By Lance Reynolds
ORLEANS, Mass. ? Brendan Nail has been a consistent source of outs out of the bullpen for the Y-D Red Sox all season long.
Nail has been such a dynamo out of the pen, in fact, that he earned an all-star selection in last Saturday?s all-star game in Wareham.
Considering that the left-handed reliever had only signed a temporary contract before the start of the season, the success that Nail has had this summer has been more than a pleasant surprise for Y-D.
On an on-and-off misty Thursday night at Eldredge Park, Nail turned in his most important outing of the season and ultimately paved the way to a pressure-filled 10-inning 4-2 win over the Orleans Firebirds. The win moves the Red Sox to within one point of the Eastern Division leading Firebirds.
?He has a lot of poise out there. He knows he is the man on the mound, and he knows that his stuff is good and that he?s going to have to make a mistake to get beat,? reliever Hunter Parsons said of Nail. ?His mindset is that he?s not going to get beat, and he showed it again tonight. He just doesn?t get beat easy, it?s hard to beat that guy on the mound.?
Y-D field manager Scott Pickler called Nail into the game to take over for Karl Blum, who was on in relief for starter Josh McMinn, with runners on first and second and two outs. ?All it took Nail was one pitch to get the Red Sox out of the jam, as he induced an inning-ending groundout.
However, Nail found himself in a precarious situation in the seventh.
The lefty, who started at Western Carolina this spring, loaded the bases with one out and he had to face the no. three and four hitters in the Orleans lineup in Romy Gonzalez and Stephen Scott.
Like he has all season long, Nail didn?t give into the pressure.
He struck out Gonzalez swinging on a fastball low in the dirt for the second out, and then got out of the jam unscathed by forcing Scott into a pop-out for the third out of the inning.
?I was put in another situation where I was having to put up another zero. I really enjoy it, coming out of the bullpen is awesome,? Nail said. ?[Pickler] told me to throw the curveball, and recently the curveball has been working. If it?s not broke, don?t fix it.?
Perhaps, the biggest play in Nail?s appearance Thursday was when he backed up Christian Koss at third base on a flyout in the eighth. After Cesar Salazar flew out to Carlos Cortes in right, Jaxx Groshans tagged up and tried to advance to third. Cortes? throw went past the glove of Koss, and if Nail wasn?t at the right spot at the right time, the Firebirds would have taken a 3-2 lead.
?It?s always been taught, ever since I was young as a pitcher, that you have to back up the throws. Coaches in college really harp on it,? Nail said. ?Pick has said to get as deep as you can to the out-of-bounds area and just make sure it doesn?t cross. I?ve always worked on it.?
Nail?s two-inning shutout appearance Thursday allowing three Orleans hitters to reach base is just another performance that has proven to be clutch. It was his seventh appearance lasting at least two innings, and he has given up earned runs in just two of his 14 outings this season.
In a July 5 5-3 win at Hyannis, Nail threw 3.2 innings of shutout ball.
On July 14 in a 2-1 victory over the Brewster Whitecaps that started a nine game winning streak, Nail recorded seven of his nine outs via strikeout in three solid shutout innings.
?I credit that most to starting this year,? Nail said. ?I go five to seven innings, so from there you work on pacing yourself, but out of the bullpen you like to come out hot. I?ve been able to have enough stamina and have enough endurance to go multiple innings.?
Y-D finishes the season series with the Firebirds at 5-1, with the two teams most likely destined to meet in the second round of the CCBL playoffs, with the first round beginning August 5.
?Orleans is a great staff, and they have a great offense, as well,? Nail said. ?As long as you can pitch around and use your off-speed and locate in the zone, you have a good chance of winning.?
Y-D (24-12-1) hosts the Chatham Anglers at Red Wilson Field with a 5:00 pm first pitch Friday.
Note: In a previous version of this article it was stated that Nick Quintana was the third baseman involved in a past ball thrown from right field. The Y-D Red Sox media staff regrets this error.