By Lance Reynolds
Standing six-foot-three and weighing 220 pounds, left-handed starting pitcher Kris Bubic is an intimidating presence on the mound for opposing hitters. When his go-to-pitch ? a fastball ? is working, Bubic can factor in his breaking pitches to make him even more effective.
On Monday night at a blustery Eldredge Park, Bubic dialed in on all of his pitches in his Cape Cod Baseball League debut en route to a 2-1 Y-D Red Sox victory over the Orleans Firebirds.
After the left-handed starter gave up a Lars Nootbaar leadoff single to the right-center gap in the first inning, Bubic got rid of his season debut jitters and retired the next six Firebird hitters, including three via strikeout.
Up-and-down the Orleans lineup, the Firebird hitters were an aggressive bunch. Bubic attacked the zone with many first-pitch fastballs, and he reaped the rewards as he produced five first-pitch outs on the night to go along with throwing less than 10-pitches in the second, fourth, and fifth innings.
?I could tell they were aggressive,? Bubic said. ?As long as I hit my spot and kept the ball down, they were going to get themselves out, especially with the wooden bats.?
Bubic tossed six-plus innings of one-run ball while striking out four and allowing four hits and two walks to earn his first win. The winning pitcher was touched for his lone earned run when Jeff Houghtby drove in Ethan Paul ? the last hitter Bubic faced ? on a sacrifice fly off a relieving Troy Terzie in the bottom of the seventh.
?Coming right out of the gate I was commanding the fastball on both sides of the plate, and Coach Pick called a great game,? Bubic said. ?Just pitching off of the fastball, using a couple of change-ups and a couple of curveballs early to keep hitters off-balance.?
As dominant as Bubic was for the Red Sox, Logan Gilbert was as equally effective for Orleans. Gilbert, a right-hander out of Stetson, kept the Y-D offense at bay as he allowed no earned runs in six innings of work while striking out four and giving up four hits.
?He?s a good pitcher,? Bubic said of facing off against Gilbert. ?We were going neck-and-neck there. He was having a lot of quick innings, too.?
The Y-D defense backed Bubic up with some splendid plays in the field throughout the evening.
In the bottom of the fifth, catcher Kole Cottam, who was also making his Red Sox debut Monday, snagged a foul ball against the backstop for the second out. Two batters later, Firebird Austin Hale rocketed a grounder to the right side of the infield, but Luke Miller scooped the ball up and touched first for the final out.
An inning later when Orleans threatened to push across their first run with runners on first and second, shortstop Connor Kaiser and second baseman Nico Hoerner turned a nifty inning ending double play to get Bubic out of the sixth unscathed.
?Kole was great tonight, and he is a great target to throw to,? Bubic said. ?He made me feel real comfortable out on the mound. Our middle infield and everybody in the field tonight did a great job.?
Riley McCauley earned his third save in as many appearances for the Red Sox by throwing a scoreless bottom of the ninth, striking out Houghtby to finish out Y-D?s third win on the season.
“It?s a big honor,? McCauley said of being tabbed as the Red Sox closer. ?Winning three championships in the Cape is a huge deal, a lot of big leaguers come through here, so it?s a big honor.?
Y-D (3-1) is back home for three straight contests this week, starting with Brewster Tuesday evening with first pitch at 5:00 p.m.