By: Cole Bradley
COTUIT, Mass- In the midst of a three-run first inning at Lowell Park on Tuesday, Bench coach Brendan Eygabroat smiled and said what every Firebird fan loves to hear.
“The Bash Bros are back,” he said after back-to-back home runs from Chase DeLauter (James Madison) and Tyler Locklear (VCU).
While his reference was exclusive to the power-hitting duo, the Orleans Firebirds lineup as a whole was encompassed in that statement against the Cotuit Kettleers. Orleans broke out at the birth site of it’s three-game 39-run stretch earlier in the summer, plating five in their third win over Cotuit.
“Earlier in the year Tyler and I were talking about going back-to-back,” DeLauter said. “Tyler said, ‘Absolutley no shot,’ and we did it. I didn’t even realize it was back-to-back until he got in the dugout and he said, ‘We finally did it.’”
Both DeLauter and Locklear have combined for 13 of Orleans’ 23 homers this season, and they both have been heating up as of late. Locklear is 4-for-13 over his last three games with a pair of homers and six RBIs, while DeLauter has walked four times during his modest three-game hitting streak.
“I feel like recently I haven’t been catching as many barrels as I was before so being able to recognize that one felt really good,” DeLauter said. “We got pitchers to go into the stretch early so Tyler and I got pitches to hit.”
DeLauter once again finds himself tied with Wareham’s Owen Diodati (Alabama) atop the Cape League home run leaderboard with seven. The offensive outburst saw all but two Firebird hitters reach base on the evening.
Jared Mckenzie (Baylor) made his return to the lineup after his collision with Jack Bulger (Vanderbilt) in Wareham on Friday, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances with three walks and a single.
Paced by Peyton Chatagnier (Mississippi) and Luke Keaschall (San Francisco), the top of the Firebirds order combined for six of the 13 total hits on the night. Very similar to the first time the Birds were in Cotuit, Chatagnier ignited the offense and set the tone from the first pitch.
“Luke is an unbelievable player, I don’t think he’s played many days where he hasn’t got a hit,” Chatagnier said. “Maybe this place has all the hits or something but hopefully we can keep it rolling.”
Right-hander Thomas Schultz (Vanderbilt) bounced back as well, after surrendering five runs in his debut outing against Falmouth. He went five frames, allowing one run on six hits and a walk, fanning four in the process.
“I kinda made it an emphasis this past week to work on my fastball and luckily it was working today,” Schultz said. “They definitely didn’t make it easy, but I took it one pitch at a time.”
Jack Filby (UCLA) kept Cotuit scoreless for two innings before Nick Wallerstedt (Arizona State) came in to shut the door in the eighth and ninth. Wallerstedt has gone 11.1 innings without allowing a run, lowering his ERA to an absurd 0.73 on the summer.
After dropping five of their last eight, the Birds will go back home riding a momentous wave against the East Division-leading Brewster Whitecaps, who have won five straight. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 pm at Eldredge Park.