After rain washed out the full Cape Cod Baseball League slate on Tuesday, teams got back to action last night.
Orleans and Hyannis certainly made up for the lack of baseball.
The Firebirds and the Harbor Hawks played 14 innings at Eldredge Park, the longest game of the 2012 season so far. Orleans ultimately prevailed 6-5 to move to 10-1 on the year.
I wouldn’t have picked these two teams to stage a 14-inning classic. The Firebirds have the best record in the league, and the Harbor Hawks have the worst record — now 10-1 and 1-10.
But after Orleans tied the game in the fifth inning, nothing separated the teams for the next eight innings.
The Firebirds, who are no strangers to close games, finally broke through in the bottom of the 14th. Facing Jimmy Hodgskin (Troy), the eighth Hyannis pitcher of the night, Cody Kulp (Shippensburg) started the frame with a single. A bunt moved him to second before an error on a ball off the bat of Pi’ikea Kitamura (Hawaii) allowed Kulp to score the winning run.
It was the sixth one-run game the Firebirds, and their fifth win in those games. It was their first extra-inning game.
Hyannis actually took a 5-0 lead in the second inning. Brett Michael Doran (Stanford) hit a grand slam to power the burst. But Orleans quickly chipped away, getting two in the bottom of the second, one in the third and tying the game with two in the fifth.
From there, the bullpens dominated. Six Harbor Hawk pitchers combined to allow just three hits in nine scoreless innings, led by Carson Cross (UConn), who struck out five in three innings. That bullpen work is a bright spot for Hyannis, which had struggled in that department.
Seven Orleans relievers surrendered six hits in 10 shutout innings. Kyle Crockett (Virginia) carried a big load with six strikeouts in four innings. Dylan Covey (San Diego) picked up the win after getting the final out of the 14th.
Reed Gragnani (Virginia) and J.T. Riddle (Kentucky) each hit home runs to lead the Orleans offense. And as always, an extra-innings game delivered an odd line — Orleans leadoff man Jay Gonzalez (Auburn) went 0-for-2 with five walks, and he reached base six times. The sixth was on a dropped third strike.
Another game, another win for Harwich — and two more home runs. The Mariners beat Y-D 4-3 and brought their league-leading home run total to 20. Philip Ervin (Samford) hit his league-best sixth and his college teammate C.K. Irby hit his first. Ervin is now one home run away from matching the end-of-season league-leading total from each of the last two years. Eric Jagielo (Notre Dame) and Sam Dove (Georgia Tech) added two hits each for Harwich. Making his second start for the Mariners, Aaron Nola (LSU) struck out five and allowed one run on three hits in six innings. His LSU teammate Joey Bourgeois allowed two runs in two innings before Zane Evans (Georgia Tech) came on for his second save. Sean Dwyer (Florida Gulf Coast) hit a home run for Y-D.
Brewster has quietly gotten right back into the Eastern Division mix. The Whitecaps beat Chatham 6-4 for their third straight win. They’re now tied for fourth with Y-D and are just a game back of Chatham for third. On this night, Brewster took a 4-0 lead in the third and never trailed. Trevor Mitsui (Washington) went 2-for-3 with three RBI, while returning all-star Jason Monda (Washington State) broke out of a slump with a 3-for-4 day. Dan Olinger (Minnesota) went 3-for-3. On the mound for the Whitecaps, James Leckenby (Washington State) was impressive in his first start of the summer, striking out seven and allowing just two hits in four shutout innings. Chatham chipped away against the Brewster bullpen, but Jake Kalish (George Mason) slammed the door with a scoreless ninth.
Wareham finally put a good offensive showing together with strong pitching performances in a 9-1 victory over Bourne. The Gatemen had lost two straight games by big margins, and before that, they scored a lot of runs but had to win a slugfest over Falmouth. This time, it all clicked. Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech) went 2-for-5 with a double and a home run while Mott Hyde (Georgia Tech) went 3-for-5. The Gatemen finished with 14 hits. On the mound, Brad Kuntz (Baylor) surrendered just a run on two hits while striking out six in five innings. Nick Rumbelow (LSU) and Joe Filomeno (Louisville) combined for four scoreless innings of relief. Wareham improved to 5-6.
It was also a lopsided affair in Cotuit, where Falmouth beat the Kettleers 9-2. The Commodores had 13 hits — and four home runs — on their way to their sixth win of the season, which gets them back over .500. Returning all-star Jake Rodriguez (Oregon State) made his debut for the Commodores and gave them a big boost as he went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. Jared King (Kansas State), Michael O’Neill (Michigan) and Brad Fieger (Miami) had the other home runs. Drew Dosch (Youngstown State) went 3-for-5 to bring his average to .341, and Jonathan McGibbon (Clemson) went 2-for-4. On the mound, Trey Masek (Texas Tech) scattered five hits and didn’t allow an earned run in five innings. Three relievers combined for four scoreless innings.
What to Watch
The big Orleans-Harwich match-up that was postponed on Tuesday is set for tonight, and with one more game in the books, the match-up looks just as exciting. Orleans is now 10-1 and has won eight straight games while Harwich is 9-2 and has won seven in a row. Rice standout Austin Kubitza is scheduled to get the ball for the Firebirds, while Kentucky freshman A.J. Reed will start for Harwich. The game is at 7 p.m. in Harwich.
Also, check back here later today for the second edition of the Right Field Fog Power Rankings.