By: Koki Riley
BREWSTER, M.A. – “At this point, they’re playing for pride.”
The words of Whitecaps play-by-play announcer Frankie Vernouski in the third inning of Brewster’s 12-11 defeat to the Harwich Mariners (15-17).
Before a seven-run third inning from the Mariners offense seemed to dash the hopes of a Brewster win and a return to a playoff spot in the Eastern Division, pregame the Whitecaps seemed ready to flip the script.
At no point during the regular season had Brewster lost three games in a row until this week. And with the last three games coming against divisional leaders Wareham and Chatham, the Whitecaps were due for a break from the elite of the Cape League.
Against a Mariners team that was last in batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, home runs and runs, it seemed like Wednesday was the day where it would all turn around for Brewster.
But three runs came across in the first inning with two outs. Another run came across in the second and then the third inning happened.
Five singles, a three-run home run from Niko Kavadas (Notre Dame) and a walk supplied all the offense Harwich needed in their 11-0 third inning lead.
“Again, I think the same thing goes back to what we’ve already been talking about for what feels like forever,” Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik said after the loss. “It’s hard to win games when you’re down by (a lot) in the first (few innings).”
It was deflating, crushing and even heartbreaking. Enough of a deficit to understand why Brewster would throw in the towel.
But, they didn’t.
In the very next inning, the Whitecaps went on to score six runs. The rally included a two-run shot from Tyler Hardman (Oklahoma) in the six-hit inning that cut the Harwich lead to just five.
A run in the fifth for Harwich bumped their advantage back up to six. But, the Brewster comeback was not finished.
Two home runs, first a two-run shot from Kurt Wilson (Texas Tech) and then a three-run shot from Hardman made the score 12-11 in the Mariners favor.
All 23 runs in the ballgame transpired in just six innings.
“Our guys they stayed loose and they stayed to their approach,” Shevchik said. “Ultimately we had a shot to do something in the end.”
With a thunderstorm on the move, the clouds above Stony Brook Field went from gray to black in what felt like an instant to start the seventh frame. And before anyone could process what was happening above their heads the game was over.
“In 2017, we were playing Harwich right here (at Stony Brook Field) and down 11-2,” Shevchik said. “We scored 10 runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and hit a home run in the dark to win the game.
“I was hoping for that same result but we came up an inning too short or a batter too short.”
Brewster’s comeback for the ages was interrupted not because of a second offensive explosion from the Harwich bats or a silencing of the Whitecaps offense, it was because of the weather.
As frustrating as that may seem, Brewster still surrendered 12 runs including 11 in just three innings. And with the Mariners now ahead of the Whitecaps by three points for fourth place in the division, nights like these on the mound can no longer be affordable.
“We’re not finding any consistency yet,” Shevchik said. “And we’re running out of time.”
By: Koki Riley
BREWSTER, M.A. – It was a hole that was too deep to climb.
Down 5-0 in the second inning, the Brewster Whitecaps (13-16-1) once again found themselves behind early in a ballgame. A reoccurring theme in many of the teams defeats this summer.
Against Wareham last Sunday Brewster was down 4-0 midway through the second inning. Last Thursday the Whitecaps trailed 3-0 after two frames versus Y-D. And a week ago Brewster fell behind 6-3 through three innings against Orleans.
And on Tuesday evening against the Anglers (19-11-2) the Whitecaps trailed after a tough outing on the mound from Chance Huff (Vanderbilt). In his second start, and appearance, on the Cape, Huff surrendered five earned runs in 1.2 innings of work while walking three and allowing six hits in the eventual 7-2 defeat.
The Whitecaps offense has been less than stellar in recent games. But, the pressure of having to come from behind in each game makes the job for Brewster’s bats much more difficult.
“The first three innings of a ballgame dictate how the ballgame is going to go,” Whitecaps hitting coach Ryan Smyth said after the loss. “When you’re down by a few runs early it kind of limits what you can do as an offense.
“It’s harder to run. It’s harder to do some of those things that make us a dynamic offense.”
For an offense that has relied on the long ball all summer, Brewster is without a home run in their last three games.
“We had a lot of runners on base tonight,” Smyth said. “We just didn’t come up with some key hits tonight.
“Each run is like a bar of gold out here.”
After back-to-back matchups against the divisional leaders, Brewster now turns their attention to Wednesday evening against Harwich.
Now a point ahead of the Whitecaps following a 4-3 win over Hyannis on Tuesday, Brewster’s matchup versus the Mariners will be a great test to see where the Whitecaps stand against a Harwich that has been neck and neck with them since the start of July.
First pitch between Brewster and Harwich from Stony Brook Field on Wednesday will be at 5 p.m.
By: Koki Riley
CHATHAM, M.A. – There was an odd calmness to Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik’s voice after his team’s fourth loss in five days on Monday night in Chatham.
Brewster (13-15-1) has scored just five runs in its last two games. After stranding at least one man in scoring for the first seven innings of yesterday’s ballgame against Wareham, the Whitecaps mustered just one extra base hit and struck out 11 times against the Anglers (18-11-2) in the 4-2 defeat.
But even still, Shevchik didn’t seem too concerned.
“We just didn’t have the firepower to come back,” Shevchik said after the loss. “Our lefties primarily add most of our power. So, when you throw a lefty like (Jeremy Wu-Yelland) (Hawaii) it neutralizes the home run.”
The home run is the magic trick that the Whitecaps offense has relied on all summer. This season, Brewster is second in the Cape League in home runs with 24 despite not hitting any long bombs in their last two contests.
But the Whitecaps tendency to swing for the fences has resulted in tons of strikeouts. Brewster has struck out 271 times this summer, more than every team in the league other than Orleans.
For Shevchik, the punch outs have yet to trouble the Whitecaps head coach.
“No, I’m not (concerned about the high strikeout totals).” Shevchik said. “As long as our home runs numbers are up like they are I’m willing to let these guys go. Let them swing because at any point any one of these guys can hit the ball and we can have a two or three run lead.”
The serene tone from the Whitecaps head coach shows a head coach who never gets too high or too low on any given result.
In Shevchik’s head there’s always another battle to be fought the next day. A mindset that guided the Whitecaps to a league championship in 2017 and an Eastern Divisional Finals appearance last season after starting the season at 2-14-2.
The Cape Cod Baseball League has a long season. In about eight and a half weeks teams play 44 games with limited days off sprinkled throughout the season. In short, the summer is a marathon and not a sprint.
And yes, the Whitecaps only have 15 more games to solidify a spot in the postseason. But, a lot can still happen between now and July 31st.
Shevchik’s formula has worked in the past. But with Harwich just a point behind the Whitecaps in the standings, will Shevchik’s patience pay off again?
Brewster faces off again Chatham again, but this time from Stony Brook Field. First pitch in Brewster will be at 5 p.m.
By: Koki Riley
BREWSTER, M.A. – In every inning, other than the last, the Brewster Whitecaps (13-14-1) stranded at least one runner in scoring position.
Gage Workman (Arizona State) was stranded at second in the first. In the next inning, it was Justin Vought (Maryland) and Marcos Castanon (Santa Barbara) stuck at second and third base. For the third frame is was Tyler Gentry (Alabama) grounded at third base.
The Whitecaps didn’t just have the chance to take the lead on the Gatemen, they had the opportunity of blowing the game wide open.
But not all of Brewster’s outcomes were sour as the Whitecaps trailed Wareham (17-12-1) by a score of 4-3 heading into the seventh frame. But what didn’t help Brewster’s cause in the first place was the fact that they started the ballgame down 4-0.
“(Today’s game was) the opposite of what I thought we were going to get today,” Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik said after the game. “With an All-Star pitcher going up against a left-handed lineup (we thought) were going to have a good chance to make something happen today.
“(Matthew Mikulski) (Fordham) was over amped and didn’t have his stuff. It put us in a hole and it’s kind of the same story of a lot of the losses that we have. We get buried in a hole early and it’s tough to fight out of it.”
In just three innings pitched, Mikulski walked three batters, committed an error and plunked two Gatemen with pitches. After allowing just one run to come across all summer before Sunday evenings start, Mikulski’s lack of command and stuff was a major surprise.
And through just two frames, the Whitecaps were already trailing 4-0.
“It was too much to overcome,” Shevchik said. “We got buried in too big of a hole.”
Three scoreless innings of relief from Tyler Follis (Louisiana Tech) kept Brewster within striking distance in the middle innings, but four runs and five hits allowed by Sean Hunley (Tennessee) in the top of the seventh put the game well out of reach for Brewster.
The Whitecaps head to Veterans Field on Monday night for a makeup game against the Chatham Anglers. First pitch in Chatham is at 7 p.m.
By: Koki Riley
FALMOUTH, M.A. – On June 26th, Whitecaps outfielder Tyler Gentry (Alabama) was hitting .103 with a .167 on base percentage. He had recorded just four hits in 13 games.
Flash forward to July 13th and Gentry is now an Eastern Division All-Star. Leading Brewster with eight doubles and 16 runs batted while posting a .255 batting average.
17 days after his an appallingly poor start, Gentry’s comeback to relevance became fully realized on Saturday night in Falmouth.
The right fielders two RBI double in the 10thinning in a 2-2 ballgame delivered the Whitecaps a 4-2 lead over the Commodores (13-11-1) in Brewster’s (13-13-1) 4-3 win.
“After the rough start I got off to in the beginning (of the season) it was nice to play better across these last 15 or so game and get some (All-Star) recognition,” Gentry said.
“(Gentry) grinds out at bats,” Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik said. “He’s the type of player that everybody wants on their team.”
After walking the bases loaded, Falmouth relief pitcher Thomas Girard (Duke) had obvious control problems despite getting two outs in the 10thframe. With regular season Cape League games only lasting 10 innings regardless of the score, Brewster’s last chance of winning the game came down to Gentry’s at bat.
A chance that the rising junior smashed into left field.
The Whitecaps All-Star delivered. And after last night’s nightmare defeat in Wareham, Brewster’s extra innings victory was the perfect response to a potentially season defining loss.
“(It was) the opposite of yesterday,” Shevchik said. “Timely hitting and good pitching won us a game.”
That good pitching on Saturday night came from the right arm of Connor Shamblin (Alabama) and the left arm of Sean Fisher (Maryland).
To start off the evening, Shamblin made his best start of the summer for the Whitecaps by throwing six innings of one run baseball. Most importantly, the rising sophomore only allowed one walk.
Shamblin had handed out 16 free passes in his previous three starts.
“He’s starting to pitch like we expected him to pitch,” Shevchik said. “It’s not how you start it’s how you finish.”
“I had a good change up today (and) a good slider,” Shamblin said. “Getting ahead (in the count) is the biggest key for me.”
To finish off the night was Fisher whose three innings in relief (the eighth, ninth and 10thinnings) proved to be critical in maintaining Brewster’s chances in the eventual victory.
“That’s a gutsy effort by Fish to come into that situation,” Shevchik said. “He was tired a little bit at the end but wanted the ball.”
The Whitecaps finally head back home to face Wareham for the final time this season. First pitch at Stony Brook Field is at 5 p.m.
By: Koki Riley
WAREHAM, M.A. – “We literally gave this game away,”
Those were the words of Brewster Whitecaps (12-13-1) head coach Jamie Shevchik following his teams collapse from a 5-0 lead to a 6-5 loss on Friday night in Wareham.
The Wareham Gatemen (16-11-1), atop the Western Division heading into the night, scored six unanswered runs in the final three frames with only one hit, a solo home run from Adrian Del Castillo (Miami FL), that left the infield.
The rest of Wareham’s offense came on walks, Brewster errors and, in the ninth inning, bunts.
It all started in the bottom of the seventh inning. After Brewster had tacked on two more runs to take a five-run advantage, Del Castillo’s solo shot quickly cut the Whitecaps lead to four.
Brewster starting pitcher Mason Black (Lehigh) then came out of the game after walking the next batter after Del Castillo’s solo shot. Despite the loss, Black was superb, throwing six scoreless frames before being charged with a pair of runs after not recording an out in the seventh.
When the wheels really started falling off the bus for the Whitecaps came in the next few at bats.
Seth Lonsway (Ohio State), in for relief of Black, walked three of the next four batters faced. All three runners eventually came home to score and to make matters worse, an error from Brewster catcher Christian Molfetta (Stanford) on a misfired throwback to first base opened the floodgates even more.
Once Lonsway’s outing was finished the score was just 5-4 Whitecaps with the tying run at third base and two outs.
Billy McKay (UCF), in relief of Lonsway, allowed the game tying run to the very first batter he faced. A hard-hit groundball to shortstop that was fielded by Gage Workman (Arizona State) but was too far in the hole to throw out the speedy Darren Baker (California) at first.
From that point on, the Whitecaps were toast.
“We were flat. Once we gave up the lead it sucked the life out of these guys,” Shevchik said.
Two frames later, in the ninth, Wareham only needed an infield single, two bunts and another Whitecaps error to win the game.
But in reality, the game was over two innings earlier.
“When you’ve got a five-run lead you can work through an error here and the but you can’t work through free passes,” Shevchik said. “That’s how you lose baseball games.”
Brewster travels to Falmouth on Saturday night for their third matchup of the summer against the Commodores. First pitch in Falmouth is at 6 p.m.
By: Roy Bowler
For the second straight day the Brewster Whitecaps (12-12-1) faced off against their division rival, the Yarmouth- Dennis Red Sox (15-10-1), and for the second straight day, Brewster was playing from behind.
Cam Tringali (South Carolina) got the start for Brewster, and after two quick outs, surrendered a first inning solo home run to YD’s Austin Wells. In the second, Tringali surrendered another homer, this one, a two-run shot, courtesy of JT Wold.
The Brewster offense struggled to figure out YD pitcher Erik Tolman through the first two innings. In the third, Gage Workman (Arizona State) doubled in Duke Ellis (Texas). However, that was all the success Brewster could manage off Tolman, who dominated over 5.2 IP while recording 8 Ks. Brewster manager Jamie Shevchik admitted, “he had us off balance, I tip my hat, that kid was pretty good today.”
Peyton Alford (Virginia Tech) entered in relief for Brewster after Tringali went just 3.2 IP. While Alford allowed just one hit, it was a two-run home run, again from JT Wold. Jimmy Ramsey (Kentucky) pitched the 6th and 7th for Brewster and was the best he has been in a Whitecap uniform. In his two innings of work, he struck out three batters and allowed only a single hit. Shevchik said of Ramsey’s performance, “It was the best I’ve seen him… if that’s what he potentially can be, then he makes us better, and gives us more confidence to go to him in bigger situations.”
Ramsey kept Brewster in the game through the later innings and the Caps finally began to break through in the 8th. After a Tyler Gentry (Alabama) single, Mason Dodd (Belmont Abbey) slugged his first homer of 2019. In just two games so far, Dodd has three hits. Tyler Hardman (Oklahoma) then singled, and Jesse Franklin (Michigan) took a pitch to the elbow, which brought the go ahead run to the plate in the form of last night’s hero, TJ Collett (Kentucky). But Brewster could not capitalize as Collett grounded into a double play and Justin Vought (Maryland) struck out.
And that was it as the game was called in the 8th inning due to darkness for the second night in a row.
In Brewster’s last eight games they have been in a win-loss-win-loss pattern. Shevchik said he wants his team to “play with more confidence and string a few wins together. This is a good team, we just gotta get comfortable and get that fire in our bellies. Right now, we’re just hovering around.”
Friday, Brewster travels off Cape to take on the Wareham Gatemen. First pitch is scheduled for 6:45.
By: Koki Riley
BREWSTER, M.A. – They were toast, finished, a lame duck stuck in the middle of an ocean.
The Brewster Whitecaps (12-11-1) had the look of a defeated team halfway through their Wednesday evening matchup against the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (14-10-1).
Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Brewster had just two hits in the previous four frames, accumulated only three baserunners in that same span and struck out five times during that time as well.
But then, a single from Tyler Gentry (Alabama) and a pair of walks gave the Whitecaps some life.
Gage Workman (Arizona State) then reached on a fielder’s choice to score Brewster’s second run. And then an error from Red Sox shortstop Wyatt Young (Pepperdine) scored a second run in the frame to make it a 4-3 game.
“My job being one of the older kids is to keep the positive attitude and energy going,” Whitecaps first baseman T.J. Collett (Kentucky) said. “As long as me, (Christian) Molfetta (Stanford) and some of the other really high energy positive guys can keep that going then teams can explode in one inning.”
And that explosion for the Whitecaps came in the very next inning when a lead-off triple from Brett Auerbach (Alabama) kicked off a four-run inning that gave Brewster the three-run lead in their eventual 7-4 victory over the Red Sox.
The big rally included a broken bat home run from Collett that gave the Whitecaps a two-run lead. A strange moment in a game filled with odd base hits.
“I hit it, heard the snap, but I was like ‘I got that pretty good,’” Collett said.
“He’s one of the best power guys in the league,” Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik said. “At any point, he can leave the yard. He did it at the right time today.”
Last night, the Whitecaps trailed by a similar deficit for the majority of the night but couldn’t pull through, losing by the same 6-3 score from the fourth inning on.
So, what made tonight’s game different?
“I think you have to give credit to our pitching staff,” Shevchik said. “They kept us in it. They kept us within arm’s length.”
The Whitecaps face off against the Red Sox for a second consecutive night. First pitch from Red Wilson Field will be at 5 p.m.
By: Koki Riley
ORLEANS, M.A. – Before Chance Huff (Vanderbilt) even got the chance to hop on the mound for his first start as a Whitecap, Brewster (11-11-1) had a 2-0 lead over the Orleans Firebirds (12-10-2). A nice start to a game of significant importance for a Whitecaps team stuck in the muck of a tight Eastern Divisional race.
Already working from ahead, Huff walked the leadoff batter Jacob Hurtubise (Army), surrendered a double to Zach Britton (Louisville) and then, after retiring the next two batters, plunked Trevin Esquerra (Loyola Marymount) and Rob Emery (San Francisco) with separate pitches to load the bases for Tanner Murray (UC Davis).
With a run already allowed, Murray’s single off of Huff evaporated Brewster’s early 2-0 lead. Making the score 3-2 after a long first inning for both sides.
The Firebirds grabbed that advantage on the scoreboard and ran with it. Running Huff out of the game after just 1.1 innings pitched and eventually defeating the Whitecaps 6-3 from Eldredge Park.
“We didn’t have much of a chance,” Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik said. “Our starting pitcher didn’t give us a whole lot to work with at the beginning. But to his credit, he hasn’t pitched against live hitters in awhile.”
Brewster’s most recent pitching addition walked four batters, hit three batters with pitches and gave up four earned runs despite allowing just two hits in his short-lived start.
And although it was short-lived stint from a game length perspective, Huffs deliberate approach and high walk total allowed the affair in Orleans to grind down to a near standstill.
When the third inning concluded, the game had already lasted about an hour and 30 minutes. In comparison, the next six innings were just under an hour and a half.
But why the sea change in game pace? A couple things.
One, the Whitecaps offense went silent after the third frame, recording just two hits and striking out eight times in six innings off of Orleans left hander Isaac Esqueda (USC).
Esqueda pitched all six innings in relief for the Firebirds and only ran into trouble once in the seventh inning.
“We had opportunities to score runs but couldn’t come up with the big hit,” Shevchik said. “Our pitchers have got to do a better job of, when we score runs, of going out there and getting us a shutout inning.”
Two, Brewster’s bullpen was quite solid on the night despite having to be called upon in the second inning. Reliever Stevie Emmanuels (Washington) had a tough third inning, but escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second and eventually settled down to allow no runs in his last two frames.
Tyler Follis (Louisiana Tech) was then nearly unhittable in the following three frames after Emmanuels.
Even at .500, the Whitecaps are in last place in the Eastern Division with 23 points at about the half way mark on the regular season.
Granted, they’ve played two less games than the Harwich Mariners, who are ahead in the standings despite having more losses than wins, but the Mariners have played excellent baseball as of late after winning their last two games.
So, if Brewster wants a good shot at making the postseason for the third consecutive year, snatching winnable games against an Eastern divisional foe like Orleans will need to become more of a necessity and less of a bonus.
The Whitecaps head back home on Wednesday evening as they take on Y-D. First pitch from Stony Brook Field will be at 5 p.m.
By: Koki Riley
CHATHAM, M.A, - Chandler Jozwiak (Texas A&M) knows how to finish with style.
In his final start in the Cape Cod Baseball League, the Brewster Whitecaps (11-10-1) lefty allowed no runs on six hits and three walks in five innings of work against a Chatham Anglers (14-8-1) team that owns the fourth most runs and has the best run differential in the Cape League.
Jozwiak now ends his Whitecaps career with a 1.74 earned run average in 20.2 innings pitched. A great summer that finished off quieting arguably the best team on the Cape in their own ball park.
“To shut down a Chatham lineup that is loaded from top to bottom you have to have good pitching,” Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik said. “Jozwiak was great.”
“The defense behind me was amazing. The outfield made some great plays,” Jozwiak said.
1.2 scoreless frames from Billy McKay (UCF) and another 2.1 scoreless innings to finish off the game from Seth Lonsway (Ohio State) made for a remarkable bounce back performance from a Whitecaps bullpen that had been reeling in recent games.
Blowing a three-run lead on Saturday against Falmouth and being unable to maintain a tied score in Harwich on Thursday featured a Brewster pen that seemed unreliable following a hot start to the season.
“Billy did his job and Seth pitched his butt off,” Shevchik said. “Today was a pretty good effort from everybody.”
Offensively it wasn’t the prettiest of performances.
The Whitecaps mustered seven hits but also struck out 13 times against Chatham pitching.
But all the Brewster pitching staff needed on Sunday night were two big swings of the bat from Tyler Hardman (Oklahoma) and T.J. Collett (Kentucky).
Hardman’s two run shot in the fifth gave the Whitecaps a 2-0 lead despite not having a hit until that very frame. Collett’s solo shot then padded the lead for a Brewster team that took total control of the game from the fifth inning on.
“The pitching is so good, sometimes you’ve got to get lucky with a ball that goes over the fence,” Shevchik said. “That’s exactly what won us the game today.”
Brewster has Monday off but on Tuesday head to Orleans to face off against the Firebirds at 7 p.m.