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Orleans show fight, lose in walk-off to Gatemen

By Brendan Nordstrom

Bases loaded. Two outs. Tied game. Bottom of the ninth.

The Wareham Gatemen pinch-hit Bobby Boser.

Strike one

The ball pierced the outer edge of the strike zone. It was much needed for debuting Orleans reliever Will Lynch, who walked the bases loaded. He struck out two in the eighth, and after the Firebirds knotted the game up at 4-4 in the top of the ninth, Lynch was given the bottom half of the frame.

Ball one

The pitch was high and inside. Boser took off his helmet, showing it to the umpire in an attempt to earn a free RBI and a walk-off for the Gatemen — a team currently on a five-game losing streak.

Ball two

The ball was in the dirt. Wareham’s JC Colon started toward home, but catcher Owen Carapellotti dropped to his knees, making a potential game-saving stop.

“It’s a will play over a skill play,” Carapelloti said. “It doesn’t matter if I’m able to do it, it matters how bad I want to do it.”

The stadium fell silent.

Single into left field

The Firebirds (13-14) lost in walk-off fashion to the Gatemen 5-4, breaking a three-game winning streak. It was Wareham’s revenge for a walk-off Orleans had on them two weeks ago in a 7-6 contest.

“It’s frustrating when you end up getting walked off when you feel like it was a very winnable game,” Carapellotti said. “We put ourselves in a position to win. We’ve got to keep building on that going forward.”

If you fell asleep at Spillane Field on June 14 and woke up tonight, you wouldn’t know the difference. The Firebirds visited Wareham over a month ago and started Evan Truitt, while the Gatemen threw Jonathan Bautista. The winner was Bautista in a shortened five-inning contest due to lightning as the Gatemen defeated Orleans 5-2.

On Saturday evening, the two right-handed pitchers had a rematch.

The Firebirds jumped on Bautista early. Second baseman Jo Oyama, who lost a 20-game on-base streak last night, started a new streak on the fourth pitch of the game, striking a single through the five-hole.

With two outs, the rally began. First baseman Matt Halbach worked a walk before catcher Owen Carapellotti took the first pitch of his at-bat into right field as Oyama slapped home plate on a hook slide for the first run. Shortstop Drew Faurot followed it up with a single cracked up the middle to score Halbach for a 2-0 lead.

The parade of three hits was the only fun Orleans was going to have against Bautista. Three-straight 1-2-3 innings contributed to a series of 12-straight Firebirds retired in a row — a series Bautista struck out three.

Oyama broke the skid with his second single of the day, but it wouldn’t matter as a groundout ended the inning. The Firebirds tried to refind their magic in the sixth after Halbach was hit by a pitch, however, Bautista’s 5.1 innings on the mound ended to bring in reliever Bryson Shaffer. Carapellotti earned another single, but two pitches ended the threat with a pair of easy outs.

It was Carapellotti’s first multi-hit game of the summer with a pair of singles, as the catcher has been heating up at the plate as of recent.

“It was good to break out, you know, it was a little frustrating start,” Carapellotti, who also threw a runner out tonight, said. “Yeah, I had two hits, but we would have liked to win.”

On the other side of the matchup, Truitt rolled through his first inning of work with a lead-off strikeout and the first five batters retired. Then a metallic clank in left field meant debuting Wareham third baseman Michael Brooks hit a solo home run to half the lead.

Truitt then appeared shaken, allowing a single to center fielder Josh Stevenson. Stevenson advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches, eventually scoring on a throw down to second.

The Charleston Southern pitcher worked his way through the third and fourth innings without any damage, but back-to-back singles in the fifth made way for reliever Konner Eaton.

A fielder’s choice put runners on the corners before a wild pitch from Eaton moved the tying run 180 feet from home. Gatemen second basemen Dorian Gonzalez lofted a ball to shallow center field to take a 4-2 lead.

The Firebirds showed fight in the top of the ninth, starting with back-to-back walks to left fielder Jake Casey and Oyama. The two advanced on a wild pitch to put the tying run at second. A ground out scored Casey, bringing the infield in. Right fielder Fenwick Trimble gave the Gatemen what they wanted on a ground ball, but the throw home bounced off the catcher’s glove to score Oyama.

Then, the Gatemen walked it off.

The Firebirds will have a tough task in Cotuit tomorrow at Eldredge Park as the Kettleers have won their last eight contests. The first pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. with Jonathan Gonzalez set to make his first start of the summer.

“We know we can hang with them,” Carapellotti said. “We’re chomping at the bit to get at ‘em, and we owe them a couple.”

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