Brewster snaps Orleans’ Hot-Streak

By Greg Joyce

On Tuesday night, the Firebirds (6-3-1) took their four-game winning streak to Stony Brook Field in Brewster, and the Whitecaps were able to cool off the Orleans bats, leading to a 4-2 win. Orleans started a rally in the ninth inning, but it was too little too late, as the Firebirds were sent home with their first loss since last Wednesday.

Errors plagued the Firebirds on the night, with two coming in the third inning in which the Whitecaps scored three runs. The first batter of the inning singled to center off Orleans’ starter Matt Dunbar (College of Southern Nevada). On the next play, Jack Mayfield (Oklahoma) put a bunt down to move the runner over, but Dunbar had trouble collecting the ball to the left of the mound, and Mayfield got to first safely. The next Whitecap bunted again, this one going as a 5-4 sacrifice bunt, moving the runners to second and third. Dunbar got the next batter to ground out to short stop, but that let in a run to make it 1-0. After letting up a walk, Dunbar got the next batter to hit a fly ball to left-center field, where Will Piwnica-Worms (Duke) tracked down the ball, but could not hang onto it, allowing another run to score. The final run of the inning scored on a wild pitch by Dunbar.

“I didn’t think we played particularly well,” field manager Kelly Nicholson said. “Dunbar made an error, and then Worms made an error and they scored a run on a [wild pitch]. You just can’t do that in this league. Good teams are going to take advantage of it. Brewster did a good job tonight taking advantage of that. We didn’t deserve to win.”

The Firebirds chipped away at the lead in the next inning, when Steve Selsky (Arizona) scored on a RBI single down the left field line by Brandon Williams (Georgia State).

In relief of Dunbar (4 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 4 K, 2 BB), Tyler Gebler (Rutgers) let up a solo home run to Taylor Davis (Morehead State) in the sixth inning, putting Orleans down by three runs again.

The score stayed the same until the ninth inning, when the Firebirds started a rally with one out. Williams got his second hit of the game when he shot a double down the left field line. That was followed by a single to center by Rudy Flores (Florida International), moving Williams to third. Mike Marjama (Long Beach State) came up next and hit a line-drive double to right-center field to score Williams.

With runners on second and third, one out and the score 4-2, it was looking like Orleans might have enough in the tank to at least send the game to extra innings. But Brewster’s Drew Steckenrider (Tennessee) had other thoughts, striking out the next two batters to end the game.

While the Firebirds and Whitecaps finished with eight hits each, Brewster was able to do more damage with two outs, something that the Orleans pitching staff will look to improve upon going forward.

“I think we have to pitch better,” Nicholson said. “I told at least the [pitchers] in the dugout that when we get two outs, we gotta attack the strike zone a little bit better and attack the mitt. Matt Dunbar did not do a good job with that tonight. He would get two outs and fall behind 2-0. He did that in his first three innings. He got 2 outs, fell behind 2-0, got 2 outs, fell behind 2-0, got 2 outs, fell behind 3-0. And that just makes your job as a pitcher that much more difficult. And I think we’re going to stress the importance Thursday.”

Despite the loss, the Firebirds hold a record of 6-3-1 after their first 10 games, putting them just a point behind first place in the Eastern Division.

Said Nicholson, “I told our guys, ‘Hey, if we can go 6-3-1 every 10 games, we’re going to have a pretty decent summer.”

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About firebirdsccbl
The official blog of the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Check here for the latest news on the Firebirds, and be sure to follow us on Facebook (Orleans Firebirds), Twitter (@FirebirdsCCBL) and YouTube (OrleansFirebirds).

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