By: Koki Riley
Blistering winds, bobbled ground balls and top of the line pitching defined a wacky Saturday evening from Eldredge Park for the Brewster Whitecaps (1-3) and Orleans Firebirds (2-2-1).
But despite the cold breeze and error filled night, the Whitecaps escaped Orleans with their first victory of the season. A 2-1 win over a Firebirds squad that defeated Brewster earlier in the week on Wednesday.
“I’ve never been so nervous for a game that’s being played in the beginning of June,” Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik said after the win. “There was just a lot of pressure on us for the first win.”
For Brewster, the burden of being winless on the season was finally alleviated in large part thanks to a brilliant performance on the mound from Chandler Jozwiak (Texas A&M).
Arriving to Brewster on Wednesday, Jozwiak threw six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and one walk in his first career appearance with the Whitecaps. On a night where the offense could only muster six hits, it was Jozwiak’s outing that proved to be exact antidote to the Whitecaps’ three-game losing streak.
“It’s safe to say that Jozwiak is going to be in the rotation,” Shevchik said.
“Coming out here and helping the team win is the most important thing (for me),” Jozwiak said. “(Orleans) made me battle tonight, it was tough.”
And despite scoring only two runs on the night, the Whitecaps offense proved to be timely.
After taking an initial 1-0 lead, Brewster surrendered the advantage with two costly errors in the bottom of the seventh. But the Whitecaps showed resiliency in the very next half inning when a double from Gage Workman (Arizona State) and a single from T.J. Collett (Kentucky) scored Workman to give Brewster the lead again at 2-1.
“We had a meeting before the game and it was just about being a little bit more aggressive and having fun,” Shevchik said. “We just got everybody together and wanted to know about everyone’s approaches to learn a little bit more from everybody.
“It was more about taking good hard contact swings. I think we were giving up at bats early in the counts up until today.”
A scoreless eighth and ninth inning from William McKay (Central Florida) and Carson Coleman (Kentucky) sealed the deal for a Whitecaps staff that did not allow an earned run on the night.
Now Brewster are finally winners. It had to happen at some point, right?
The Whitecaps host the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in a Sunday double header from Stony Brook Field. The first game of the two-game set starts at 2 p.m.
By: Koki Riley
For the first time all season, the Brewster Whitecaps (0-3) took the lead in a baseball game.
A walk to Tyler Gentry (Alabama) followed by a pair of errors, the latter of the two resulting in both of Brewster’s runs, delivered the Whitecaps a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. And for Brewster, easily their best start to a game this season.
And then just like that, it was over.
Whitecaps starting pitcher Jimmy Ramsey (Kentucky) went on to surrender five runs and three hits in the top of the second frame. Not only did Cotuit (3-1) own a three-run lead, but the deficit crushed Brewster’s momentum while seemingly dashing any chance of a victory.
“We have to hold a lead for more than five minutes that’s for sure,” Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik said after the loss. “It was good to see that we can score some runs. The offense is just really stale and we’re not getting good quality starting pitching.”
From the second inning on Brewster managed to scrap together just four hits off of Cotuit pitching. Kettleers starting pitcher Zach McCambley (Coastal Carolina) threw four one hit innings before Cotuit’s bullpen finished off the Whitecaps with a combined eight strikeouts in five innings of relief.
While on the flip side, Whitecaps starting pitchers this season have surrendered 13 runs in 10.1 innings pitched. And although Brewster’s bullpen has allowed the Whitecaps a fighting chance, starting pitching and timely hitting is what wins in the Cape League.
“We’ve got to do a better job at getting the lead early,” Shevchik said. “And that starts with our starting pitching.”
The Whitecaps are struggling. That for one has been an obvious occurrence on the field.
But off the field, this Brewster team has gelled together quickly. Fast enough to the point that instead of sitting at home and playing video games during yesterday’s rain out, a sizable group of players and their host families went bowling in Orleans.
Friendly banter and signs of team comradery can be found often before and even after games.
“On the first day when I came from Wareham I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know anyone’s name. Now I feel like I’m just one of the guys now and it’s only been four or five days,” Whitecaps pitcher Matthew Mikulski (Fordham) said. “I’m not really worried about our record right now because we’re going to figure it out and we’ll be fine.”
