Greg Baggett (Bentley) is a big reason why. The catcher was 9-for-31 (.290) on the week with six runs scored, however, when Baggett connected he inflicted damage on the opposing team. Of his nine hits on the week, the All-Star had two doubles and four home runs to go along with eight runs driven in. His best night came on Friday, August 3rd when in the second game of a doubleheader with the Seacoast Mavericks at Leary Field in Portsmouth, NH, he blasted two homers en route to propelling the Rox to a 7-4 victory. Baggett is now hitting .304 with 13 doubles and seven home runs, which ties him for 4th most in the league. He’s also added 34 RBIs and has been, in conjunction with teammate Sean Ryan (Wheaton College), the offensive force for the Rox this season.

This past spring for the Falcons, Baggett played in 45 games and hit .294 with eight homeruns and 32 runs batted in. His eight homeruns were the most on the team.

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Sheehan Continues to Baffle Opponents

John Sheehan (William and Mary) has been on quite the tear as of late. The right-handed relief pitcher for the Brockton Rox has emerged as one of the top bullpen arms in the FCBL and is ranked second in the league in wins with six victories to go along with a team-high three saves on the year. Not only has the Westwood native struck out 43 batters in 32 innings, but he has walked just nine along the way. His 43 K’s ranks second on the team, while he leads the squad by mile with the six W’s.

However, nothing compares to what Sheehan has done since July 24th. After surrendering one unearned run on four hits in 2.1 innings of work against the Pittsfield Suns on that Tuesday night before the All-Star break, the flame-throwing reliever has literally been perfect. As remarkable as it sounds, it’s the truth. John Sheehan has faced 29 batters since the All-Star break, and all 29 have been sent back to the dugout. No walks, no hits, no errors; just perfection.

Over the span of five appearances, Sheehan has faced the minimum in each outing. On July 27th against Martha’s Vineyard, Sheehan struck out five of the six batters he faced in two flawless innings. On July 29th against the Sharks once again, Sheehan fanned three in 1.2 innings of work, without allowing a single base-runner. After working a perfect ninth to earn the save against Old Orchard Beach on August 2nd, Sheehan struck out three in two perfect innings to pick up the win against Seacoast on August 3rd. Then, to cap off the run, Sheehan retired all nine batters he faced in order against the Torrington Titans on August 5th to earn three inning save, racking up five K’s along the way.

Only time will tell if Sheehan can keep up this miraculous streak, but it’s definitely safe to say that Brockton’s bullpen has been among the best in the league. Kyle Capaldo (Fairfield), Sal Minichino (Concordia), and Brendan Doonan (Rhode Island) have all been outstanding for the Rox; but it’s John Sheehan who sets the tone for this group of lock-down relievers.

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John Sheehan Named FCBL Pitcher of the Week

The hard-throwing reliever for Brockton was especially dominant this past week appearing in three games and recording two wins out of the bullpen for the Rox. The right-hander from William and Mary tossed six innings on the week while going 2-0 with 11 strikeouts. Sheehan also surrendered just four hits and did not give up a walk in his time out of the bullpen. Sheehan was not selected for the All-Star Game this past week, but was elected to throw in front of scouts as a part of the Scout Day portion of the All-Star Game. Sheehan is having a great year for Brockton, as he is 5-1 on the season with a 1.73 ERA in 26.0 innings pitched. The Westwood High product has also struck out 34 while walking 9 and giving up 23 hits.

Sheehan appeared in seven games this past spring for William and Marry, compiling an ERA of 5.79. Sheehan looks poised to grab a spot at the back end of the bullpen next spring after his tremendous summer in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. Image

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The Rox Press Box 2012 FCBL First Half All-Stars: Hitters

We’re now going to take a look at some of the best batters and fielders the Future’s Collegiate Baseball League has had to offer the first half of the 2012 season. We have put together a list of the best players at each position around the league (in our most humble of humble opinions, of course).

            The Futures League is full of big bats and fantastic fielders this summer.  There are countless position battles and tough decisions to make when determining this dream team.  However, here is a position by position list of what we think the FCBL First Half All-Star offense would look like.

Catcher: Ryan Plourde (Fairfield) – Torrington

Plourde has played in every game so far this year for the Titans while maintaining a very respectable .315 batting average, making him the most durable and one of the most consistent catchers in the FCBL.  He among the league leaders in both home runs (4) and RBIs (25).  His four home runs and 10 doubles have led to an impressive .532 slugging percentage.    

Honorable Mention: Brendan Slattery (Manhattan) – Pittsfield, Patrick Raley (Charlotte) – North Shore

First Base: Chris Shaw (Boston College) – Nashua

The Lexington native has been a monster at the plate this summer hitting seven home runs while leading the league in RBIs with 31. Shaw is batting a cool .294, though it’s his power that makes him so deadly, as he is slugging .548 on the season thus far.  One of the more memorable moments this year for Shaw was his grand slam against the Mavericks in the seventh inning a few days ago to give the Silver Knights an 8-2 lead and his 31st RBI of the season.

