By Jack Loder
It had been a very frustrating night for Garret Guillemette as he stepped into the right hand batter’s box with two outs and two on in the bottom of the eighth. The recent Texas commit had entered the game in the fourth following an injury, before grounding out an inning later and grounding into a rally-killing double play in the seventh.
A lot can change with one swing of the bat.
With Orleans trailing 4-1, Guillemette sat on a hanging breaking ball and launched it to left. He admired the blast for a half second before breaking into a slow, satisfied jog. By the time the ball landed, the ballgame was tied. The first base dugout erupted, as the shot injected energy into a dormant bunch. Neither team scored in the ninth, securing the Firebirds’ third tie of the season, a 4-4 draw.
“I felt really good about it off the bat,” Guillemette said. “I was just so glad I could come through for the guys and salvage a tie tonight.”
Both teams threatened in the ninth but were ultimately kept at bay. For Brewster, a tie in a game it led by three runs late stings. For the Firebirds, the postgame mood was as if they had come out on top.
“Definitely a good tie, we came back against a really good bullpen tonight,” Kelly Nicholson said. “There’s never a bad time for a three run homer, and Gilly did exactly what we put him in there to do.”
Before the heroic bomb, things once again looked bleak at the plate for Orleans.
Brewster jumped ahead in the fourth inning with a three spot. The trio of runs wouldn’t be insurmountable under normal circumstances, but with the way the Birds have been swinging it, it seemed more like a six run deficit. The White Caps earned their post game meal with gap power and timely hitting in the fourth. Singles from Logan Bravo and Grayson Tatrow preceded a two run double from Carson Demartini. Brewster added another later in the inning with a two out single, an element of clutch that the hosts have been missing for much of this season.
“We got beat in that fourth inning, but I liked the way we threw the ball overall tonight,” Nicholson said. “It’s a shame that we couldn’t come out on top tonight but we’ll take the tie and we’ll take the point.”
There’s a ceiling for Alex Amalfi this summer and he may have reached it during his last two starts. That’s not to say the lanky right-hander hasn’t been impressive, because he certainly has. It speaks more to his experience and overall body of work to this point in his career. The Amalfi we’ve seen on the Cape this summer is one that raises eyebrows with electric stuff, but largely an unrefined product. His start on Tuesday night perfectly exemplified this juxtaposition.
He flashed an above average fastball, locating early in counts before losing the zone in counts in which he was in the drivers’ seat. His slider was fine, but the change up raised eyebrows. It’s a pitch he has mastered during his short time in Orleans under the watchful eye of pitching coach Jim Lawler. This pitch could be a game changer for Amalfi, a weapon that would make the raw talent incredibly enticing to professional scouts.
“I think one thing I want to get a lot better at out here is being able to throw all four of my pitches for strikes in any count,” Amalfi said. “My change up felt good tonight, it was fun to compete.”
Cam Jones deserves a lot of credit for his relief outing. The left hander out of Georgia State worked 2.1 scoreless innings out of the pen, working at breakneck speed while keeping Brewster batters off balance. Jones’ two pitch mix is enough at this level, which is certainly a rarity.
Orleans will travel to Wareham on Wednesday to face the Gatemen for the second time this season.