12 July 2008
Orleans Hitters Starting to Heat Up
As Cards Vie for East Division Pennant
ORLEANS, Mass. -- The Orleans Cardinals got off to a slow start, but they’ve managed to come on strong in the middle innings of the Cape Cod Baseball League season.
Though still lagging at the plate, the Cards’ strong pitching staff has kept them right in the middle of the East Division pennant race, battling the Hyannis Mets and the Cotuit Kettleers for supremacy. Now, their bats are starting to come alive.
“It’s just the nature of the game,” said Orleans catching coach Larry Day. “Baseball is a game of small adjustments. Coming up here, playing every night when they’re used to three games a week, using a wooden bat … there has to be an adjustment period for these guys. That’s what we went through that first week.”
The players also need to adjust to stronger pitching staffs. “They’re facing a Friday night guy every night,” Day said. The Cardinals struggled against opposing pitchers and are near the bottom of the league in total base hits, but their luck seems to be holding up.
“In the last week, we’ve been able to put good pitching and good hitting together,” said Day. “That’s the equation to win with.”
Orleans Manager Kelly Nicholson hopes that the hitting will pick up. “I think it helps how Rich Poythress (Georgia) jumped right into the lineup and immediately started hitting,” he said. “Hitting is contagious.”
“It’s different guys hitting every night,” said Nicholson. “If they continue to combine good hitting and good pitching, they could stay on top of the league.”
It doesn’t hurt that the Cardinals’ have one of the league’s best pitching staffs.
“Coach (Chris) Beck does a really good job with the pitchers,” said Nicholson. “He’s done the same thing, game in and game out, emphasizing first-pitch strikes. When we can get that them, we can get a leg up early in the game.”
Ashley Crosby, CCBL Intern ([email protected])
Interns: Chris Blake, James Chandley, Ashley Crosby, Phil Garceau, Stefanie Marini, Laura Rasmussen