Firebirds Drop Another Close One

By Greg Joyce

For the second night in a row, the Orleans Firebirds spoiled an impressive pitching performance after only managing two hits at the plate, this time leading to a 2-0 defeat. The Wareham Gatemen used back-to-back jacks in the second inning to provide all the offense they would need on Sunday night at Eldredge Park.

Ryan Carpenter (Gonzaga) was on the hill for the Firebirds to start the game, and went six strong innings for his team. Save for two pitches, the lefty’s night was nearly flawless. But unfortunately the two pitches he would have liked back were both lifted out of the park by Wareham batters. The first was from Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech), with the second coming off the bat of Johnny Field (Arizona).

Carpenter finished the night with six innings pitched, giving up five hits, two walks, two runs, and striking out seven.

“I thought Carpenter threw the ball really well tonight,” field manager Kelly Nicholson said.

Once again, Matt Duffy (Long Beach State) and Jayce Boyd (Florida State) were the only Firebirds with hits on the night, as was the case Saturday night in Harwich. Duffy had a hard single by the third baseman in the first inning, while Boyd lined a double to the gap in left field in the ninth.

Overall though, the Firebirds struck out 12 times on the night, and have only moved a runner to second base three times in two nights. With just four hits over their last two games, the frustration is starting to build among the batters.

“I think there’s a little frustration tonight with those guys,” Nicholson said. “They’re out there working their rear ends off trying to get on base and trying to get base hits.

“But when we’re not hitting, we have to play small ball more. If we want to win, we’re gonna have to play small ball and manufacture runs and drag and push and steal bases and hit and run.

Most nights, a performance of six innings and only two runs allowed from your starting pitcher would be good enough for the win, but not on Sunday night.

“It’s not often that the team that wins this thing does it offensively,” Nicholson said. “It’s always pitching and defense. Tonight, we pitched well, we played solid defense, but when we’re not swinging it, we’re gonna have to manufacture some runs.”

Three Orleans relievers from the bullpen did their job nicely after Carpenter came out of the game. Pat Butler (UConn) pitched a scoreless seventh inning with one strikeout. Kyle Hunter (Dartmouth) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning with one punch out, while Tyler Gebler (Rutgers) did the same thing in the ninth.

“All those guys came in and threw up zeros,” Nicholson said.

Though it has been a frustrating two games for the Firebirds, Nicholson said the best thing for the team is that they will have a chance to get back at it tonight in Yarmouth-Dennis. The only way to break out of an offensive funk is to keep swinging the bats, and the batters will look to do just that in yet another important divisional matchup.

“Thank goodness we have a game tomorrow, that’s the best part about it,” he said. “We get a chance to go out and play and try to get a W tomorrow.”


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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