Firebirds Have Setback In Bourne

By Greg Joyce

Just two nights after it looked like Orleans had figured everything out, they had a setback in Bourne. The Firebirds were held to two hits, and left eight men on base, leading to a 5-1 loss to the Braves on Friday night.

Bourne took an early lead off Jason Wheeler (Loyola Marymount) in the second inning. Tommy Coyle (UNC) hit a single, and was later knocked in by Zach Alvord (Auburn) for the 1-0 lead.

Quick to respond though were the Firebirds, who tied the game at one in the next frame. With one out and Maxx Tissenbaum (Stony Brook) on first, Tarran Senay (NC State) reached with a base on balls. Then, Matt Duffy (Long Beach State) hit a ground ball to the right side that the second baseman could not get out of his glove in time to get the out at second.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Andrew Aplin (Arizona State) hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring in Tissenbaum and tie the game. But Bourne’s Josh Conway (Coastal Carolina) was able to get out of the inning by retiring Jayce Boyd (Florida State) on a fly out to center.

The Braves regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning, and kept it for good. Bourne went ahead 2-1 when Colin Moran (UNC) drove in Patrick Cantwell (Stony Brook) on a line drive to left field.

The sixth inning delivered a huge momentum swing, when the Firebirds failed to score again and the Braves scored three more. It was a difference of coming through with a big hit when the bases were loaded.

Orleans loaded the bases with one out when Boyd walked, Steve Selsky (Arizona) hit a double to the gap in right, and Ben Waldrip (Jacksonville State) was hit by a pitch. But the rally ended there, as Rudy Flores (Florida International) struck out and Ronnie Shaeffer (UC Irvine) flew out to right field.

“Everyone’s trying to be productive,” batting coach Benny Craig said. “I think [scoring some runs] would have helped our pitchers relax a little. Cause we were in the game the whole time. It was neck-and-neck, then they’re up 2-1, and we had some opportunities. I’m not as frustrated about that as I am that we should be starting to get locked in at the plate.”

The Braves made the lost opportunity hurt when they came through with the same chance in the bottom half of the inning.

Pat Butler (UConn) walked the second batter of the inning, but recorded outs on the batter before and after that. He followed that by hitting a batter, ending his relief appearance.

Mike Hauschild (Dayton) relieved Butler, and walked the first batter he faced. The next batter was Travis Jankowski (Stony Brook), who blasted a 3-2 pitch to right field for a bases-clearing triple.

Shut down by the Bourne bullpen, the Firebirds were unable to create any more runs for the rest of the game, and went down quietly over the last three innings.

Wheeler was hit with the loss on the mound, going four innings, allowing four hits, two runs, two walks, and striking out two.

Bright spots on the night for Orleans included Shaeffer recording his first hit of the season, and Reed Gragnani (Virginia) seeing his first action in the Cape League. He pinch hit for Duffy in the fifth inning, and played second base for the rest of the game.

Nick Mutz (Western Oklahoma) also threw two scoreless innings in relief of Hauschild, marking his third straight scoreless appearance.

The Firebirds will look to get their bats going again today when they travel to Brewster.

“There’s four parts to a swing: your stance, your load, your fire, and your finish,” Craig said. “And right now, we’re blending our load and fire together, and that’s what’s kind of creating the issue. The load and the fire, when you try and do them both so close together, neither one fully gets done. So I hope that’s what we can work on.”

“Facing good pitching, at some point you gotta tip your cap to the other staff. But I think we have good hitters and we’re going to climb out of it, hopefully [Saturday’s] the day we do it. We don’t want to wait too long.”

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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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