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Orleans no-hits Chatham as offensive struggles come to a head

by Chris Blake
Thursday, June 30, 2022

Orleans no-hits Chatham as offensive struggles come to a head

ORLEANS ' Block the ball. Catch it. Shuffle. Shuffle. Make the throw.

That's all Orleans catcher Garret Guillemette thought about as he put the final touches on the Firebirds' no-hitter against Chatham on Wednesday.

After fighting for five pitches, Tommy Caufield swung and missed at a ball in the dirt for the third strike. Guillemette sprung out from behind the plate, picked up the ball and fired to first for the final out. The Firebirds players let out a cheer and spilled out of their dugout to celebrate the 63rd no-hitter in the modern era of the Cape Cod Baseball League. It was the first no-hitter since Aug. 2, 2019, which the Anglers also found themselves on the wrong side of.

Bryce Warrecker, Josh Allen and Chris Clark combined to achieve the feat in Orleans' 4-0 win over Chatham at Eldredge Park.

For six innings, Warrecker pushed the Anglers' offense to a new low. The 6-foot-8 right-hander was perfect in his time on the mound. For the fourth consecutive game, Chatham struck out at least four times in the first two innings. Warrecker tallied seven of the Firebirds' 12 punchouts on the mound.

As the game progressed, the energy rose in Orleans' (7-7-2) dugout. In the top of the sixth, Johnny Castagnozzi poked a ground ball to first base. Cam Jones gloved it and tossed to Warrecker, who beat Castagnozzi to the bag to prompt a cheer from the Firebirds' dugout. Noah Ledford then drove a deep fly ball to center field, but Travis Honeyman ranged over to make the catch, drawing applause from the home crowd. Warrecker ended the inning by striking out Hayden Travinski.

The only thing that stopped Warrecker was his manager, Kelly Nicholson, who pulled his starter after 81 pitches.

'I wasn't upset about it,' Warrecker said. 'It was just fun being a part of a team no-hitter, seeing what my guys could do out of the bullpen. The conversation was, 'We'll hand the ball off. We trust our next guy.''

The Anglers (4-10-2) got their first base runner against Allen. After striking out the first batter he faced, Allen hit Marcus Brown on his right hand. Breaking up the perfect game became secondary as Caufield pinch ran for Brown, who eventually left the park early.

Following Brown, Roc Riggio bounced into a double play. Jones collected the grounder and stepped on first before firing to second base, where Austin Knight applied the tag on Caufield to end the frame.

Orleans' pitchers were backed by stellar defense. In the top of the third, Castagnozzi skied a foul ball near the first base dugout, where Jones made a sliding grab. Two batters later, Guillemette fell to the ground after catching a pop-up against the netting behind home plate.

Clark entered in the ninth inning to secure the win and finish the no-hitter.

'I just tried to throw strikes, command the zone and make quality pitches,' Clark said. 'It's kinda the same as any other night, but obviously the stakes are a little bit higher.'

The Anglers found their most success in the ninth inning. Clark hit Castagnozzi to begin the frame before walking Ledford. Travinski then put one of Chatham's most promising swings on the ball, pulling a line drive, but Kevin Sim snared it at third base for the first out of the inning.

Chatham's final two at-bats were more representative of its night. Jake DeLeo waved and missed at strike three before Caufield suffered the same fate.

Riggio stood frozen in the on-deck circle, watching the Firebirds bask in their accomplishment. It was all he could do as the results of a disasterous night sunk in.