Errors And Men Left On Base Hurt In Loss

By Greg Joyce

For the second straight game, errors hurt the Orleans Firebirds (6-4-1), and again it cost them a game, losing a 3-1 decision to the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (6-5-1) Friday night at Eldredge Park. The two teams were scoreless until the sixth inning, when the Red Sox scored three runs that would prove to be all they needed.

Jason Wheeler (Loyola Marymount) got the start on the mound for Orleans, looking much more impressive in his second outing of the season. The lefty was pulled with two outs and one on in the sixth inning, after throwing 85 pitches. Orleans field manager Kelly Nicholson brought in Kenny Long (Illinois State) to match up against Y-D’s Mason Katz (LSU).

“We thought we had a good matchup with K-Long against Katz,” Nicholson said. “Katz is kind of a fastball hitter, and K-Long will come in and throw that slider and breaking ball.”

Katz drove a pitch from Long down the right field line for a double, scoring Tyler Hanover (LSU) for the game’s first run.

Anthony Melchionda (Boston College) followed with a single up the middle to drive in Katz and make it 2-0.

The next Red Sox batter hit a pop up to shallow right field but Maxx Tissenbaum (Stony Brook) lost the ball in the fog and it dropped to put runners at second and third. Mike O’Neil (Michigan) then came up and hit a ground ball to Shon Roe (Loyola Marymount) at third base, but Roe’s throw bounced in the dirt by first base and Rudy Flores (Florida International) could not get a handle on it, allowing Melchionda to score Y-D’s third run.

“The pitching change didn’t work out,” Nicholson said. “We thought we had the right guy out there and it didn’t work out. Hey, that happened, it’s baseball.”

The Firebirds would cut the deficit to two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Steve Selsky (Arizona) led of the inning with a single up the middle. After the Y-D pitcher retired the next two batters in order, Roe kept the inning going with a slow roller to third for an infield single. Mike Marjama (Long Beach State) then came up and drove in Selsky on a single to center field.

In each of the next two innings, the Firebirds got two men on with one out, but they were not able to drive in any more runs, and the score stood at 3-1 to end the game. Orleans left a total of 11 men on base in the loss.

“Yeah, it was really frustrating,” Nicholson said of having nine hits with just one run to show for it. “But you’re going to see that that’s not what wins games up here. Pitching and defense is always going to win, and we didn’t play defense tonight. If we would have played better defense tonight and pitched a little bit better, maybe made one pitch, it would have been a different ballgame. But we didn’t, and we did not deserve to win this game tonight.”

The Firebirds finished with five errors on the night.

Although he did not get the win, Wheeler had better command of his pitches on Friday night.

“I thought he was way better,” Nicholson said. “I thought he committed to his changeup a lot more. He made some good pitches with it, he made some outs with it. I thought his fastball command was better. I thought it was a big improvement from outing one to outing two.”

In relief of long, Nick Mutz (Western Oklahoma) pitched two scoreless innings, while Pat Butler (UConn) made his first appearance in an Orleans uniform and recorded a scoreless ninth inning.

Jayce Boyd (Florida State) and Jake Stewart (Stanford) both made their first start of the season for the Firebirds, and both recorded a hit. Boyd singled in the fourth inning, while Stewart doubled in his first at bat in the second inning.

The Firebirds return to Eldredge Park on Saturday night when they host the Brewster Whitecaps. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:00 pm, and Kurt Heyer (Arizona) is set to make his Firebirds debut on the mound.

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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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