Firebirds Mount Comeback In Y-D

By Greg Joyce

Through six innings at Y-D on Saturday night, the Orleans Firebirds were losing 2-0. They had put up seven hits, but couldn’t get the push they needed to make a mark in the run column. But then came the seventh inning, and the Firebirds finally pounced, scoring six runs to complete the comeback and beat the Red Sox 6-3.

With a runner at first and one out in the seventh, Tarran Senay (NC State) continued his recent tear at the plate, and lined a single to right field. Ronnie Shaeffer (UC Irvine) came up next, and recorded his third hit of the day, a fly ball to left field that fell for a hit, scoring Jayce Boyd (Florida State). An errant throw from the left fielder allowed Senay and Shaeffer to each move up a base on the play.

Then, with runners at second and third and one out, the Firebirds elected not to put on a sacrifice bunt or a safety squeeze, and allowed Matt Lowenstein (Loyola Marymount) to swing the bat. Their decision proved wise, as Lowenstein hit a hard bouncing ball over the head of the Y-D second baseman and into right field to tie the game at two.

“I thought [assistant coach Benny Craig] showed a lot of confidence in our hitters,” field manager Kelly Nicholson said. “There were some situations where we could have sacrificed and we could have safety squeezed, but he just let guys hit, and they came through big.”

The next batter was Anthony Gomez (Vanderbilt), and he gave the Firebirds the lead for good when he shot a single into right field to score Shaeffer.

Then Matt Duffy (Long Beach State) joined the rally with his second of three hits on the night, lining a single to right field to make it 4-2 Orleans.

After Ben Waldrip (Jacksonville State) drew a walk to load the bases, Jake Stewart (Stanford) recorded a productive out, grounding into a fielder’s choice that brought home Gomez.

Finally, Reed Gragnani (Virginia) capped off the rally with a RBI single to right field for the 6-2 lead.

Matt Boyd (Oregon State) was the starter on the hill for Orleans, and threw five solid innings, allowing just one run in the process. He did not factor in the decision, but struck out six and held the Firebirds close until their big seventh inning.

Coming on in relief of Boyd was Kenny Long (Illinois State), who allowed one run over three innings of work to record the win.

“Matt Boyd was really good, and Kenny Long was really good,” Nicholson said.

Kyle Ottoson (Arizona State) pitched the last inning, giving up one run, but shutting down any last comeback attempt from Y-D.

Senay has now recorded an extra-base hit in each of the last three games (two doubles and a home run), with 4 RBI as well.

“He’s really swinging the bat at the right time,” Nicholson said. “That’s the nice thing about the Cape League: you lose a guy to professional baseball, and you get a guy like Senay, who could be playing professionally, and he steps in and continues to swing a hot bat. It’s really good to see that. He’s had a good attitude all summer, he’s worked pretty hard all summer, so it’s good to see it pay off.”

Duffy and Shaeffer both racked up three hits apiece in the game, while Gragnani finished with two. With his 3-for-5 performance, Duffy raised his batting average to .341, putting him .001 out of first place in the league in batting.

Every Firebird reached base at least once, and eight out of the nine batters had a hit in the game.

Said Nicholson, “All around, it was a good team win.”

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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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