Friday night represented a new day for the Bridgeport Bluefish. The 'Fish, who put up a league-worst 22-48 record in the first half, had gotten off to a 5-2 start in the second half, and returned home in first place in the Liberty Division of the Atlantic League. And Bridgeport was sending a bona fide former major league star—Dontrelle Willis, the former National League Rookie of the Year nicknamed "D-Train" for his blazing fastball. But in the end, the 3,003 fans in attendance went home disappointed as the Somerset Patriots scored two runs off of Willis in the bottom of the first and never lost the lead, topping the Bluefish 6-1 at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard.
Indeed, Willis was responsible for allowing the first run when he allowed Somerset shortstop Jeff Dominguez to score on a wild pitch. Luis Montanez then knocked home Daryle Warde with an RBI single, and the Patriots never looked back.
The Bluefish came back with one run in the bottom of the first frame. After James Simmons poked a lead-off double, Dominguez bobbled a hot grounder by Bridgeport's J.R. Towles, allowing Simmons to score.
Tjhe Patriots added two runs in the top of the fifth inning compliments of a two-run double by Dominguez.
Willis went five innings, giving up four runs, all earned, on five hits. He struck out five batters and walked only one. Somerset starter Gary Moran picked up the win with seven strong innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits. Moran, who improved to 7-3 on the season, struck out nine batters and walked only one.
Bridgeport and Somerset will continue their four-game series on Saturday with a day-night, seperate admission doubleheader. The first game will start at 1 p.m., while first pitch for the second game is scheduled for 6 p.m.
The afternoon game will offer Bluefish T-Shirt Giveaway, with the first 500 fans through the turnstiles receiving official Bluefish T-Shirts. The nightcap will offer a fireworks show after the game. Saturday is also Barnum Publick House Saturday. Fans are invited to make their way over to Barnum Publick House for a meal anytime during the day. Each member of the dining party will receive a free ticket to the game by bringing a receipt to the game. After the second game, one of the Bluefish players will be a “guest bartender” at Barnum Public House. Good tickets are still available. For Game One tickets, click HERE. Tickets for the nightcap are available by clicking HERE.
On Sunday night, the Bluefish will engage the 28-time ASA National Champion Stratford Brakettes in an event billed as “The Battle of the Sexes.” The nine-inning contest will be played under fastpitch softball rules, and the Brakettes' outfield wall will be brought in just for the game. First pitch is slated for 7:30 p.m. All tickets are $10, and can be purchased at the Bluefish box office or by clicking HERE.