Brewster hits the road on Friday to Orleans in a 7 p.m. matchup against the Firebirds.
By: Koki Riley
With three innings in the books, the Orleans Firebirds (2-1) had a 3-0 lead on the Brewster Whitecaps (0-2)……with just one hit.
“We shot ourselves in the foot today,” said Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik. “I think the games (on the Cape) are decided in the first four innings of a game.”
A David Avitia (Grand Canyon) strikeout turned passed ball saw the Firebirds catcher at first base to start the third inning for Orleans. Then throwing errors from Brewster starting pitcher Connor Shamblin (Alabama) on a dribbler back to the mound and catcher Justin Vought (Maryland) on another dropped third strike eventually resulted in two runs for the Firebirds.
A groundball double play hit by Raymond Gil (Miami FL) scored the third run and just like that it was 3-0 Firebirds.
That third inning was enough to cost Brewster the game. Over the next six frames, the Whitecaps outscored Orleans 3-2 and matched the Firebirds in hits with five apiece.
All three runs in the game for the Whitecaps came in the seventh. Down 4-0 with just one hit in the game, Brewster recorded three singles and a two RBI double from Tyler Gentry (Alabama) to reduce the deficit, at the time, to one run.
“We started getting some runs there at the end,” Gentry said. “I think we were battling a lot better. Our approaches were better. If we do that earlier in the game and keep doing it throughout the game we should be starting to get some wins.”
But maintaining that consistent approach throughout a game is something the Whitecaps only found in that seventh inning. Prior to and following the three-run frame, Brewster has one run in the 17-other innings this season. That includes 26 strikeouts in that time span.
The Whitecaps offensive struggles has left no margin for error for Brewster’s pitching and defense. So, when an inning like the third inning of this game occurs, the Whitecaps chances of victory are somewhere between slim and none.
Brewster heads to Hyannis on Thursday evening to face off against the Hyannis Harbor Hawks at 6 p.m.
By: Koki Riley
Ominously dark clouds lingered over Spillane Field prior to first pitch between the Brewster Whitecaps (0-1) and the Wareham Gatemen (1-0) prior to opening night of the Cape Cod Baseball League.
Rain eventually fell by the latter innings and by the eighth frame the conditions were worse than your prototypical early June drizzle. And by that point the rain was a signifier of what kind of night it was the for the Whitecaps.
Two runs in the fourth inning from Wareham was enough for the defending champions in the Gatemen’s 3-1 opening night victory against the Brewster.
“We’re going to go through some downs a little bit here because we’re trying to feel each other out a little bit,” said Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik. “It’s going to take some time. We’re going to see some good pitching every day.”
Three quick frames to start the affair resulted in only one runner reaching base for either team. A walk from Wareham’s Sam Wezniak (California) followed by a triple from former Whitecaps infielder Darren Baker (California) put Wareham on the board first.
Baker later scored on a single from Mike Antico (St. John’s). The second tally for Wareham turned into the difference in the game in the eventual 3-1 victory for the Gatemen.
Brewster’s only tally of the night came in direct response to Wareham’s two run fourth when T.J. Collett’s (Kentucky) rocket into left-center field, that at first appeared to have gone over the fence, drove in Damon Dues (Wright State) from first base for the Whitecaps first, and so far, their only run of the season.
“I couldn’t tell if (the ball) went out in the fourth,” Shevchik said. “The bullpen said it definitely went out and that it bounced off the back wall and came back (into the field of play).”
The one bright spot on the night came from the Whitecaps pitching staff. A unit that despite a lack of control (allowing six walks on the night) struck out a combined 10 batters in eight innings of work.
“I was working fastball mostly to glove side, “Whitecaps starting pitcher Cam Tringali (South Carolina) said. “Working up in the zone in later counts was really working.”
But despite their best efforts, a solid performance from the Whitecaps young arms couldn’t overcome a Brewster offense that could only scratch across five hits all game.
So, on a night that began with the optimism that surrounds the opening night of a new season, the gloomy clouds and soggy conditions have temporarily brought Brewster down to a dimmer reality.
On Tuesday, the Whitecaps travel to Hyannis to play the Harbor Hawks at 6 p.m.