Firebirds Shut Out at Home

By Greg Joyce

Through the first four innings of Monday night’s game, the Orleans Firebirds were held hitless by the Bourne Braves. Though they ended up with five hits, the Firebirds were unable to push any runs across the plate, and lost a 3-0 decision at Eldredge Park.

Ryan Eades (LSU) was on the mound for the visiting Braves, and stifled the Orleans batters through his six innings of work. He allowed just five base runners, leaving three of them on base and getting one out in a double play.

The other base runner was Ben Waldrip (Jacksonville State), who recorded the Firebirds’ first hit of the night, a double in the fifth inning. Waldrip tagged and advanced to third base on a fly out, putting him at the corner with one out. But on the next play, Waldrip was thrown out trying to score. Steve Nyisztor (Rutgers) hit a ground ball to short third base, and Waldrip broke for home, but the throw beat him there and the tag was waiting for him when he got to the plate.

Meanwhile, the Braves were able to score three runs off of Orleans’ starting pitcher Tyler Gebler (Rutgers) during his four and one-third innings of work.

Bourne scored off Gebler twice in the third inning, the first run coming on a close call. With two outs and a man on third, Jason Coats (TCU) hit a slow ground ball down the third base line. Nyisztor came in charging on the ball, barehanded it and threw to first. Most of the Firebirds started to jog off the field thinking it was the third out, but the first base umpire called Coats safe, and the first run scored.

After Coats stole second, Gebler let up a single to right field and Coats scored on the play, just barely beating the throw home by Steve Selsky (Arizona).

The Braves scored again in the fifth inning, taking advantage of an Orleans error. The first batter of the inning, Johnny Bladel (James Madison) reached on an error by Matt Duffy (Long Beach State), and he moved to second on a bunt hit by Travis Jankowski (Stony Brook). After he struck out the next better looking, Gebler allowed another single to center field that brought home Bladel.

“I thought [Gebler] left the ball up a couple times and they capitalized on that,” field manager Kelly Nicholson said. “We did not help him out defensively at all, but that’s not going to be the last time that guys make errors behind him. He’s going to have to overcome that. He did not get strike one often enough. He fell behind guys too often tonight, and that makes your job tough.”

Andrew Chafin (Kent State) came on in relief of Gebler, and induced an inning-ending double play to get out of the inning.

In both the sixth and eighth innings, Matt Lowenstein (Loyola Marymount) led off with an infield single. But each time, he did not pass second base, and the Firebirds were unable to manufacture any runs.

Orleans also had some tough luck at the plate, as the Braves made a few nice defensive plays, and many times, they were exactly where the ball was hit.

“I thought we swung the bats okay tonight,” Nicholson said. “We hit a lot of balls at guys. We had some good at bats and hit the ball hard.”

Nick Mutz (Western Oklahoma) pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth inning, and he was helped out by his teammate in center field on the last out. A Brave hit a ball to the gap in left-center field, and Jake Stewart (Stanford) made a full-extension, diving catch to get the out. The center fielder showed great range on the play, and prevented an extra-base hit.

Going forward in the season, Nicholson sees one thing that the Firebirds will need to work on to get back in the win column.

“If we’re going to be successful, we’re going to need to play small ball a little bit more,” he said. “We’re not going to be able to play ‘gorilla ball.’ We’re not LSU here in the Cape Cod League. [Bourne] did a good job of getting bunts down and stealing bases and we’re going to have to do a little bit more of that if we want to win.

“I think we’ll just get back after it tomorrow night. We’re due to put a good one together here pretty soon. It’s a long summer. A part of baseball is you’re gonna have some good streaks and you’re gonna have some low streaks and you just gotta weather the storm.”


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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