WORCESTER, MA – On Wednesday, the Worcester Tornadoes concluded their three-game series with the Grand Prairie AirHogs with a 4-3 loss. The game marked the end of their six-game home stand, which featured three games against the Newark Bears.
The Tornadoes are now 1-2 in interleague play against the American Association, and will return to the diamond on Friday when they travel to Texas to face Laredo.
Here are three takeaways from their last three contests against the AirHogs.
1.) Grand Prairie’s Excellent Bullpen: On Tuesday and Wednesday, the AirHogs relied on their various relievers to earn two critical road wins. And while they had to rally to secure leads, which they never relinquished, their bullpen arms halted Worcester’s offense with eight strikeouts and one earned run.
2.) The Edmonson-Trezza Offensive Connection: Despite only earning one win in a span of three days, Worcester’s offense relied on veterans Jerod Edmonson and Alex Trezza. Both players combined for 11 hits, seven RBIs, five runs, five doubles and one home run against the AirHogs, but that still didn’t help the Tornadoes during their final two games against Grand Prairie.
3.) Nunez Loses Fire: It’s very easy to state that Alex Nunez has been the spark of the Tornadoes offense, especially over the past few days. Yet, against the AirHogs on Wednesday, he struggled at the dish. He stepped up to the plate four times, but didn’t manage to muster a hit or run or RBI. Nunez hasn’t experienced a day with the Tornadoes where he hasn’t produced, so it’ll certainly be interesting to see how he responds on Friday.
WORCESTER, MA – The Worcester Tornadoes concluded their three-game weekend series with the Newark Bears on Sunday with an 8-4 loss, which snapped a two-game winning streak.
On Monday, Worcester will return to their home diamond against the Grand Prairie AirHogs, (American Association of Independent Baseball) for a 7:05PM first pitch.
Here are three takeaways from this past weekend’s series against the Bears.
1.) Bicondoa’s Earns His First Win: Pitcher Ryan Bicondoa had pitched in five games prior to Friday’s contest, and hadn’t mustered one win. He had averaged 5.2 innings on the bump, allowed 21 earned runs, and tallied three consecutive losses, (which started on June 1 against the New Jersey Jackals).
Against the Bears at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field on Friday, the right-hander controlled the contest by fanning 12 batters and allowing two runs on three hits in eight innings. Worcester’s offense complimented his performance with three runs, which helped Bicondoa earn his first win.
In his first two starts this season against Quebec and Rockland, he was off the hook for a win or loss. Although, he did manage to hold both clubs to six earned runs combined, as well as 10 hits, but his performance didn’t translate over to the offense, as Worcester lost both matches.
2.) Saturday’s Fireworks: It’s customary that after every Friday home game, Tornadoes fans are treated to the Awesome Atlas Fireworks show. And while there was an exciting show following Friday’s win, fans were able to enjoy an encore on Saturday, as both teams combined for 23 runs, 35 hits, 19 strikeouts, and five errors in 10 innings.
Worcester’s offense displayed some offensive fireworks, as Alex Trezzasmacked two home runs, while Nick Salottirecorded the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning.
3.) Struggling Bullpen: One thing that manager Chip Plante will need to work on, especially if the Tornadoes want to clinch a spot in the CanAm League playoffs, is the Tornadoes bullpen.
Hands down, Nick Serinohas been the most consistent reliever this season. He has the team’s lowest ERA, (2.57); recorded two saves, and retired 16 batters.
Yet, against the Bears, Serino mustered one save and one win, while Kyle Regnaultand Matt McDonaldstruggled on Sunday. Regnault replaced Kevin Cooperin the eighth inning and surrendered four earned runs on six hits, while McDonald allowed one hit during 1.1 innings of relief.
‘Three Outs’ will be a frequent blog entry geared toward recapping and providing highlights from various summer baseball games in Massachusetts.
WORCESTER, MA – Against the Quebec Capitales on Tuesday afternoon, Worcester’s Johnny Welchrecorded two hits, two home runs and three RBIs, which lifted the Tornadoes to their ninth win of the season.
“We had to win [on Tuesday afternoon],” said Welch. “We’ve all got to start hitting, [and I think] we’re all starting to figure it out, but once we get rolling I think we’ll be alright.”
Welch has been the spark the Tornadoes have needed this season. The Medford native has recorded 25 hits, four doubles, seven home runs and 15 RBIs, and certainly hasn’t disappointed.
Noontime Sports caught up with the former Boston Herald All-Scholastic on Tuesday to talk about the season thus far, as well as his high school and college playing days.
