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 Worcester Tornadoes, an independent baseball team, announced on Friday that they’ve signed former Boston Red Sox and MLB slugger Jose Canseco to a one-year contract.
“From a baseball standpoint, we lost two of the best power hitters in our league. We lost Chris Colabello to the [Minnesota] Twins organization, we lost Mark Minicozzi to Quebec in our league, and that’s a serious drop off, that’s right-handed power hitting and Jose Canseco, why not give him a chance and see what he’s got,” Tornadoes GM Jorg Bassiacos saidon Friday morning. “If it helps sell a few tickets, there’s no harm in that either.”
Canseco, who hasn’t been involved with a Major League team since 2001, had originally planned to play in the Mexican League this spring, but those plans were derailed after he refused to take a doping test.
“He’s very excited [about the season]. He has a true appreciation for Boston, he has true appreciation for the fans of New England, who’re in his words, ‘savvy baseball people,’” added Bassicos. “If you perform, you’re going to be embraced, and I think that’s a very accurate statement.”
The former MLB slugger played 17 seasons in the big leagues, two of them with Boston, and ended his career with 1,877 hits, 1,407 RBIs, 462 home runs, and 340 doubles.
“The buzz has been palpable, the phones have been ringing off the hook here in the front office, and I think it’s great. I think it’s great for us, I think it helps us tell a great story,” said Bassicos.
“I think giving Jose an opportunity to showcase what he can do, as well as us an opportunity to tell a story of really turning this around is a good story.”
Canseco and the Tornadoes will begin their 2012 schedule at Newark on Thursday, May 17, and will play their home opener on Monday, May 21, against Quebec.
Worcester hasn’t won a CanAm League title since 2005, and will attempt to end their seven-year drought this season, too.
For more information on this particular acquisition – please check out the Tornadoes press releases by CLICKING HERE.