By: Koki Riley
BREWSTER, M.A. – At 4-6 in their last 10 games the Brewster Whitecaps (10-10-1) are barely treading above water in the Eastern Division.
Entering Saturday night’s contest with a five-point advantage over the Harwich Mariners, Brewster at the very least needed a win in order to stay at least three points up on the last place Mariners.
But instead, Harwich swept the Wareham Gatemen to get to 10 wins on the season and the Whitecaps fell in their matchup against the Falmouth Commodores (10-8-1).
And because of that, Brewster now sits atop Harwich for the last spot in the playoffs by just a point. A lone tie against the Chatham Anglers separating Brewster from the Mariners in the division.
The Whitecaps had their chance to maintain some separation over their divisional rivals. A 3-0 lead through five innings gave Brewster a sense of confidence heading into the ladder half of the game.
Whitecaps starting pitcher Matthew Mikulski (Fordham) had only surrendered a hit in five innings of work. And a slow start from the offense eventually turned into a productive bottom of the fifth where Brewster scored three runs on two singles and two errors from Falmouth shortstop Trei Cruz (Rice).
"He was very good," Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik said. "He deserved the win."
And then it all changed on one swing of the bat.
A three-run home run from Troy Claunch (Oregon State) tied the score in a game where the Commodores had just one hit in the prior five frames.
"Mikulski pitched good enough to win," Shevchik said. "Very rarely do you go five innings with one hit and leave the game with a three run lead and not get the win."
Another run in the seventh then came on an RBI single from Steven Moretto (Sacramento State) and two scoreless innings later, Brewster had been defeated in a game that seemed to be firmly in the Whitecaps grasp.
The Whitecaps head over to Chatham on Sunday night. First pitch from Veterans Field is at 7 p.m.
By: Koki Riley
BREWSTER, M.A. – 20 runs, 18 hits, five errors and 10 unearned runs.
Those were the combined outputs of the Brewster Whitecaps (10-9-1) and the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (12-7-1) in Friday evenings wild affair from Stony Brook Field in Brewster.
And although the Whitecaps came out on top with the 13-7 victory, Brewster didn’t play a flawless game. Allowing five unearned runs in the sixth, nearly blowing an 8-2 lead in the middle innings and walking six batters within the first four frames created, at times, a sloppy game.
But when it came down to it, the Whitecaps offense was too great for any of their mistakes to matter.
“If the bats are hot it gives a little breathing room for our pitching staff,” Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik said. “We weren’t perfect by any means today. Connor Shamblin (Alabama) didn’t have his greatest stuff. Jimmy Ramsey (Kentucky) didn’t have his greatest stuff. But when you put up 13 runs it makes it a lot easier.”
Brewster’s offensive explosion on the night didn’t happen by accident. Prior to the game, the Coach Shevchik made a couple of adjustments to the Whitecaps lineup that in turn lit the spark that grew into the raging fire that became Brewster’s offense on Friday night.
First, Gage Workman (Arizona State) was moved down to the No.9 spot in the order in an attempt for the switch hitter to see more fastballs against the lefty Erik Tolman (Arizona State). Workman didn’t see many fastballs from his college teammate, but still produced with three hits, three runs batted in and two runs scored.
“Y-D is known for more off-speed (pitches),” Workman said. “I felt like I was taking good at bats before but things weren’t falling but they fell today.”
Second, Christian Molfetta (Stanford) was inserted into the Brewster lineup behind the plate over fellow catchers, and teammates, Justin Vought (Maryland), Luke Berryhill (South Carolina) and Josh Crouch (Central Florida).
The senior and third year Whitecaps veteran grabbed his chance and ran with it, hitting a two-run home run, a two RBI double and finished the night with a total of five runs driven in on the night.
After hitting under .140 last season with zero homers and two runs batted in, Molfetta’s batting average after his first 15 at bats this season is at .400 with two home runs and seven runs batted in.
“Last year I was playing hurt and I was thinking too much about outside stuff, whether it was scouts, the draft or earning a spot at school,” Molfetta said. “This year, I’m just kind of letting it loose and playing.”
Combined with the two hit performances of Tyler Hardman (Oklahoma) and T.J. Collett (Kentucky) and the Whitecaps debut of Duke Ellis (Texas), Brewster’s offense was nearly unstoppable on Friday night.
Considering how hard the Whitecaps had hit the ball the previous night, it’s safe to assume that Friday’s offensive performance was more substance than chance.
Brewster will stay home on Saturday night as Falmouth comes to town. First pitch from Stony Brook Field is at 5 p.m.
By: Koki Riley
HARWICH, M.A. – On a night known for its fireworks, the Brewster Whitecaps (9-9-1) got an offensive explosion from first basemen Tyler Hardman (Oklahoma).
A solo shot in the sixth inning and a three-run bomb in the seventh brought the Whitecaps back from a dire 4-0 fifth frame deficit to the Harwich Mariners (8-11) at Whitehouse Field.
And although Hardman was ready to bring the festivities to the ballpark on Thursday night, it was his teammates that couldn’t bring any extra punch to the 4thof July party in the Whitecaps 6-4 defeat in Harwich.
The theme of the night: two out hitting. The Mariners offense produced five of their six runs on the night via the two-out RBI hit. The most painful of the bunch coming in the bottom of the seventh inning when a two-run single from Christian Fedko (Connecticut) off of Brewster reliever Stevie Emmanuels (Washington) not only gave Harwich the two-run lead, but also ruined the Whitecaps momentum from Hardman’s three run homer from the prior half inning.
“We just made a couple mistakes from the pitching standpoint that cost us,” Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik said.
And yes, pitching wise Brewster was not sharp. Mason Black (Lehigh) surrendering three earned runs in five innings pitched after not allowing a run all season was strange. But, oddly enough, what seemed to cripple the Whitecaps the most was the lack of offensive production Brewster had despite of how hard they were hitting the ball.
“We hit a lot of hard balls,” Shevchik said. “At a lot of other parks the score is drastically different today. This is probably the one park in the entire Cape that plays true to its size.”
“We had a lot of loud outs tonight,” Hardman said. “I think the hitting was fine, so I think we just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
The single play that most accurately captured the Whitecaps night offensively came in the eighth inning. Brewster was staging a second comeback with runners at first and second base with two outs. The man at the plate, Tyler Gentry (Alabama), drilled a line drive destined for extra bases and a pair of Whitecaps runs. Instead, the line shot was caught in diving fashion by Mariners left fielder Max Marusak (Texas Tech).
It was a sour way to end a night known for fireworks, carnivals and fun. But, it doesn’t seem as if Shevchik’s team is concerned by the outcome.
“We’ll be alright,” Shevchik said.
By Roy Bowler
Tyler Gentry (University of Alabama) has been swinging a hot bat lately. The junior right fielder from Arlington, Tennessee has raised his average by .129 points in the last five games, going 9 for 17 with two doubles, a triple, a homerun, and five RBI. Gentry admitted that it feels good to be playing this well, and his current approach is: “trying to go out and have fun”.
Gentry carried his hot hitting into tonight’s critical mid-season matchup against the Harwich Mariners, a game already with plenty of implications on the standings. In the first inning, Gentry smacked a two-run double to give the Whitecaps a 3-0 lead, after a sacrifice fly by Marcos Castonon (UC Santa Barbara). In the third, Brewster scored again when Brett Auerbach (University of Alabama) launched his second homer of the year, over the fence in left.
Cam Tringali (University of South Carolina) got the start, and was solid again for Brewster, but had to battle through some shaky defense. Two errors led to the first two Harwich runs, and then Tringali himself misplayed a ball that allowed Harwich to tie the game at four in the fourth. All four runs he allowed were unearned.
Kurt Wilson (Texas Tech) picked a great time for his first Whitecap hit, when in the fourth, he smoked an RBI double to left field, giving the Whitecaps the lead back, a lead they would not relinquish.
After Tringali recorded the first two outs of the fifth, Brewster turned to the bullpen and Seth Lonsway (Ohio State) to get them through the rest of the game. The bullpen did exactly that, Lonsway was terrific over 2.1 hitless innings pitched, and Billy McKay (University of Central Florida) worked an easy 1-2-3 inning in the eight.
The Whitecaps added some insurance when, none other than, Tyler Gentry clubbed a two-run opposite field homer to give Brewster a 7-4 lead.
The Caps called on Sean Fisher (University of Maryland) to close the game in the ninth, and after bringing the go ahead run to the plate, Fisher settled in and retired Harwich,earning Brewster their ninth win of the season.
After the game, Whitecap manager Jamie Shevchik said he was pleased with his team’s ability to “score in multiple innings” and hold their “composure in some big innings they (Harwich) had, and they (Brewster) were able to continue to score and let Harwich fight from behind, and that’s not a comfortable position to be in.”
The win tonight was a critical one for Brewster, a team fighting off Harwich for a playoff spot. The two teams meet again tomorrow at Whitehouse Field in Harwich. With a win Brewster can pull seven points ahead of the Mariners for the final playoff spot in the East Division.
By: Koki Riley
FALMOUTH, M.A. – It was 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning between the Brewster Whitecaps (8-8-1) and the Falmouth Commodores (6-7-1). The Whitecaps had blown a 3-0 first inning lead, but had finally broken through offensively in the first after Marcos Castanon’s (UC Santa Barbara) three-run homer.
But then disaster struck.
Defensive miscues, a plethora of base hits and poor Whitecaps pitching resulted in nine Commodores runs that resulted in a 12-3 scored by the start of the sixth inning.
“Our pitchers were not good enough against their hitters,” Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik said after the loss. “We just didn’t have anything to get them out.
“Those two-innings buried us.”
Daniel Harper (Kentucky) was ineffective in his second start as a Whitecap, allowing three earned runs in 3.1 innings pitched, but Harper’s struggles were compounded even further into the ground by Sean Hunley (Tennessee).
In his first relief appearance for Brewster, the big righty allowed five runs (three earned) in 0.2 innings pitched. This included six hits in the eight batters that the Tennessee native faced.
In his time with Brewster, Hunley has never been able to find his footing on the Cape. In 7.2 innings pitched, Hunley has surrendered seven earned runs and 16 hits, resulting in a. 8.21 earned run average this season.
His move to the bullpen from the rotation was inevitable, but, so far, the switch has only made matters worse for Hunley.
“He’s got to do a better job at holding runners and minimizing the damage,” Shevchik said. “I think that goes with a handful of our guys.”
But Tuesday night’s matchup wasn’t all doom and gloom for the visitors.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Whitecaps scored four runs, including home runs from the bats of Eric Foggo (Stetson) and Justin Vought (Maryland). Despite being down by nearly double digits, Brewster showed the type of spirit and effort that has kept them at, or above, a .500 record all season.
“They kind of just kept battling,” Shevchik said. “The guys that came in off the bench took it seriously and worked a couple good at bats.”
For the Whitecaps, the next two games are crucial in their quest to reach a third straight playoff appearance.
A home and home series against the last place Harwich Mariners comes at a time where the Whitecaps lead the Mariners by just four points. Two wins or two losses could determine whether or not Brewster gets a chance at playing August baseball on the Cape.
As mentioned above the Whitecaps host the first of a two-game set on Wednesday against the Mariners from Stony Brook Field. First pitch is at 5 p.m.