Home field advantage: Nearly 4,000 supply Bees with much-needed edge in comeback win

Published on Tuesday, 5 July 2022 13:33
Written by Cameron Beall


NEW BRITAIN – With a crowd of 3,713 behind them, the New Britain Bees had a true home field advantage on Sunday night against the Worcester Bravehearts. Although the fireworks were planned for after the game, the Bees and those in attendance kicked off the festivities early with timely hits, solid pitching and an “electric” atmosphere from the crowd, according to manager Donnie McKillop and first baseman Colton Shaw.

“When the crowd gets going here it’s a blast,” McKillop said. “It’s a good vibe and a great environment for the guys to be playing in right now.”

The teams matched each other in the first five innings after solid starts from Brian Hart of the Bees and Clay Robbins of the Bravehearts before New Britain Stadium began to turn up the heat on the visitors. 

Worcester had only committed one error and took a 3-1 lead in the top of the sixth before things started to unravel. The Bravehearts committed five errors, allowed four walks, three hits and five runs over the final three innings. While the Bees have gotten used to comeback victories at this point, they’re giving a lot of credit to the crowd for their efforts in the win.

“It’s electric,” Shaw said. “You feel like you have to make something happen with the crowd behind you. They’re always cheering for us, so we have to play well having them behind us.”

The Bees, who sport one of the best defenses in the FCBL, saw first-hand the difference poor defense can have on a team – especially on the road. Shaw was the main beneficiary of the Bravehearts’ subpar defense on Sunday. In the sixth inning he reached base on an error, then came all the way around to score thanks to two more defensive miscues.

In his next at bat in the seventh, Joel Lara and Teddy Schoenfeld each reached base by way of a walk and advanced the second and third thanks to stolen bases and poor throws by the catcher. Shaw took advantage of the defensive lapse and roped a double into left field to break the game open for the Bees.

The crowd serenaded the Bravehearts with cheers and “let’s go Bees” chants that got louder with each mistake by the road team in the final three innings. Shaw has been in the shoes of the Bravehearts before and said it’s not a spot anybody enjoys being in.

“Being in that situation when you make an error in front of a big crowd for the other team it’s tough and can definitely be hard to rebound,” Shaw said. “We used that momentum to fuel us in the last few innings to get it done.”

Despite Lara and Schoenfeld coming close to being the heroes once again, Shaw was the one with the big hit on Sunday. This wasn’t something that surprised McKillop who has confidence that each player on the roster will be able to come up in big moments and push their team ahead.

“It just seems like every day it’s somebody different in the later innings that’s stepping up, having fun, and kicking ass for us,” McKillop said.

Shaw says the team mentality when stepping into the box at this point in the season is to grind out at bats and just make something happen.

The Bees will be home on Thursday and Friday for a set against Norwich Sea Unicorns. 

Posted in Newington Town Crier, New Britain Bees on Tuesday, 5 July 2022 13:33. Updated: Tuesday, 5 July 2022 13:36.