By: Cole Bradley
ORLEANS, Mass- There’s an age-old saying in baseball: “Hitting is contagious.”
Through their first eight games of the season, the Orleans Firebirds scored 32 runs, struggling to find offense in a handful of those contests. Since Wednesday, it’s been an entirely different story.
The ‘Bashin Birds’ have scored 31 times over the last two games, and on a rainy Friday night at Eldredge, after a needed off-day, they flexed some muscle.
Orleans didn’t hold anything back, dropping 18 hits, of which a jaw-dropping seven cleared the fence as they steamrolled the Brewster Whitecaps 19-6 in just seven innings.
“Everyone was hitting, we had a good game plan today and everyone was focused,” Garret Guillemette (USC) said. “We had no BP on the field today, so a little show-and-go action could’ve helped us a little bit. Everything clicked for us today and it was very solid.”
Guillemette, Tyler Locklear (VCU) and Chase DeLauter (James Madison) each had two home runs, combining for 10 hits and 11 RBI. Peyton Chatagnier (Mississippi) added a monster grand slam in what ended up being a demoralizing nine-run fifth inning for Brewster where 12 Firebirds came to the plate.
The 19 runs scored is the most in a Cape League game so far this season.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of an offense like that,” Head coach Kelly Nicholson said. “Really proud of those guys, it was cool.”
DeLauter finished a triple shy of the cycle and went 5-for-5 in the win while also scoring on four occasions. He has yet to hit a pull-side home run this summer, as both of his jacks went flying over the opposite-field wall.
“I feel like the last few games I’ve been swinging it better,” DeLauter said. “It wasn’t a great night to play but the wind wasn’t howling in like it has been recently. I’ve been really trying to live in the middle of the field, I got pitched away in college and it’s been the same here. I’ve really worked hard staying that way when I need to.”
Lost in translation was Hayden Thomas’ (Texas A&M Corpus Christi) second outing on the mound. After serving-up a three-run homer to Zachary Neto (Campbell) in the first, Thomas settled in and punched out six in five innings of work.
He struck out the side in the fourth, setting up a four-run bottom of the fourth for the offense.
“Catching Hayden is very easy for me,” Guillemette said. “He’s very good at locating and he trusts the pitches I call. If we take the first inning out of the equation he throws four scoreless innings. Hayden looked very good and overpowered a lot of people.”
Guillemette also had himself a night at the plate, tagging two homers of his own and driving in four runs. He came in with only one hit on the season before posting a three hit night.
“I felt good, especially being in the slump I was in,” Guillemette said. “Once I got my first I felt I was seeing it pretty well. It felt good just to put a stamp on it and say, ‘No more slump.’”
The Whitecaps added three more on another three-run shot, this time from Colin Davis (Wofford) in the seventh before Nick Wallerstedt (Arizona State) came in and shut the door. He got Shawn Goosenberg (Northwestern) to fly out to Connor Kokx (Long Beach State) who made a terrific catch to end it.
This is the first time Orleans has won back-to-back games this season as they head into Fourth of July weekend with the highest run differential in the East Division. They have a home and home with the Chatham Anglers on Saturday and Sunday.