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Mother Nature interferes as Firebirds fall 5-2 in five innings

By Brendan Nordstrom

Who doesn’t love a comeback?

Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers erased a 3-1 series disadvantage to the record-breaking Golden State Warriors in 2016. Local fans will definitely remember the New England Patriots coming back from 28-3 in Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons. In 2001, the then-Cleveland Indians were down 12 runs against the Seattle Mariners before winning in extras. It’s arguably the best part of sports.

Sometimes, however, the chance to come back gets taken.

The Orleans Firebirds (2-3) were trailing at the end of the fifth inning to the Wareham Gatemen on Wednesday night when lightning in the area put the game into a 15-minute delay. The delay extended as rain began to fall at Spillane Field, eventually turning into a cancellation.

Since the game had already completed five full innings, it was ruled a complete game, robbing the Firebirds of the chance to come back. Scorebooks were left with four unfilled frames as Orleans fell 5-2 to Wareham.

“It’s frustrating when you don’t play a full game when you’re losing. It’s extremely frustrating,” manager Kelly Nicholson said. “You just can’t control the weather.”

While thunderstorms were only a forecasted threat through the game’s beginning, the 11-mph wind at first pitch was a harbinger of what was to come.

The Firebirds, who only recorded one hit in a 2-0 loss to the Chatham Anglers last night, struck first on Wednesday. Third baseman Jack Penney ripped a 1-0 pitch to right field and advanced to second on a walk issued to left fielder Eddie King Jr.

From there, it was unselfish baseball from the Firebirds as second baseman Jo Oyama, who was activated to the roster this morning, laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners. Shortstop Andy Blake then hit a deep sac fly to right field, scoring Penney. A balk on Wareham starting pitcher Jonathan Bautista scored King for an early 2-0 lead.

Not to be outdone, the Gatemen answered in the bottom of the third when shortstop Sebastion Murillo laced a single to center field. Left fielder David Glancy then hit a no-doubter onto the hill over the left field wall to even the game at two.

Firebirds starting pitcher Evan Truitt walked two more batters in the inning but prevented further damage with two strikeouts and a groundout.

The Gatemen kept piling it on in the fourth when the Firebirds substituted lefty Riley Frey in for Truitt. Hernandez singled to right field to start the action. Murillo hit a shallow pop fly that Oyama called for, but he couldn’t get to it as it dropped in for a single. Glancy then hit a hot shot to Blake, who lost it off a weird hop in the gravel infield, loading the bases. First baseman Cade Sullivan did his job with a bases-clearing double off the right-field fence.

“The ball took a bad hop and [we] misplayed a ball in short right field, and that happens. You have to overcome it,” Nicholson said. “Today, we didn’t get a chance to overcome that.”

A problem for the Firebirds throughout the contest was baserunning as center fielder Austin Overn and Penney were each caught stealing by Wareham catcher Jedier Hernandez.

Penney, however, was a standout at the plate for Orleans with two singles, improving his batting average to a team-leading .300 on the young season.

“Penney’s looked good at the plate all summer,” Nicholson said. “He’s a good hitter, and he came highly touted.”

Tomorrow is an off day for the entire Cape Cod Baseball League, but the Firebirds will be back at Eldredge Park on Friday where they take on the Cotuit Kettleers at 6:30 p.m. with righty Daniel Avitia set to toe the rubber for his second start of the summer.

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