Honorable Mention: Karl Kapinos (Holyoke C.C.) – Martha’s Vineyard, Jordan Berry (George Washington) – Brockton

Second Base: Logan Gillis (Bentley) – Nashua

Part of a deadly Silver Knights’ infield, Gillis has been by far the strongest second baseman all year. He has a strong showing in every statistical category, batting .356, with 24 RBIs.  Gillis also has a .440 on base percentage while slugging .474.  Pitchers may want to consider walking Gillis with ducks on the pond because he is batting .404 with 19 RBIs with runners on base and .438 with runners in scoring position.

Honorable Mention: Andrew Harris (Vanderbilt) – North Shore, Tanner Reibenspies (San Diego State) – Brockton

Third Base: Anyelo Roman (Dakota State) – Seacoast

Roman has come up in the clutch time and time again for the Mavericks.  His respectable .301 batting average does not do justice to the season he has had for the Mavericks this summer.  Roman first showed signs of the clutch gene June 14th against the Brockton Rox in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied, blasting the first of a league best eight homeruns to win the game.  Since then he has found his groove hitting 30 RBIs on 31 hits. He is versatile as well, as he has pitched five innings with two strike outs and no runs on the season for the Mavericks.

Honorable Mention: Vito Perna (Southeastern Louisiana) – Brockton, James Katsiroubas (UMass-Lowell) – Nashua

Shortstop: Eric Jensen (Wheaton) – Martha’s Vineyard

Eric Jensen has been solid all around, in the field and at the plate.  His fielding percentage is at .925 with 74 assists while batting an incredible .366 to go along with a .414 on base percentage. Jensen has proven he has jets as well stealing nine bases. Most recently, he went 3-for-3 with three RBIs against Old Orchard Beach on July 17th in a 6-0 win.

Honorable Mention: Rob McCunney (Fordham) – Brockton, Jason Vosler (Northeastern) – Old Orchard Beach

Center Field: Sean Ryan (Wheaton) – Brockton

The Norton native has been Brockton’s sparkplug all summer long.  Ryan is batting a staggering .381, which is good for second in the league. He has kept his errors down to only three while knocking in 19 RBIs and stealing 13 bases.  In a 14-13 win over the Sun’s on June 24th, Ryan went 4-for-6 with two triples and two RBIs and played a large contribution in the Rox win, a theme that has been consistent in all of Brockton’s victories this season.

Honorable Mention: Tad Gold (Endicott) – Martha’s Vineyard, Tony Serino (UMass-Amherst) – North Shore

Right Field: Conor Bierfeldt (Western Connecticut) – Torrington

Bierfeldt is tied for second in the FCBL in homeruns with seven, while his .358 batting average makes him among the most prolific batters in the league. He has also notched 26 RBIs so far this season to go along with 34 hits.

Honorable Mention: Jimmy Ricoy (UMass-Lowell) – Pittsfield, Bryan Langlois (Pepperdine) – Old Orchard Beach

Left Field: Kevin Stenhouse (Rhode Island) – Seacoast

Stenhouse boasts the league’s highest batting average with an eye-popping .425 average.  His true talent is his ability to get on base with a .515 on base percentage helped in part by his 21 walks. Not only did he string together a 17-game hitting streak and a 25-game on base streak,  but he also ranks in the top five for home runs on the year with five.

Honorable Mention: Tim Hendricks (Benedictine) – North Shore, Ryan Deitrich (Penn) – Pittsfield

Designated Hitter: Greg Baggett (Bentley) – Brockton

The catcher/designated hitter for the Brockton Rox has been a frightening force for pitchers to face. He is batting .310 with 21 RBIs on the season and has been a powerful cleanup hitter for the Rox. Baggett has 14 extra base hits on the season including three home runs and three triples.  In an 11-7 victory over Martha’s Vineyard, Baggett was the difference-maker as he went 4-for-6 with 5 RBIs and two runs scored, including a home run.

Honorable Mention: Jon Minucci (Southern New Hampshire) – Nashua, Matt Verrier (Southern Maine) – Old Orchard Beach

 

The Rox Press Box 2012 FCBL First Half All-Stars: Pitchers

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The Rox Press Box 2012 FCBL First Half All-Stars: Pitchers

As the second half of the 2012 Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) season gets underway, it’s time to take a look back at the top pitchers of the first half. The FCBL will be holding its first-ever All-Star game at Historic Holman Stadium in Nashua on Thursday, July 26th, but we felt that it was time to take an early look at which players have stood above the rest so far this summer (in our humble opinion, of course).

