By: Cole Bradley
Yarmouth, Mass- The Orleans Firebirds just haven’t had answers for the Y-D Red Sox.
It’s been almost two years to the day since Orleans beat Y-D 7-2 at Red Wilson Field, and they haven’t won since. Early on it looked promising for the Firebirds, leading 8-3 at one point before the Red Sox roared back to win it 9-11in seven innings.
As early evening overcast skies rolled in, the Red Sox found a sense of urgency in the final two innings, scoring eight in that span on eight hits. Four runs came across to score before Orleans recorded an out in the seventh.
Y-D secured the comeback on a two-run single from Zach Lew (Cal State Fullerton) who had a two hit night. The Firebirds are now (0-3-2) against Y-D with one more match up set to take place at Eldredge Park before the end of the summer.
Despite the loss, the Birds offense scored runs in a variety of different ways, from a Peyton Chatagnier (Mississippi) suicide squeeze to a Tyler Locklear (VCU) three-run homer, they found ways to get the job done.
Locklear replicated an earlier performance at Red Wilson Field where he hit a grand slam, tallying two hits and driving in four.
“I was just trying to hit the ball hard somewhere trying to get someone over, the wind and the short park helped get it over,” Locklear said. “It felt good to see a lot of us put it together today, it wasn’t just two singles and a homer. We had small ball going with Chatagnier’s bunt as well.”
Y-D starter Pat Gallagher (Connecticut) faced Orleans for the third time this season, which proved dividends after the Firebirds put up three runs in the first inning alone. Prior to Sunday’s outing, Gallagher threw 4.1 innings of two-run ball with six punchouts, He didn’t have that same success his third time facing the Firebirds.
Between Gallagher and Y-D newcomer Zachary Patterson (Pacific), eight Firebirds crossed the plate, only four of which by the earned run variety.
“It’s always good to see a guy multiple times, he kinda had my number going in,” Locklear said. “Going up there and having a familiarity knowing he was gonna throw a lot of changeups was good.”
Before Y-D started to come back, Orion Kerkering (USF) held the Red Sox to three runs through five solid innings on the mound. He struck out three in his first start of the summer, stretching his arm out with a 58-pitch outing.
“It’s a better routine than relieving, at school I would just go in when I was ready,” Kerkering said. “It felt better to just have a set routine the way I wanted. It felt good just to be able to throw strikes.”
A two-run home run from Dominic Keegan (Vanderbilt) to bring the Orleans lead down to one in the fourth was the one glaring scar on his line but he finished strong with a 1-2-3 frame in the fifth.
“Toward the end it was a bit rocky with my slider here and there but it felt pretty good,” Kerkering said. “I had my stuff tonight.”
The loss puts Orleans at the bottom of the East Division standings in the midst of one of the most critical stretches of the season. The Birds are 1-2-2 in their last five contests, something they’ll look to reverse in Hyannis tomorrow.