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Hyannis blows past Orleans 12-7, propelled by walks and a grand slam

Jared McKenzie returns to the dugout after scoring. HANNAH YOSHINAGA/ ORLEANS FIREBIRDS

By: Cole Bradley

ORLEANS, Mass- There aren’t a whole lot of occurrences in baseball more demoralizing than the walk.

The Orleans Firebirds haven’t had many games defined by walks, but the Hyannis Harbor Hawks have specialized in inducing the free pass lately. On Saturday night, Hyannis drew 16 walks in an 18-16 loss to Harwich, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished all summer.

“Baseball is about getting baserunners and about touching home plate more than the other team,” Head coach Kelly Nicholson said. “You just got to pass the baton and see what you can do.”

Hyannis not only walked nine times but they tagged 12 hits in a 12-7 rout of Orleans on Sunday night. While the walks didn’t win the game, they set up some big blows, the largest being a grand slam from Ryan Romano (Florida State) in the sixth.

“Very rarely are you gonna win when you give up 12 hits and nine walks,” Nicholson said. “We didn’t play good defensively and we weren’t mindful on the bases, we didn’t deserve to win that game.”

Orion Kerkering makes his second start as a Firebird. HANNAH YOSHINAGA/ ORLEANS FIREBIRDS

Orleans starter Orion Kerkering (USF) ran into trouble a few times, most notably in the fourth when he loaded the bases on a pair of hits and a walk. Hyannis bounced him from the game after grabbing two runs on an error.

The three arms that followed Kerkering didn’t fare much better, combining to allow seven runs and five walks. Jeff Praml (Southern New Hampshire) went three scoreless to finish it out, but the lead was already too large for Orleans to salvage a comeback.

Orleans competed at the plate through the first five innings before the Hyannis seven-run sixth. Luke Keaschall (San Francisco) and Justin Miknis (Kent State) combined to drive in three on just as many hits, the biggest being Miknis’ first blast of the summer.

“It felt good just barreling a ball,” Miknis said. “It took a little while getting used to pitching and just recently I’ve been on time and I got a really good pitch to hit.”

In the fifth he jumped the right field fence on Cooper McKeehan (BYU), who ended up pitching five quality innings for the Harbor Hawks in the win. While it hasn’t been the best summer for him, Miknis has walked more than he’s struck out and on Sunday he showed off his power.

“He’s really been swinging the bat better,” Nicholson said. “We really got to keep him in the lineup. You might see us shake things up a little bit tomorrow.”

Justin Miknis after homering. MICHAEL ROPER/ ORLEANS FIREBIRDS

The game overall was sloppy, with rain postponing the initial start time by an hour, making for unideal playing conditions. A goose even managed to put the game at a standstill for a few moments in the fourth after flying onto the field.

The Firebirds will look ahead to a final tilt against Bourne at home on Monday, following their heartbreaking walk-off loss to the Braves on Friday. First pitch is slated for 7:00 pm at Eldredge Park.

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