With so many outstanding aces to choose from, selecting a mid-season FCBL All-Star pitching squad was extremely tough. The Brockton Rox, for example, have gotten gutsy performances from young guns like Joe Fasano and Jonathan Rosenberger all year long. However, as consistent as these guys have been, they haven’t nearly been as dominant as some of the league’s best starters. Simply put, the Futures League is loaded with quality arms. So without further ado, here’s our list of the league’s top hurlers. Keep in mind these aren’t the official FCBL All-Stars, rather just a speculative look at who has been the best of the best so far in 2012. (All statistics as of July 17th)

STARTING ROTATION

Christopher Good (New Mexico) – Nashua Good has been arguably the top pitcher in the FCBL so far in 2012, as he has yet to surrender an earned run since his first start of the season on June 9th. Thus far, the southpaw has started six games with a 5-0 record and a 0.24 ERA, best in the league. Along the way he has racked up 24 strikeouts compared to just nine walks. Opponents are batting just .163 against the Texas native.

Mike Bradstreet (Rhode Island) – Martha’s Vineyard Bradstreet has proven that he may have the most stamina of any pitcher in the FCBL. On three separate occasions, he has pitched eight full innings, while on June 27th Bradstreet pitched a complete game, giving up just one earned run.  On the season he is 5-0 with a 1.28 ERA through 42.1 innings. The right-hander from URI has also chalked up 36 strikeouts compared to only four walks, while opponents have mustered a paltry .152 batting average against.

Tyler Dierke (Kenyon) – Torrington The right handed pitcher from Wisconsin has posted impressive numbers all season long for the Titans. Dierke is 4-1 in six starts with a staggering 0.68 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .178 against him, while he hasn’t allowed a single run in five of his six starts this season. He has also notched 32 strikeouts compared to just seven walks.

Alec Palioca (Wheaton) – Torrington Along with Dierke, Palioca has been the other half of Torrington’s two-headed monster on the mound. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 0.93 ERA in 38.2 innings of work, while the Wrentham, Mass. native has registered 37 strikeouts and just 10 walks.

Alek Morency (Merrimack) – Nashua Morency is another reason why the Nashua Silver Knights boast the league’s top pitching staff, as he has posted a 4-0 record on the season to go along with a 1.19 ERA. The right-hander has struck out 32, while walking 12 in 30.1 innings on the hill.

Honorable Mention:

Ryan Brockett (St. Mary’s) – Martha’s Vineyard
Kyle Bobolts (Oakland) – Seacoast
Joe Fasano (NJIT) – Brockton
Donald Hissa (Notre Dame) – Seacoast
Jonathan Rosenberger (Newberry) – Brockton
Oliver Van Zant (Bowdoin) – Old Orchard Beach

BULLPEN

Matt Doyle (Harvard) – Martha’s Vineyard The right-hander has stymied opponents all season long as a core member of Martha’s Vineyard’s bullpen.  The Virginia native boasts a pristine 0.37 ERA to go along with a 3-0 record, while striking out 21 and walking just nine. Doyle went six straight appearances without surrendering a run, which came on June 13th against Wachusett.

Corey Stump (Florida) – North Shore Coming out of the bullpen, the southpaw from Florida has been clutch all season long for the Navigators. Stump is 2-0 with a 0.77 ERA in 23.1 innings of relief, while holding opponents to just a .127 batting average against. In six appearances, the long reliever has fanned 18 while walking just four.

Henry Van Zant (Bowdoin) – Old Orchard Beach One of the top power pitchers in the FCBL, Van Zant has struck out a league-leading 41 strikeouts, while conceding just five walks in 22.2 innings. The right-hander is 2-0 with a league-high seven saves to go along with a 0.79 ERA and a .152 batting average against.

Honorable Mention:
Crayton Bare (Baylor) – North Shore
Brendan Doonan (Rhode Island) – Brockton
Bryan Menduke (Bryant) – Wachusett
Michael Meszoros (Keystone) – Pittsfield
Matt Olsen (Stonehill) – Nashua
Cody Rocha (Assumption) – Nashua

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Rox Well Represented Among League Leaders

Statistics as of July 16, 2012

Sean Ryan (Wheaton)
1st – Triples (4)
2nd – Batting Average (.381)
3rd – Hits (37)
5th – Stolen Bases (12)
5th – On-Base Percentage (.419)

Greg Baggett (Bentley)
2nd – Triples (3)
T-3rd – Extra-Base Hits (14)
4th – Slugging Percentage (.570)
5th – RBIs (23)
T-5th – Doubles (8)
8th – Batting Average (.323)
T-10th – Home Runs (3)

Vito Perna (Southeastern Louisiana)
T-8th – Strikeouts (29)
9th – Batting Average (.320)

Rob McCunney (Fordham)
10th – Batting Average (.316)
T-10th – Home Runs (3)

Jordan Berry (George Washington)
T-7th – Home Runs (4)

Tanner Reibenspies (San Diego State)
T-8th – Walks (16)

Rhett Wiseman (Vanderbilt)
T-7th – Stolen Bases (9)

Joe Fasano (NJIT)
8th – ERA (1.29)

Jonathan Rosenberger (Newberry)
7th – Batting Average Against (.197)
10th – ERA (1.72)

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