By Jack Loder
One team wanted it more at Eldredge Park on Sunday night. The Hyannis Harbor Hawks made the quick trip east to Orleans and beat the Firebirds in every facet of the game.
Dominic Pitelli woke up this morning and decided that he was going to damage baseballs. He made good on that promise in the third and fifth innings on Sunday, blasting a pair of no doubt home runs to deep right field. The first was a solo shot that put the Harbor Hawks up 2-1. The second, a two run blast that nearly cleared the home bullpen in right center, giving Hyannis a 3-2 lead. The Hawks eventually pulled away late, beating the Firebirds 8-4 in Orleans.
“Here’s what happened tonight. We walked seven batters and hit three. You’re not going to win games in the Cape League when you do that,” Kelly Nicholson said. “You can’t pitch like we pitched tonight and expect to win.”
Pitelli’s second bomb of the night was a pre cursor to a late game Hyannis avalanche. The Hawks scored four more times in the frame, allowing them to coast the rest of the evening.
Hyannis may have been the better team this evening, but Orleans still played with a pride they promise to bring every night. The Firebirds lineup has made a number of noteworthy improvements over the last three games, one of which has been the ability to fight back out of a hole. When Hyannis took an early 1-0 lead in the third, the Birds didn’t wait long to even things in the home half. Jacob Stinson led off with an infield single and came around to score on a double off the once again hot bat of Travis Honeyman. When the Harbor Hawks again jumped ahead on Pitelli’s first homer of the night, Orleans again fought back, this time to take the lead. Hyannis starter Brady McCullogh was chased after walking Stinson and Honeyman to begin the frame. Nate Furman greeted his successor with a gorgeous sacrifice bunt, setting the table for Luke Keaschall. Keaschall took a big step in breaking out of his recent slump by smashing a two run double off the top of the wall. A hot Keaschall makes for a night and day difference to this Orleans lineup.
“Baseball is a really hard game. We’re working hard and guys are trusting that work,” Honeyman said. “We’re focusing on putting together good quality at bats.
As he has done most of this summer, Firebirds’ starter Patrick Reilly was solid for the most part, flirting with dominance, before being hurt by a few mistake pitches. Hyannis manufactured the first run of the ballgame against Reilly in the third before he surrendered the solo shot to Pitelli. He exited after four innings, giving up two runs and walking two.
A reliever medley of Sam Conte, Josh Allen, Cam Walty, Ryan Rissas and Chris Clark finished the game for the Birds. Besides Clark, each reliever ran into trouble. Pitching hasn’t been the issue for the Firebirds this season,
“We made some errors and we need to help our guys more,” Nicholson said. “The energy was flat all night on both sides. I thought there was definitely energy lacking tonight.”
While there are no Cape League games on Monday, the 10 teams will be treated to a workout at Fenway Park. The annual tradition is a great honor, one not taken lightly by any player.
“I’m really excited, it’s not everyday you get to play on a historic major league diamond,” Kevin Sim said.
“Im pumped up. Can’t put into words how excited I am,” Honeyman added.