By: AJ Fabbri
06/18/2018 11:09 PM
Coming into Monday night’s game, the Bristol Blues had played their way to an impressive 11-6 record despite their offense. The Blues sat at the bottom of the FCBL in most offensive categories, including batting average, slugging percentage, and extra base hits.
But the Bristol offense exploded under the lights at Muzzy Field Monday night, as the Blues powered past the league leading Martha’s Vineyard Sharks 13-6.
After the Sharks took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Blues responded in the second.
Sharks’ starter Matt Mikulski walked the bases loaded. Following a mound visit, Blues’ left fielder Ethan Hunt (U of Charleston) jumped on a first pitch fastball, driving it into center field. Justyn-Henry Malloy (Vanderbilt) and Peyton Stephens (CCSU) both scored, giving the Blues a 2-1 lead.
The top two teams in the FCBL would trade blows until the sixth, when the Blues used four straight hits to pull away.
Malloy, making his second start at third since arriving in Bristol over the weekend, started the rally with a double off the base off of the left field fence. While Malloy’s double traveled around 380 feet, Peyton Stephens’ single traveled about 20. The speedy right fielder dropped a bunt down the third base line for a base hit.
First baseman Matt Bonvicini then cranked a double into left, scoring Malloy and Stephens. Shortstop Alex Loparco dropped the deposited a fastball down the right field line, scoring Bonvicini. Loparco motored his way to third, coming around to score on a groundout from Hunt. The four run inning gave the Blues an commanding 8-2 lead.
That was more than enough for Bristol pitchers, who were able to keep the league’s best statistical offense at bay.
Starter Jared Kollar was masterful in five innings of work, allowing just two runs on three hits to the team that is tops in the FCBL in batting average, slugging percentage, home runs, and runs per game. Zachary Dionne and Kyle Haag maintained the Bristol lead throughout the final four innings.
The 13 runs scored and 13 hits for Bristol is a season high. For many in the Blues dugout, this signaled a shift in their offensive mentality.
“Honestly nothing was a physical adjustment. Everything was mental. It’s just a mental game when you’re on the field,” said Peyton Stephens, who finished the night with four runs scored.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Second baseman Ian Ostberg bumped his average back up over .300 with a 3-5 performance. Malloy finished 2-3 with three runs scored. Bonvicini drove in four runs on two hits. Hunt finished the day with three hits.
Bristol now improves to 12-6, 1.5 games behind the first place Sharks.
The Blues hit the road to take on Brockton tomorrow at 7 p.m.