BRISTOL - The Bristol Bluesâ€™ chances to win an FCBL championship have taken a steep hit in the last few days with the release of three All-Stars.
Parker Upton, a switch-hitting outfielder who produced some of the best numbers in the Big East conference during his junior season at Creighton, was released on Thursday.
Upton came to the Blues while battling a hamstring injury and chose to end his summer early.Â
He signed with the Blues in the fall, but did not arrive with the team until June 21 as an opportunity to join the Cape Cod League was on the horizon. That opportunity went by the wayside and Upton came to Bristol, where his reputation earned him an All-Star nod despite hitting just .265 with two home runs, eight RBI and 15 runs scored in 13 games.
Relief pitchers Will Nowak and Dom Niman were both released on Saturday after each was dealing with an elbow injury.
Nowak is a right-handed relief pitcher who earned a reputation as arguably the leagueâ€™s best closer. Nowak was lights out during his time with the Blues, sporting a 1-1 record with eight saves, a 1.28 ERA, 29 strikeouts, two walks and just three runs (two earned) on four hits in 14 innings.Â
He will head back to the University of Hartford in the fall, where he will look to build on his freshman season, in which he went 6-2 with seven saves, a 2.06 ERA, 34 strikeouts and 16 walks.Â
Niman, a left-hander from CCSU, went 5-1 as a middle reliever, finishing the summer with a 4.19 ERA, 19 strikeouts and 13 walks in 19â…“ innings. Niman is a redshirt freshman at Central.Â
The Blues have not yet replaced Upton in the outfield, but Christian Beal projects to be the one seeing the bulk of the starts the rest of the summer in place of Upton.
Beal, a right-handed hitter who was on the final fan vote ballot for the All-Star Game, has gone 2-for-6 with a double, an RBI and a run scored in two starts since the All-Star break.Â
Helping to replace the production lost from Nowak and Niman, the Blues on Saturday signed pitchers Peyton Stephens and Reed Pegram.Â
Stephens is an outfielder/pitcher at CCSU who played for the Blues last summer, making his way to the final fan vote ballot as a position player. He finished with a .250 average, one home run, seven doubles, 19 RBI, 21 runs scored and seven stolen bases.
Stephens, however, is expected to be used primarily as a pitcher for the rest of the Bluesâ€™ season. On the mound last summer, the right-hander went 1-0 with one save, a 2.45 ERA, 11 strikeouts and five walks in 7â…“ innings.Â
As a pitcher at CCSU, Stephens has a 6.23 ERA, 13 strikeouts, 12 walks, and has allowed 15 hits in 17â…“ innings in two seasons. In two seasons on offense, Stephens has slashed .264/.351/.404 with nine home runs, 46 RBI, and 42 runs scored across 96 games.Â
Pegram is a right-handed pitcher who started 10 games and made 15 appearances, sporting a 1-6 record during his sophomore season at William Jewell College in Missouri. He was second on the team last season with 58â…“ innings pitched, and he posted a 6.02 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 20 walks.Â
In his career, Pegram has a 3-8 record with a 5.79 ERA and a 47:26 K:BB ratio in 77â…” innings across 30 appearances.Â
Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org