WORCESTER, MA — The Lake Monsters are headed to the Futures League Championship series after Vermont scored three times in the top of the first inning and held on for a 4-3 victory over the Worcester Bravehearts and a sweep of the best-of-three semifinal series Sunday evening at Fitton Field.
The first five Lake Monster batters of the game reach base safely to give Vermont a quick 3-0 lead. Tyler Favretto (Crowder College) led off the game with a double followed by a walk and hit batter to load the bases. Colby Brouillette (BFA-St. Albans/Clarkson) then walked to force home the first run and Brian Schuab (Trinity) followed with a two-run single to right.
Bravehearts starter Max LeBlanc got out of further trouble with a double play and groundout to keep Vermont lead at three. Worcester cut the deficit to 3-2 with a pair of runs on four singles in the bottom of the third off Lake Monsters starter Patrick Harrington (Assumption).
Harrington, who was recently named the FCBL Pitcher of the Year, went six-plus innings with the two runs allowed on seven hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. He was helped out by a F8-3 double play in the first and a L6-3 double play in the sixth. Including the regular-season and semifinal start, he had 79 strikeouts over 68 innings in 13 appearances for Vermont this summer.
Dennis Colleran came on to pitch for Worcester in the second and shut down the Lake Monsters until the sixth inning when wildness led to a Vermont run on a one-out walk, Andrew Bergeron (Georgetown) single and walk before a two-out bases loaded walk to Zach Landry (Worcester State) for a 4-2 Lake Monsters advantage.
After a Worcester leadoff single bottom of seventh, Chris Clark came on in relief of Harrington and got out of the inning with two infield pop ups sandwiched around a strikeout. The Bravehearts did score an unearned run in the eighth on a leadoff error and one-out Gavin Noriega RBI double, but Clark and Will Hesslink (Rice/Boston College) kept the tying run at second with back-to-back strikeouts
Wyatt Cameron (Middlebury/New England College) gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth, but then earned the save as he got a pop up to second, called third strike and groundout to send Vermont to the FCBL finals in its first season in the Futures League.
Schuab went 2-for-3 with a walk, run and the first-inning two-run single, while Brouillette was 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to nine straight games. Colleran gave up one run on three hits and four strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings for Worcester, but also walked five Lake Monsters.
Game one of the FCBL Championship series will begin 7:05pm Tuesday at historic Centennial Field vs. either Pittsfield or Brockton, who will meet in game three of their semifinal series Monday in Pittsfield after the Suns evened the series 1-1 Sunday with a 6-5 win at Brockton. Tickets for Tuesday’s game are on sale 24/7 now by clicking here and/or in person/phone (802-655-6611) at Centennial Ticket office 12-5 Monday and starting at noon Tuesday.