By: Jack Loder, ORLEANS,
It’s summer once again in Cape Cod and the Orleans Firebirds are just days away from opening the 2022 season. This year’s team features a wide array of premiere Division I baseball talent from all over the country. We’ll be getting to know the roster both on and off the field a lot better very soon, but for now here’s a sneak peek at four names to look out for at Eldredge Park in the coming months.
Connor Burns is a Dirtbag, in a good way. He comes from Long Beach State, where his defense behind the plate made him the Big West conference defensive player of the year in 2022. While he struggled at the plate, he threw out 13 of 15 potential base stealers and posted a .993 fielding percentage. He and USC catcher Garret Guillemette, who is returning to the Firebirds after starring in 2021, will split time behind the plate.
Representing the Ivy League in Orleans, Chris Clark is the brains of the operation. With Harvard this season, Clark put up a 3.08 ERA in 18 appearances. He started four games for the Crimson but mostly starred out of the bullpen. He picked up two saves in 2022. The four seam fastball is his bread and butter and it’s a good one. Clark consistently touches 95 with the heater. His 6’5” frame coupled with the sizzling fastball will make him hard to miss.
Luke Keaschall just couldn’t get enough of the Firebird experience last summer, so he’s back again in 2022. Keaschall is an infielder from the University of San Francisco. He batted .305 and launched eight home runs in a stellar 2022 campaign. His most impressive stat? A .947 OPS. The Watsonville, California product grew up on the beaches of Santa Cruz, so his time on the Cape should feel a bit like home.
Wyatt Loncar joins the Firebirds from Ohio State University. The 6’6” right-handed is another towering hard throwing arm, heading into his senior year. He works with a dominant fastball in the mid 90s and a knee-buckling breaking ball as well. Look for Loncar to lead the Firebirds in strikeouts this summer. Between Loncar and Clark, power arms will be plenty at Eldredge park.
Kelly Nicholson returns as manager, providing continuity at the top when the other seven coaches will be spending their first summer with Orleans. Temporary players haven’t yet been announced, but the Firebirds will likely sign a few while players compete in Super Regionals and the College World Series over the next few weeks.