Game 44: Orleans ends 2018 season with walk-off win agains...
Date: Aug 2, 2018
By Joe Catapano
Andrew Abbott walked off the mound for the last time of the summer with the bases loaded and two outs. Earlier in the fifth inning, he was an out away from a second straight scoreless 1-2-3 inning to end his season, but a catcher’s interference extended the frame and allowed five Harwich Mariners to reach base safely.
The southpaw, though, was the first player out of the dugout to greet right-hander Kevin Kelly (James Madison) when the reliever stranded the bases loaded. It prevented more runs being issued to Abbott’s name and kept the Firebirds within three runs.
“Going out there and being able to meet him first means a lot to me because he did his job for me and for the team,” Abbott said. “He saved me. I didn't do the job that I needed to do tonight so he came in and did his job.”
After Orleans came back to within one in the eighth inning, Harwich scored five times in the ninth to claim a 9-3 win. The Mariners are now 4-0 against the Firebirds this season.
Abbott’s fifth and final start of the summer wasn’t his best, but he had an overall successful month with Orleans. The rising sophomore conceded just two earned runs in his first 16 innings in the Firebirds uniform before Wednesday, good for a 1.13 ERA. The three earned runs he allowed against Harwich were the most in his five outings.
“He’s a good left-handed pitcher. He’s got a bright future ahead of him,” Orleans manager Kelly Nicholson said. “We’re looking forward to having him back next summer.”
Despite a slow start, Abbott shined in a 1-2-3 fourth inning before being tested again in the fifth. He retired the first two batters in the inning, hoping to the finish his season with another scoreless frame. But a catcher’s interference extended the inning before Abbott’s departure.
Abbott will stop home before returning to the University of Virginia, shut down the rest of the summer due to an innings limit. His final appearance didn’t go as planned — receiving the loss — but Kelly ensured the three runners Abbott left on base didn’t touch home plate.
“I could have driven home tomorrow feeling a little bit better about the performance,” Abbott said about the possibility of the finishing his season with two scoreless frames. “But at the end of the day it’s baseball. Bad things are going to happen and teams can collapse sometimes. “
The Firebirds trailed 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth, but scored twice on a pair of two-out hits from pinch-hitter Justin Lavey (Louisville) and Pat DeMarco (Vanderbilt). But Harwich scored five runs in the top of the ninth to provide cushion to its lead.
Abbott was dealt his second loss of the season, despite a 2.18 ERA in five appearances. Regardless, he thoroughly enjoyed his summer and is already looking forward to returning next year as a second-year player.
“I’ll miss these guys a lot. We came together as a team,” Abbott said. “We’re playing better right now and I'll wish them all the will I can from back at [Virginia].”