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Connor's Hot Corner
Playoff Gm. 2 v Harwich
By Connor Whooley
BREWSTER — For the last time at Stony Brook Field, banners were taken down, jerseys were shed and dugouts were cleaned.
After a valiant effort to get into the playoffs, Brewster lost to Harwich 5-0 in game two of the three game series to knock the Whitecaps out of the postseason.
The ‘Caps were seemingly playing on borrowed time, as the roster was down to 12 players in the contest.
Three full-time pitchers — Kenny Oakley (UNLV), Levi MaVorhis (Kansas State) and Cody Ponce (Cal Poly Pomona) — were in the lineup, as was left handed shortstop LaMonte Wade (Maryland).
Through seven innings, the ‘Caps hung with the Mariners as they only trailed 1-0.
Ponce got the start and went three innings, allowing one run on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts.
MaVorhis worked the next three, allowing three hits but no runs before yielding to Oakley.
The Mariners then had a three run outburst in the eighth and added one more off Joe McCarthy (Southern New Hampshire) in the ninth to put the game on ice and complete the sweep.
The ‘Caps managed five hits in the contest, including two from A.J. Ryan (Dayton).
Cam Oliviera (Southern New Hampshire), Ponce and Lowery — who batted .375 with a home run in the postseason — turned in the other hits.
While the shorthanded ‘Caps were bounced early from the playoffs, their run to get in and compete with first place Harwich was nothing short of incredible.
The team, with it’s full compliment of players at the time, reeled off a six-game unbeaten streak to overcome Chatham to grab the fourth and final playoff spot in the East Division and reach the postseason for the first time since 2011.
Then, with 13 players on the roster, the team went into the playoffs against the Mariners, who had finished with the second best record in the league.
In game one, the Whitecaps started three pitchers in the outfield and every game featured the lefty Wade at shortstop.
Andrew Lee (Tennessee), who had played first base all season, found himself at second, while catcher Luke Lowery played third base.
7-2 and 5-0 losses may not look like much in the newspaper box score, but for a team that lost all but three of its original position players and the majority of its pitching staff, the ‘Caps hung tough.
The season as a whole, while not impressive in the standings, saw some fantastic performances by individuals and by the team.
The six-game unbeaten streak was the first time the team had won multiple games in a row since they defeated Orleans and Yarmouth-Dennis on June 20 and 21.
Wade Wass (Alabama) smacked two grand slams in one game and had nine RBIs on July 2, days before he was signed by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Gio Brusa (Pacific) led the team in home runs with six and RBIs with 20. The All-Star also batted .322 on the season.
All-Star pitchers Ponce and Andrew Naderer (Grand Canyon) each threw over 35 innings and had earned run averages under three at 2.27 and 2.82, respectively.
Scott Kingery (Arizona), who had a fantastic second half and was a late addition to the All Star game, finished the season batting .312.
The Wildcat also had an exciting walk-off hit as the ‘Caps rallied from a run down to score two in the ninth on July 19 against Hyannis to win the game 5-4.
The ‘Caps also had three shutouts on the season. Two were spurred by six inning efforts from Ponce, while McCarthy went five on August 3 to give his team the win that would get it into the playoffs.
The bullpen was also lights-out for much of the season, as Pat Rutolo (UConn) owned a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings pitched and Doug Willey (Franklin Pierce) had a 2.91 ERA in 12.1 innings.
Evan Hill (Michigan) who became a starter at the end of the season, was lights out as the closer, with four saves and a 3.46 ERA, while Naderer was a shutdown arm out of the pen for much of the season as well.
Although the team only one three more regular season games than it did last year — 17 in 2014 and 14 in 2013 — the team showed a resiliency, never losing more than four in a row and hanging around enough to still make a run at the end.
Although coach John Altobelli will not be at the top step of the dugout next season, as he retired after 2014, the ‘Caps seem to be on the rise.
While there’s no way to predict what 2015 will bring in Brewster, it’s safe to say 2014 brought some great baseball and left the ‘Caps faithful with a hunger for more.
Thanks for reading all season-