On playing at Malden Catholic: “Just making varsity [was one of my fondest memories]. It was huge. That first year we had a great team, but just having the older guys taking me under their wing was a big thing for me.”
On his junior and senior year mentality with the Lancers: “My senior year, I was a captain, but the other years I knew I was going to hit in the middle of the lineup, so I had to do well. We had a great team, and I just happened to get good hits, I guess.”
On not being recruited to play college baseball: “I really didn’t get recruited [to play] anywhere, but [Saint Anselm College] was there, and coach [Ken Harring] at the time saw me, and he told me I could play every day up there as long as I had the grades, and I got in and played.”
On majoring in criminal justice: “Going [to St. A’s] I knew the school was tough, but just didn’t know what I wanted to do with my major, and I happened to take some courses and I fell in love with it, [and] just rode it out.”
On dealing with injuries at St. A’s: “I missed my junior year, but every other year during the offseason, I seemed to have [various] surgeries, but I kept going back and playing. In the offseason it was rough, but in the season I played, so I’ve had a bunch, but they seem to be holding off right now. I had [offseason surgery on] my shoulder, elbow, wrist, I’ve had a bunch.”
On not being drafted in high school or college: “The whole thing [going to St. A’s] was it was a wood bat conference, so I knew I was going to play every day, and hopefully I had numbers for someone to give me a shot. My senior year, I had a great year and I didn’t know if I was going to be picked up or not, and I didn’t, so I happened to try out for [an independent baseball team] and someone saw me. I really didn’t talk to anybody [about the MLB draft]. In high school, I didn’t think much of it. I was a little shorter, didn’t really run as well, so I didn’t think anything of it. In college, we had a guy drafted the year before [I arrived], so I thought maybe I might get a shot, but it didn’t work out.”
On his first year playing Independent Baseball: “I really didn’t know too much about Indy ball. I had a buddy who played, and I knew he was pretty legit, so when I got to Brockton I knew it was the real deal. Pitching is better, guys are older and know what they’re doing, and then I got released and North Shore picked me up and I learned a lot from those guys [on the Spirit]. They helped me out a ton.”
On his success in the Frontier League: “I got to play every day. My manager told me, ‘you’re going to play every day, so it is what it is, figure it out.’ So by seeing pitches and being there and kind of getting that chance [was what helped me succeed with the Florence Freedom]. I finally got the opportunity to play every day, and it paid off.”
On playing with the Pittsfield Colonials: “I knew a few of the guys, and we had an awesome team last season. I actually liked playing [at Wahconah Park]. I loved hitting there, [and] the atmosphere was a little different [compared to Worcester], but I loved playing there and hitting there, too.”
On being signed by the Tornadoes: “It was huge. When we went into the draft, [due to the Colonials folding] I didn’t know what was going to happen with the whole team, they wanted to keep us together, but it didn’t work out. I’m glad Worcester picked me up, [and] I knew I was going to play every day, so I just wanted to get that opportunity again.”
On his success with the Tornadoes thus far: “I’m not really sure. [On Monday] I struggled, the day before I struggled, [but on Tuesday afternoon] I just told myself to see the ball and try to hit it. And finally, I actually made some contact, got some balls out [of the park]. I’m just trying to relax, and not trying to do too much [at the plate].”
On his pre-game ritual: “I get ready early, put some red hot on, and try to get out [to the field] early and stretch.”
On what songs gets him pumped for games: “I love techno, [some] deadmau5, [and] some Tiesto to get me fired up.”
On being able to play baseball in Massachusetts: “It’s great, especially for my family. When I was out in Kentucky it was tough for them to get out there, but now if people want to come see me they can, [so] it’s good to be near home, it makes you feel safer.”
The first few weeks of the Worcester Tornadoes season is officially in the books.
The local independent baseball squad concluded its most recent six-game home stand with three wins and three losses. Yet, despite a few excruciating contests against Newark and New Jersey, fans were able to enjoy a few exciting home runs on Sunday afternoon by the former Boston Herald All-Scholastic Johnny Welch.
Welch, who is in his first season with the Tornadoes, has appeared in 14 games thus far and has recorded 12 runs, 17 hits, four doubles, four home runs and nine RBIs. He’s also tallied one stolen base and 13 strikeouts, too.
Last season, Welch joined the CanAm League with the Pittsfield Colonials, who’re no longer in existence, and appeared in 69 games. He experienced one of his better seasons at the dish, as he registered 15 home runs, 45 RBIs and seven stolen bases.
Welch’s best season in a Minor League setting was with the Florence Freedom in 2010, a member of the Frontier League, where finished the year with 93 hits, 13 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs and 46 RBIs.