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2021 Shorebirds Year in Review!

Take a look back at a memorable 2021 Shorebirds season!
September 22, 2021

The 25th season of Delmarva Shorebirds may have been delayed a year, but it was well worth the wait. The Shorebirds and Arthur W. Perdue Stadium continued to be one of the crown jewels of the Delmarva peninsula, welcoming the community back for the latest installment of Shorebirds baseball. The

The 25th season of Delmarva Shorebirds may have been delayed a year, but it was well worth the wait. The Shorebirds and Arthur W. Perdue Stadium continued to be one of the crown jewels of the Delmarva peninsula, welcoming the community back for the latest installment of Shorebirds baseball.

The Silver anniversary of Shorebirds baseball saw the team enter into a new league, with new teams, and a new schedule format. Delmarva was placed into the newly christened Low-A East League in the Northern division with the Fredericksburg Nationals, Lynchburg Hillcats, and Salem Red Sox. The new schedule saw the ‘Birds play Tuesday through Sunday with Monday off in a 120-game season.

May

The anticipation leading to the return of Minor League baseball was immense as Delmarva began their season on May 4 at home against the Salem Red Sox. With a roster loaded with Top-30 prospects from the Baltimore Orioles system, Gunnar Henderson started the season with a bang, swatting a two-run opposite field homer in hist first at-bat. It was the start of a stupendous month for both Henderson and the Shorebirds. As a team, the squad raced out to a 17-6 record, averaging over seven runs per game of offense and rattling off an eight-game winning streak. Henderson collected a Low-A East League Player of the Week nod before ultimately being named Low-A East Player of the Month for May after slashing .313/.391/.613 with six doubles, six homers, and 30 RBI.

It wasn’t just a one-man show however, as Henderson was joined by 2020 1st rounder Jordan Westburg. Westburg also collected a Low-A East League Player of the Week nod and was named Orioles Minor League Player of the Month after he hit .366/.484/.592 with five doubles, a triple, three homers, and 24 driven in. JD Mundy was also a huge contributor, smashing six doubles and four homers while driving in 20 and slashing .324/.461/.577 with an OPS of 1.038. By the end of the month, Mundy and Westburg earned themselves promotions to High-A Aberdeen.

June

After a scintillating start to the season, the ‘Birds backed it up with a solid June. The squad went 16-10 in June with the pitching staff shouldering the load. They sported a league-best ERA of 2.84 for the month, walking just 91 batters in 221.2 innings while holding opponents to a paltry .203 average, helping the side to seven wins to close out the month. Eight different Shorebirds pitchers had an ERA under 2.00 for the month (minimum five innings pitched). Undrafted free agent Ryan Watson out of Auburn had a 0.57 ERA for the month while Jake Lyons went 2-0 with a 1.31 ERA and 33 punchouts in 20.2 frames. Zach Peek also dominated with a 1-1 record and 1.47 ERA, striking out 27.

July

Although the squad regressed record-wise with a 10-17 mark, July saw a lot of positive moments for the ‘Birds. Carrying over a series that had started in June, TT Bowens wrapped up his July 4 weekend by winning Low-A East League Player of the Week. Bowens hit an absurd 12-for-22 (.545) with two doubles and three homers, driving in six and scoring 10 times with an OPS of 1.675.

‘Birds manager Dave Anderson secured his 600th career MiLB win on July 7th, just another milestone for the venerable Major League veteran, both on the diamond as a player and as a coach.

On July 10, Delmarva set their season-high in attendance with 5,874 in attendance to see the ‘Birds down Salem 7-2.

The big news of the month was the MLB First-Year Player Draft which saw the Orioles pick 5th overall which helped lead to the raucous month of August.

August

After a ho-hum start to the month everything changed on August 17. In a series of roster transactions that were earth-shattering in their scope, Delmarva added 15 new players including 14 players from the Orioles 2021 Draft Class. Among them were 5th overall selection Colton Cowser, 2nd Rounders Connor Norby and Reed Trimble, 3rd Rounder John Rhodes, 4th Rounder Donta’ Williams, and 5th Rounder Carlos Tavera. Over the course of the month, even more draftees would be added, as Delmarva had 19 new faces suit up for them during the month.

The new squad hit the ground running, sweeping the Fredericksburg Nationals in a six-game home series including highlights of a Colton Cowser walk-off single in front of a packed house on Saturday, August 21, and the Shorebirds pounding of the FredNats to the tune of a 55-16 series score. The first game the new team played together saw a lineup composed entirely of ‘Birds debuts and led to a 10-1 shellacking of Fredericksburg.

That was just the start however, as Delmarva rattled off a seven-game winning streak and won 13 of their first 18 games together, averaging nearly nine runs a game.

September

The final month of the season saw the Shorebirds play deeper into the fall than ever before with the schedule wrapping up the third week of September due to the delayed start. Delmarva opened the month with a series win over the Carolina Mudcats where they averaged over 11 runs per game and saw a performance for the ages from 2021 10th Round Pick Billy Cook out of Pepperdine. On September 4, Cook went 4-for-5 with three homers, two grand slams, a double, and nine driven in. The three-homers tied a franchise record while the nine RBIs set a new record.

Although record keeping is incomplete, it is believed that the 18-run win also set a franchise record for margin of victory while the 21 runs is a confirmed franchise record.

On the final day of the season, the Shorebirds rallied from a five-run deficit to defeat the Salem Red Sox 9-7, denying Salem a postseason berth as they were a win away from clinching. Billy Cook smashed a two-run homer in the ninth to win it, the homer also broke the club record for most homers in a season by the squad with 113. The ‘Birds also set a franchise record for most runs scored in a season with 720, on-base percentage (.358), and slugging percentage (.396).

Despite Delmarva missing the postseason for the first time since 2018, the club did secure a winning record for the third straight season.

Overall the Shorebirds finished 68-52 and never a spent a day all season below second place in their division. Fans from all around the country came through the gates at Perdue Stadium to help celebrate our 25th season of baseball on the Eastern Shore, making this season a wild success!