Error proves costly in Birds' 4-3 loss in Brewster


(Above photo by Sophia Soropoulos)

Over the past eight meetings between the neighboring Firebirds and Whitecaps, Orleans has had its way.

Spanning back to the beginning of last summer, the Birds have had the Caps' number, sweeping last summer's six-game season series, and coming out on top after their first two matchups this summer.

But on Sunday night, for the first time in two seasons and 706 days, a match between Orleans and Brewster resulted in an Orleans loss.

While it may go down as a loss on the record for Kelly Nicholson's starter on the mound, lefty Miles Gosztola (Gonzaga) picked up where Callan Fang left off in the strike zone the night prior and retired nine straight Whitecaps after allowing a hit in the bottom of the first.

Gosztola's performance kept the Birds' offense well within striking distance, as he finished his 5 1/3-inning shift leaving only one run behind.

Ryder Helfrick (Arkansas), who ran in the lone score during the Gonzaga product's time on the mound, initially got on base off a line drive to center. Helfrick's drive looked like it was heading straight to the glove of Birds outfielder Landon Moran (Stetson), but a rare Moran misjudgment caused him to overrun the deep drive, resulting in it dropping for a triple.

Following Helfrick's run home from third, Gosztola only needed to secure one more out to get the Birds out of the inning. Unfortunately for Nicholson's starter, his next pitch hit Whitecaps catcher Max Kaufer (Texas A&M), which loaded the bases for Brewster.

After the free pass, Orleans pitching coach Jim Lawler visited the mound to discuss the next hitter, Cooper Vest (Brigham Young), with Gosztola. Following Lawler's words of advice, the lefty quickly struck out Vest on three pitches to get the Birds out of a bases-loaded jam.

Hoping not only to make up the run surrendered in the previous inning, but also to get in a groove he's been looking for all summer, Jack Gurevitch (San Diego) led off for the Birds.

Gurevitch looked on track to do both after his blooper that fell into shallow center turned him into the tying run. He advanced to third following a fielding error during a throw-out attempt of Lorenzo Meola (Stetson) at first and a Mike Mancini (Vanderbilt) sacrifice bunt, respectively.

The San Diego Torero completed his run around the bases to tie the game after Khadim Diaw (Loyola Marymount) drove a ball into center to notch his third RBI of the summer.

Gurevitch didn't just score on Sunday night; he also drove in runs. His two-run triple to start the sixth inning brought in both Bennett Markinson (Northwestern) and Hudson Shupe (Gonzaga), giving Orleans a 3-1 lead.

However, as the game approached the bottom of the seventh, the tables quickly turned on the Birds. The Whitecaps went on to put together a three-run inning to suddenly jump in front, 4-3, a lead they maintained throughout the remainder of the game.

Despite breaking out of a slump of his own, Gurevitch remains focused on lifting the entire Birds offense and hopes his performance can spark a team-wide resurgence.

"Hopefully it rubs off on the other guys," Gurevich said. "One guy goes and everyone goes, it's contagious. It's only a matter of time before the Birds get hot."

The Birds hope to see everything fall into place on Monday night, as they travel west down Route 28 to Falmouth for the second, and last time of the summer.

First pitch from Guv Fuller Field is scheduled for 6 p.m.