By: Cole Bradley
ORLEANS, Mass- There was a fireworks show in Cotuit Wednesday evening.
Not literally, but with the struggling Orleans Firebirds at Lowell Park against the Cotuit Kettleers, the Birds were due for a big one. They had the opportunity to face the same starter that pitched in the first meeting between the two clubs in Harrison Cohen (George Washington).
The Firebirds played their first game without the Team USA duo, Jace Jung (Texas Tech) and Jordan Sprinkle (UC Santa Barbara), and broke out in a big way, routing Cotuit 12-4.
While two middle-infielders departed, one more took their place, as Peyton Chatagnier (Mississippi) was finally activated and made his first start at second base on Wednesday.
“I’ve been here for three games besides this one now,” Chatagnier said. “It’s a great group of guys and they really embrace me. We clicked really well. It was just a lot of fun being out here with the guys.”
Orleans started off fast, as Chatagnier in his first at-bat of the summer worked the count, barreling a base hit and scoring on a Jared McKenzie (Baylor) double before the Kettleers even recorded an out. Third baseman Tyler Locklear (VCU) then broke it open, launching a massive two-run home run over the Cotuit bullpen to make it 3-0.
The ball was hit a whopping 111 mph and traveled an estimated 413 feet.
They weren’t done either, Orleans grabbed another four runs in the next two innings, including one on Chase DeLauter’s (James Madison) second homer of the summer. Cohen exited after giving up seven runs, six of them earned on eight hits.
The Firebirds played their first complete offensive game to-date, racking up 13 hits, four of them for extra bases. They added three walks and only stranded five runners, taking advantage of every opportunity they had offensively.
“It definitely shows that this is a great group of guys,” Chatagnier said. “That’s any team in the Cape, but I think we seem to click really well. There’s a lot of talent on this team for sure.”
Marquis Grissom Jr. (Georgia Tech) made his first official start of the summer and looked solid, going three innings while only giving up one hit and one run. The Kettleers plated three in a long fourth inning as the sun continued to set on two hits and an error.
Grissom Jr. once again had both his fastball and slider working on both sides of the plate, and he made his presence felt from the start, as he punched out two.
“I think my changeup just elevated my game tonight,” Grissom Jr. said. “I need to use my fastball to get ahead more, that’s what I need to work on the most. It’s a great confidence booster, but there’s still stuff I need to continue to work on.”
With no lights the contest couldn’t exceed six innings and the game ended due to lack of sunlight.
The win is a good way to end what was a seven-games-in-seven-days stretch, as the Birds get an off-day on Thursday. The Brewster Whitecaps will be the next team to face Orleans on Friday at Eldredge Park.