The final week of the Futures League has arrived. It’s looking like the Vermont Lake Monsters in their first year in the league, will be named regular-season champion. They enter the last week with a three-game winning streak and have won eight of their last ten games. This team has been good from start to finish this summer. Their record of 40-22 will tell you that. Credit should go to everybody who has been associated with this team. From the players to the coaching staff to the front office. They will have home-field advantage when the Futures League championship series gets started next week.
Who Vermont will play is still in question. The Pittsfield Suns at 36-24 have also been on a good run lately. They have won eight of ten to give them a two-game lead on the Brockton Rox who stands at 33-26. They also find themselves within three games back of the division leaders Vermont. These two teams will play each other twice during the final week of the season. The first meeting will take place on Thursday, Aug.12, then on the last day of the regular season Sunday, Aug.15 the two teams will play again. Both games will be played in Vermont. Meanwhile, Brockton will not play either Pittsfield or Vermont in the final days. Scoreboard watching will be a must while they try to take care of business against the rest of the league.
Cole Bartels of the Westfield Starfires looks to be this summer’s batting champion with a .380 average. He is also tied for the league lead in home runs with five, and in RBI with 33. Cole, who plays his college ball at Penn State in the Big-10, has been on fire over his last ten games. He has gone 17-for-35 in those games with six multi-hit games in this stretch. Surprisingly, of the 17 hits, 16 of them have been singles. The lone extra-base hit was a double on Aug.7 vs Brockton. His spray chart shows a right-handed hitter that likes to pull the ball. Hopefully, he can take this stroke back with him to Happy Valley for next spring.
Another Westfield Starfires player having a good summer with the bat is Jaden Brown. He is third in the league in hitting at .336 and tied for the lead in RBi with his teammate Cole Bartels at 33. His last ten games with the bat have been good as well, going 16-for-41 with three doubles and one home run. He has five multi-hit games, including a four-hit game on July 27 vs Pittsfield. The right-handed hitter from Iowa Western has shown an ability to spray the ball around which keeps the defense honest. His six stolen bases are a weapon as well.
On the mound, Jack Choate of the Worcester Bravehearts has had an interesting summer. His record of 2-4 with a 3.53 ERA may not jump out at you. However, his 77 strikeouts in 51 innings might. He has made 10 starts for the Bravehearts in which he has gone at least five innings in five of those starts. In four of those starts, he has fanned at least eight hitters reaching double-digits on June 25 vs Westfield. The Assumption College left-hander at times has been dominant on the hill.
Another pitcher having a fine summer is Kevin Setter of the New Britain Bees. He is third in ERA at 3.12 and fifth in strikeouts with 58. Kevin has been a workhorse for the Bees this season. He’s got ten starts made, seven of at least five innings long. The righty from Quinnipiac has taken the ball every time he has been asked. His 17 walks in 49 innings show a willingness to throw strikes that his defense and coaching staff really love. If he keeps attacking the strike zone next spring, the Bobcats will become big fans as well.
Next week we will look at the championship series in the Futures League.
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