By Jack Loder
The city of Orleans was showcasing fireworks tonight at Rock Harbor, about a 10 minute drive from Eldredge park. The show didn’t leave any pyrotechnics for the baseball club, unfortunately, as the Firebirds were shut out by the Y-D Red Sox in a 4-0 loss on Friday night.
A night after clutch hitting early and often delivered the Firebirds a huge road win at Brewster, the bats went eerily quiet on Friday. The cold and windy conditions didn’t help, but the Firebirds rarely threatened to score throughout the contest. When they did get traffic on the bases, the Sox were quick to erase it. Y-D turned three inning ending double plays, all of the 6-4-3 variety.
“I think they pitched really well tonight, they deserve a lot of credit for that,” Kelly Nicholson said. “I also thought they got some cheap runs. We can’t give teams like that extra outs.”
Defense hasn’t been an issue for the Firebirds on many occasions this summer, but when it has it has hurt them.
As is often the case with the Y-D Red Sox, small ball and run manufacturing were on display in the top halves Friday night. They do a good enough job of this on their own. When teams help them out, they’re almost unbeatable. With Orleans trailing 2-0 in the eighth, an error and an infield base hit that could have been called an error put two quick runners on. Both came around to score, making a precarious 2-0 deficit an insurmountable 4-0 hole.
“In the Cape Cod baseball league, you will lose when you allow teams to play with more than three outs,” Nicholson reiterated. “I think they had three cheap runs tonight. That can’t happen.”
Phenomenal defense on the Part of Y-D couldn’t be ignored tonight. The Red Sox made a handful of sliding plays in the outfield, dazzled with some incredible throws in the infield, and turned three rally killing double plays to extinguish any rally The Birds stood to mount.
As surely as the sun sets and rises, It was another banner day for the Orleans pitching staff through the first six innings. Shane Telfer followed Kyle Carr’s impressive outing with two shutout innings of his own. The Pepperdine left hander has struggled some this summer, but seemed to have it all working out of the pen this evening. He mixed a deceptive lefty fastball with a whistle inducing curve. If effective relief is as contagious as hitting, Telfer may have caught a case from his bullpen mates.
Cam Jones was dominant in his one inning of relief, tossing a scoreless ninth and striking out two. Jones was one of the best two way players in the country this past season at Georgia State, but so far he’s made his bread and butter on the mound with Orleans.
“Cam Jones had a phenomenal inning. So did Telfer,” Nicholson said. “These pitchers deserve all the credit. They’re the ones executing night in and night out.”
With the inconsistency of the bats, Orleans will need its deep stable of arms to continue to pitch at an elite level as a staff. This team is more suited to win low scoring affairs than slug fears, an identity that the pitchers are ready to embrace.