By Brendan Nordstrom
Strike one. Strike two. Strike three.
Three times over.
Yarmouth-Dennis starter Jason Doctorczyk took the mound in the top of the first and recorded an immaculate inning. Those nine pitches set the tone for Doctorczyk’s outing.
“You don’t see that very often,” Orleans manager Kelly Nicholson said. “It was impressive. He threw a lot of strikes. He was good.”
Good may be an understatement for the University of Nevada Reno right-handed pitcher, who allowed six hits in his six innings of work, but he allowed no runs and no walks. Most impressive was the way he attacked batters. Doctorczyk struck out seven batters using a 72% strike percentage and landed a first-pitch strike on 18 of the 22 batters faced.
Doctorczyk’s outing made way for Boston Mabeus to record a nine-out scoreless save to shut out the Firebirds (17-18) 5-0 — the third time this season Orleans has hung a zero. Monday’s game at Red Wilson Field comes on the heels of an 8-2 loss to Y-D yesterday as the Red Sox took the series lead.
Despite double-digit hits for the Firebirds, they were unable to drop a damaging blow to Y-D, recording a base runner in all but two innings and leaving nine stranded
“Kind of been the story, right?” Nicholson said. “You got to give credit where credit’s due … 10 hits and no runs. That’s hard to do. It’s hard to get shut out in this ballpark too, this little bandbox.”
After Doctorczyk’s immaculate first frame, the Firebirds imposed a serious threat on the Red Sox. First baseman Matt Halbach led off the frame with some luck — a chopped ball to the pitcher that Doctorczyk fumbled. Third baseman Brandon Stahlman kept the pressure on by attacking the pitcher again, ricocheting a single off of his glove, before center fielder Eddie King Jr. hit a single to load the bases.
However, a strikeout left the bases loaded. It is the seventh time in the last five games that Orleans could not cash in with every base occupied.
“In the big moments, we’re just a little hesitant,” King said. “If we can just be more aggressive in the big moments, then I think everything just goes our way.”
Orleans struggled to replicate the threat, going down in order in the third, grounding into a double play in the fourth and stranding Jack Penney’s one out single in the sixth. King hit a one-out double in the fifth, but it was for naught on the scoreboard.
King kept his great day at the plate going in the seventh after catcher Owen Carapellotti’s two-out single made way for King’s third hit of the game — the second multi-hit game of his season.
“Lately, I’ve been trying to just kill the ball,” King said. “I tried to cut back on my swing a bit today to see if things fall my way, and it worked out.”
As for the Red Sox, their bats remained hot and consistent. Y-D chipped away at Orleans starting pitcher Ivran Romero. RJ Austin led off the first with a line single over the first base bag in what would end up being a highly successful three-hit day at the plate.
Third baseman Zander Darby, fresh off of a four-hit day against Orleans yesterday, remained hot at the dish with an RBI single up the middle.
In the second inning, a two-out high hop on second baseman Jo Oyama set up Austin to scorch a liner to the left field corner for a 2-0 lead.
That was the story of the Red Sox all day long — they scratched one run across in the first three frames and earned two in the fourth to take a 5-0 advantage. Orleans relievers Ryan Rissas and Chase Lummus helped keep Y-D from furthering their lead across the next four frames.
“Hey Rissas did a nice job, and Lummus came in and threw the ball well,” Nicholson said. “If you can only give up five runs in this ballpark, there are nights where you’re going to win because I’ve seen a lot of runs scored in this park before.”
Y-D threw reliever Mabeus for the final three innings for a nine-out save that included four strikeouts and no walks to give the Red Sox a shutout victory of the No. 2 team in the East.
The Firebirds will have a chance to bounce back to .500 baseball tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. to take on the Wareham Gatemen for the final time in the season. Orleans is starting ace Derek Clark.
“Well, brand new day tomorrow,” Nicholson said. “We need a good start from Derek.”