Playoffs Game 1: Orleans comeback falls short in home loss...
Date: Aug 2, 2019
By: Alec Henden
HYANNIS, Mass. – A top-notch pitching staff is something every baseball team seeks. When you have a reliable core of workhorses that continually give your team a chance to win, it can cover up some other weaknesses on a roster.
The Orleans Firebirds, through eight games of the season, have three times held their opponents scoreless and hold the best earned-run average in the Cape Cod Baseball League. It was their opening night starter and their game two pitcher, getting revenge that allowed them to dispatch of the struggling Hyannis Harbor Hawks 4-0 at McKeon Park.
Left-hander Adam Seminaris (Long Beach State) threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out two and issuing no walks.
There was a scary moment for Seminaris as he was struck in the leg by a line drive off the bat of Hyannis first baseman Brooks Carlson (Samford). Seminaris left the field, walking off on his own power. He was only slated to throw four innings for the Birds as the team looks to preserve his arm for later in the season.
“His command of his fastball right now is pretty unbelievable,” Orleans pitching coach Mathew Troupe said. “I haven’t seen anything like that in a while. He’s putting it exactly where he wants, especially establishing that inside half and then it sets up the changeup away.”
Following Seminaris’ injury, the Firebirds (4-3-1) turned to two pitchers who had rough beginnings to their seasons. Connor Pellerin (Tulane) and Andrew Abbott (Virginia) struggled in their initial appearances and looked to redeem themselves. Both delivered Wednesday evening in Hyannis.
Pellerin tossed 1 1/3 shutout innings with two strikeouts, while Abbott pitched three scoreless and struck out four Harbor Hawk hitters.
“The best thing I think I was doing was getting ahead of the hitters with fastballs,” Abbott said. “I didn’t have a good first outing, so I wanted to come out and make sure that this one was a good one.”
Both pitchers impressed their pitching coach by turning the page and rebounding with solid outings. But he had a specific player who he deemed worthy of credit for the pitching staff’s success.
“The shoutout has to go to David Avitia,” Troupe said. “I’ve been around the college ranks for the past eight years and there’s no doubt in my mind he’s the best catcher I’ve seen. I’m awestruck by what he does with pitches low in the zone.”
The Firebirds busted out with the bats with three runs in the fourth inning as the first three hitters all reached base and scored. Zach Kokoska (Kansas State) roped a backbreaking two-out single to right field giving Orleans the comfortable advantage.
It was a breakout night for Avitia (Grand Canyon), who registered his first hit of the season and drove in two runs. Avitia has received praise for his work behind the dish but was happy to get his first hit of the summer.
“I’ve been working in the cage and getting some extra swings in and it finally paid off,” Avitia said. “It feels good now.”
Despite the early offensive output, the Firebirds had plenty of opportunities to blow the game open as they stranded 12 runners on base. Outfielder Jordan Lala (Miami) had a nice night at the plate, going 2-for-4 and scoring a run. Lala had struggled to get rolling at the plate most of the season, starting just 2-for-20. He was happy with the individual results but knows the team will need to do a better job of not stranding runners.
“When we have a lead like this we need to take all the little chances we can get,” Lala said. “If that means moving a runner over or getting that timely hit. But anytime you have 12 runners left on base that’s unacceptable.”
Hyannis (0-7-1) fell behind early and was unable to do anything late against the Firebird arms. With the current combined strength of the East Division, the Firebirds will need to take advantage when facing middling opponents.
Orleans will now return to Eldredge Park for a two-game homestand, starting with a rematch against the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox on Thursday evening. Y-D defeated the Firebirds 8-2 in their lone previous matchup at Red Wilson Field.
- Seminaris has now thrown 24 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run dating back to the collegiate regular season.
- Utility player A.J. Lewis (Eastern Kentucky) lost his six-game hitting streak in the victory over Hyannis, but still worked two walks and brought in a run with a double play ball.
- Cole Wilcox (Tennessee) will toe the rubber in Thursday night’s game against Y-D. It will begin a stretch of four of five games at Eldredge Park.