Temps Provide Offense, Heyer Shines On Mound In Win

By Greg Joyce

Two temp players provided all the offense for the Orleans Firebirds (7-4-1) on Saturday night, and with impressive pitching, it was enough to defeat the Brewster Whitecaps 5-2 at Eldredge Park. Ben Waldrip (Jacksonville State) and Matt Duffy (Long Beach State) combined to knock in the five runs for Orleans, while Kurt Heyer (Arizona) threw five scoreless innings en route to his first win of the season.

Heyer dazzled in his first appearance in a Firebird uniform, and did so right from the start. In the first inning, the righty retired the side on nine pitches, including striking out the first two batters on six straight strikes.

In the bottom half of the first, Heyer’s teammates gave him some early run support thanks to Waldrip. Duffy led off with a single, and a batter later Jayce Boyd (Florida State) reached with a single of his own. Then, with two outs, Waldrip came to the plate and jacked his third home run of the year to make it 3-0. The ball was absolutely crushed, as it hit off the facing of the bandstand in right field.

“Big Ben had a big home run,” field manager Kelly Nicholson said laughing. “He really got a hold of that one.”

The score remained 3-0 until the fifth inning, when Duffy came through in the clutch. Ronnie Shaeffer (UC-Irvine) drew a walk with one out, followed by a single to right field by Tarran Senay (NC State). The right fielder was unable to field the ball cleanly on the play, which allowed Shaeffer and Senay to advance to third and second. That brought up Duffy, who lined a pitch to left-center field, deep enough to score both runners.

After the five innings of work, Heyer was done for the night, throwing 71 pitches and 48 for strikes. He allowed no runs, four hits, struck out two, and walked none.

“I thought Heyer was really outstanding,” Nicholson said. “I thought he really attacked the glove, and kept everything down. His tempo was outstanding. He was impressive tonight. I was looking forward to seeing him pitch, and he did not disappoint.”

Heyer did not allow a base runner to advance to second base in his five innings of work, and no Whitecap touched second base until the seventh inning.

The Whitecaps were able to score their first run of the game off Kyle Hunter (Dartmouth) in the seventh but Mike Hauschild (Dayton) came in and prevented any further damage.

In the ninth inning, the Whitecaps started a rally and scored a run off of Hauschild with one out. Hauschild struck out the next batter before allowing a single.

Trevor Gott (Kentucky) came in and walked the first batter he faced to load the bases and bring the potential winning run to the plate with two outs. But Gott induced a game-ending ground ball to shortstop to close out the win, earning his fourth save of the year.

“We kind of liked the ninth inning, actually,” Nicholson said. “We don’t want to load the bases in the ninth inning and bring the winning run to the plate, but it’s good for those guys to pitch out of some jams early in the year. That’s going to happen again in the season, later on in the season, and it’s good that they’re exposed to that early.

Duffy finished the night with 2 RBI and three hits, and is now batting .351 on the year. Waldrip added his three RBI, giving him eight on the year, which puts him in a tie for most on the team.

“I was just talking to Coach Craig about [the temps], and I said, ‘Man, Waldrip and Duff came through really big,’” Nicholson said. “Those guys are doing a good job.”

Overall, the night included an impressive display of offense, defense, and pitching, the perfect combination leading to a win.

“I was very pleased with the way we played tonight,” Nicholson said. “I thought we pitched well, we swung the bats well, and we played good defense tonight.”


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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