Win Streak Snapped By Hyannis

By Greg Joyce

Orleans and Hyannis both came into Wednesday night’s matchup as winners of their last seven straight, meaning something had to give. Unfortunatley for the Firebirds, they came out on the losing end of the 11-2 decision, as they finally met their match against the Harbor Hawks.

Unlike most of their games during the win streak, the Firebirds were unable to score early, and instead faced a big deficit after the second inning.

Jason Wheeler (Loyola Marymount) was on the hill for Orleans, and had a tough night, letting up seven runs in 2.2 innings of work. The Harbor Hawks got on the lefty in the second, putting up the seven-spot while batting around the order.

“Wheeler did not throw the ball well, he did not have any command of his fastball,” field manager Kelly Nicholson said. “You cannot succeed in this league when you don’t have any fastball command.”

Two innings later, Hyannis started another rally off Pat Butler (UConn) and extended their lead to 9-0, and then 11-0 in the fifth inning.

The Firebirds finally got on the boartd in the sixth inning, when they took advantage of a Hyannis error. Andrew Aplin (Arizona State) reached on a misplayed pop up by the pitcher, and proceeded to steal second base.

Then, Maxx Tissenbaum (Stony Brook) hit a slow roller down the first base line, which the pitcher fielded and threw over to first for the out. But on a heads up play, Aplin scored all the way from second, as he caught Hyannis off guard to score the first run for Orleans.

“I just love the way Andrew Aplin plays and competes,” Nicholson said.

One of the bright spots of the night was Tarran Senay (NC State), who connected on pitch in the seventh inning for his first home run of the season, a blast over the left field fence to make it 11-2.

The other positive in the game was the final three relief pitchers for the Firebirds. Kyle Ottoson (Arizona State), Kenny Long (Illinois State), and Kurt Heyer (Arizona) combined to throw the last 4.1 innings, and they were perfect, not allowing a single hit or walk.

“I thought Ottoson, Long and Heyer were outstanding,” Nicholson said.

All-Star Matt Duffy (Long Beach State) slapped a double into the left-center gap in the ninth inning to extend his hitting streak to five games, and up his average to an impressive .331.

The Firebirds will now get a well-deserved two days off while their teammates Duffy, Ben Waldrip (Jacksonville State), Trevor Gott (Kentucky, and Tyler Johnson (Stony Brook) travel to Fenway Park to play in the All-Star Game.

With a demanding and busy schedule over the last month and a half, Nicholson said he is welcoming the off days, as his team tries to gear up for a playoff run.

“I think everybody probably needs a couple days off,” he said. “I think the coaching staff and I think the players are ready for a couple days off and then make that final push to and through the playoffs.

“The guys had a good run, they had a really good run. If somebody would have told us that we were gonna win seven in a row, I probably would have told them that they were crazy. We’ll take it, but we know that there’s a lot of baseball left to be played in the regular season, and then when we start in the playoffs, everybody starts 0-0. Whoever can win six games first is gonna get out of here with a ring.”

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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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