Offense answers call down the stretch, Birds get back in win column

Art or Photo Credit: Sophia Soropoulos

(Above photo by Sophia Soropoulos)

After a two-day break from Cape League action, the Firebirds got back to work Tuesday night when they paid a visit to the Kettleers at Lowell Park.

Coming off a memorable Monday at Fenway Park, which Ben Zeigler-Namoa (Hawaii) could only describe as "a dream," the Birds looked to carry some momentum back to the Cape League, after recording nine runs in their scrimmage against a New England scout team.

The Birds might not have put up nine runs in Tuesday's victory at Lowell Park, but they did what they struggled to do in Saturday's loss in Harwich: move runners in scoring position.

Whether it was a result of a line drive into center, smart base running, or a perfect sacrifice bunt in Landon Moran's (Stetson) case, the Birds consistently found ways to capitalize on scoring opportunities.

Orleans manager Kelly Nicholson, who after Saturday's loss in Harwich was looking for more baseballs to find the gaps, got his wish in Tuesday's win with Moran's sacrifice bunt.

"Lando can really handle that bat," Nicholson said. "It's something we talked about. It's a free run if you execute that play, and we executed and got the free run."

The Birds' success wasn't limited to the offensive side of the ball, however, as Cody Bowker (Georgetown) did what no pitcher has been able to do over the past 10 games: He shut down the Ketts' offense.

The Kettleers rank top three in hits, runs, batting average and home runs, but on Tuesday night, Bowker held them scoreless for five innings.

Following Bowker's efficient outing from the mound, Jayden Voelker (Northern Essex CC) checked in, hoping to continue what Bowker started.

The Ketts' bats promptly returned to form against the fresh arm of Voelker as Tanner Thach (UNC Wilmington) quickly gave Cotuit their first lead of the night with a solo homer off Voelker's first pitch.

Jack Gurevitch (San Diego) didn't allow the Kettleers to get too comfortable with their lead. With a two-out line drive to center field, he allowed his college teammate Austin Smith (San Diego) to round the bases all the way from first to tie the game once again.

After Moran's aforementioned sacrifice bunt gave Orleans a one-run, 4-3 lead, Sean Matson (Harvard) checked in for his nightly closing shift.

Matson, who Kelly Nicholson calls "the best closer in the country," once again answered the call out of the bullpen, and put the final stamp on the Birds' fourth win of the summer.

The Birds will look to string two wins together for the first time this summer, as they will see the Chatham Anglers for Game 1 of a two-game, July Fourth miniseries.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.