Birds offense struggles to get off ground in 2-1 loss to Gatemen

Photo by Sophia Soropoulos|Art or Photo Credit: Sophia Soropoulos

Photo by Sophia Soropoulos

The Birds welcomed the Gatemen to Eldredge Park on Tuesday night for game two of their season series, as they looked to earn back-to-back wins for the first time this summer.

In contrast to the Firebirds' league-worst offense, the Gatemen sit at the top of the offensive leaderboard, hits-wise.

Wareham's early offensive firepower helped them mount two comebacks over the weekend, at Bourne and against Hyannis, that helped extend their win streak to three coming into the matchup with Orleans.

Cody Bowker (Georgetown) would be tasked with slowing down the red-hot Wareham offense from the mound. Despite hitting Bobby Boser (South Florida) with a pitch to give the Gatemen an early base runner, Bowker did his job and gave the Birds a clean first two innings. This was a notable improvement for the Birds' early pitching, as two runs in the first two innings helped Wareham quickly seize the win in their first meeting of the summer.

One thing that didn't change from the Firebirds' last meeting with the Gatemen, was the dominant pitching of Tate McGuire (Arkansas), who was on the mound for the first time since earning the win against the Birds exactly a week prior.

After Bowker and McGuire traded one-two-three innings to bring the game into the third, two straight-line drive singles put Wareham's Sam White (West Virginia) in scoring position on second.

A force out at second allowed White to advance to third, and a wild pitch from Bowker sent White sprinting to home down the third base line, giving Wareham the first run of the game.

With the Birds continuing to struggle against the right arm of McGuire, the pressure on Cody Bowker to keep the game a one-run difference continued to mount.

After Bowker again retired the first three Wareham batters to come up to the plate, McGuire responded by doing the same, going one-two-three and not giving Bowker a moment to rest his arm, which had kept the Birds in the game.

With Bowker not having much time between outings, it was only a matter of time before the Gatemen took advantage, and to start the fifth, Sam White did just that.

On the second hit of his Cape League debut, White launched a solo homer over the left-center wall, earning both Warehams and his own second score of the night.

A flyout to Lorenzo Meola (Stetson) kept it a manageable 2-0 game.

As the sixth inning approached both teams went into their bullpen for some fresh arms down the stretch. Jayden Voelker (Northern Essex CC), who replaced Bowker on the mound, immediately put together a two-strike, one-two-three inning.

Gavin Black (Mississippi St), who came to relieve McGuire of his duties on the mound, would give the Birds their first hit in the bottom of the sixth, as Roch Cholowsky (UCLA) drove a single into left field. Hudson Shupe (Gonzaga) followed with a groundout, that would strand Cholowsky on first, and keep the Birds scoreless through six.

With each side's bullpen continuing to dominate, the Firebirds found themselves with one last chance to rally in the bottom of the ninth, down 2-0.

JP Smith would start things off for the Birds after he was hit by a pitch and unconventionally rounded the bases off a balk and a force-out, and sprinted home off a wild pitch by Jake Faherty (Arkansas) to bring the Birds within one.

Unfortunately for Orleans, just as the game began with the dominance of an Arkansas pitcher, it ended with one, as Faherty struck out the next two Birds, shutting down any hope for a rally and ending the game.

The Birds will look for a spark to turn their season around against the Commodores as they travel down the Cape to Falmouth, where their 2-6 season took its turn last summer.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm.