ORLEANS — The Firebirds picked up two of the most important late-season wins possible by beating Yarmouth-Dennis and Hyannis on back-to-back nights this week. Both opponents sit on top of their respective divisions with the Cape Cod Baseball League regular season schedule reaching its climax.
The Firebirds were holding onto the fourth and final playoff spot in the East Division when they managed a trio of wins over the league’s top two teams, including two against Yarmouth-Dennis, to fortify their position in the playoff picture and move into third place.
Sunday’s loss to Brewster, which had already locked up a postseason berth, ended the much-needed winning streak for Orleans. Back-to-back losses to Brewster came against a team that picked up its fourth win in a row and went 6-3-1 in its last 10 games.
Isaac Humphrey has had the hot bat of late for the Firebirds. The Calhoun, Ky. native has at least one hit in each of his last five games and leads the team with a .269 average. He also had two RBIs and struck out just twice in the same stretch.
Bryce Warrecker is one of four pitchers with four wins this season and his 1.36 ERA ranks second in the league. The Orleans pitching staff is one of the best in the league, giving up just 3.9 runs per game.
Orleans was scheduled to play its regular season finale against Wareham on Tuesday night.
Orleans 4, Yarmouth-Dennis 1
Gray Harrison and Collin Kramer combined to shut down the Yarmouth-Dennis lineup in a 4-1 Orleans win on July 29. Harrison pitched five innings, giving up just one earned run on three hits before Kramer came on in relief and allowed two hits and no runs. Cam Jones was 2 for 4 at the plate and drove in two runs for Orleans, including a single that scored both runs in the bottom of the eighth that led to the final score.
Orleans 3, Hyannis 0
In the space of two days, Orleans beat the two teams leading the East and West Divisions, following up Friday’s victory by blanking the Hyannis Harbor Hawks 3-0 on July 30. Ben Shields went six strong innings on the mound for Orleans, recording eight strikeouts and allowing just three hits. Ryan Bourassa picked up the save. Firebirds left fielder Jack Bulger was 3 for 4 in the middle of the lineup and scored the team’s first run in the second inning when Garret Guillemette hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Orleans tacked on another in the third to make it 2-0 before scoring with one out in the sixth. Harbor Hawks Magdiel Cotto was tagged for nine hits and allowed all three runs in five innings.
Brewster 5, Orleans 0
Orleans saw its win streak come to an end at the hands of Brewster in a 5-0 loss on July 31 at Eldredge Park. The Whitecaps opened the game with two runs in the first inning when Dylan Goldstein cleared the bases with a double. Patrick Reilly settled in after averting a large number and pitched three scoreless innings before being pulled. The Firebirds, meanwhile, left 12 men on base and had just five players record a hit. Brewster made it 5-0 with a two-run seventh inning after a fielding error allowed the extra run to cross home plate.
Brewster 11, Orleans 8
Orleans slid to back-to-back defeats in a home-and-home with Brewster as the Firebirds’ comeback bid fell short in an 11-8 loss on Aug. 1 at Stony Brook Field. Despite going 1 for 4 at the plate, Luke Keaschall had one of his better appearances after struggling in his last three outings. He recorded two RBIs and reached base on a walk. The Whitecaps, who made it four straight wins, broke out of the gate and took a 10-0 lead after four innings. The Firebirds fought back with seven runs in the sixth, sparked by a Nik McClaughry two-RBI single, but their comeback lost steam as they were held scoreless over the final three frames.