story by Steve McCarthy
June 20, 2010
ORLEANS – The Orleans Firebirds capitalized on Cotuit Kettleers starting pitcher Thomas Keeling’s (Oklahoma St.) shaky Cape Cod Baseball League debut and defeated the visitors 5-3 Sunday night at Eldredge Park in Orleans.
Keeling (0-1) walked five batters in an inning plus and allowed four runs. Three of the runs were plated with sacrifice flies.
Orleans got back to .500 at 3-3 while Cotuit fell to 1-5-1. It was the second time in three days the Firebirds beat the Kettleers. Cotuit will look to right the ship Monday evening in a home game against Falmouth.
The Kettleers made it a two-run game in their final at-bat and loaded the bases with two outs for power-hitting cleanup hitter Paul Hoilman (East Tennessee St.), but Orleans right fielder Steve Selsky (Arizona) laid out to grab Hoilman’s rocket to the warning track for the game’s final out.
“He misses that ball, they might score three on that,” Orleans manager Kelly Nicholson said. “It was a hell of a catch.”
Orleans starter Marcus Stroman (Duke) pitched five shutout innings for the win, scattering three hits and striking out five. He did not walk a batter.
“I felt like I established my fastball early and then it helped me later in the game,” Stroman said. “I just tried to keep the ball low.”
Selsky and Will Piwinica-Worms (Duke) were the only two Firebirds with multi-hit games. Orleans’ hitters were able to be selective against Keeling, though, and send balls deep into the outfield with less than two outs to allow baserunners to advance.
“We did a really nice job hitting situationally tonight,” Nicholson said.
Cotuit leadoff hitter Chad Wright (Kentucky) singled in three of his four at-bats. Joey Hainsfurther (Baylor) had a double and a single. Cotuit had eight hits to Orleans’ six.
Keeling issued three free passes in the first inning, including one with the bases loaded. Selsky and Kevin Muno (San Diego) each tagged from third on sac-flies in the inning.
“Any time you have a guy out there struggling with command, you’ve got to be patient and wait for your pitch,” Nicholson said. “I thought they did a good job of that tonight.”
Selsky’s sac-fly scored Cam Kneeland (UMass-Lowell) in the second inning and Piwinica-Worms made it 5-0 in the fifth with an RBI-single off Cotuit submarine style reliever Michael Frongello (Davidson).
“I actually played with (Frongello) last summer, so I know his tendencies,” Piwinica-Worms said. “I just knew you’ve got to see it up before you swing and I got lucky on that one.”
The Kettleers pushed two runs across in the sixth inning facing Orleans reliever Cameron Hobson (Dayton) with a pair of sac-flies of their own by Hoilman and Levi Hyams (Georgia).
Frongello allowed one run in four and two-thirds innings of relief. Newly acquired righthander Austin Wood (St. Petersburg College) worked the last two innings.
Hobson, Dennis O’Grady (Duke), and Burny Mitchem (Dayton) each struck out two out of the bullpen for Orleans. Mitchem allowed Cotuit’s ninth-inning run.
Cotuit’s game on Monday at Lowell Park is scheduled for 5 p.m.