By: Koki Riley
BREWSTER, MA- Blessed with a mid-90s fastball, a sharp breaking ball, and a frame built for durability, Brewster Whitecaps starting pitcher Tony Locey (Georgia) possesses talent kids dream of and scouts drool over.
On Tuesday evening at Stony Brook Field, Locey (3-2) showed off every bit of that talent, throwing eight scoreless innings in a 9-0 win over the Cotuit Kettleers.
“When I get into the game it’s all about pitching,” said Locey. “My preparation leading up to it, though, was get my two-seam fastball working, get my off-speed working, and just attack low in the zone.”
Locey, who had gone five innings in all five of his previous starts for Brewster (16-18-2), allowed just three hits, struck out six Kettleer hitters, and lowered his earned run average to 2.91 on the season, good for fifth best in the league.
“He threw a lot of strikes,” said Whitecaps coach Jamie Shevchik. “He’s a strikeout pitcher so a lot of times his pitch count is a lot higher than it’s supposed to be by the time we reach the fourth inning. I think he kind of settled in and he pitched to contact a little bit and he wasn’t worried about just chasing strikeouts. This is one of his better starts, if not the best start he’s had all summer long.”
Before the eighth inning, Locey had allowed only one Cotuit (17-17-1) baserunner to reach second base and retired eleven straight batters.
Then in the eighth, the first two hitters reached. Locey bore down, however, retiring the next three hitters in order and keeping the shutout intact.
“That was huge,” Locey said. “I just knew those were my runs and if I was going to give them up, I was going to give them up. I continued to attack low in the zone and I got a few ground balls and they made the plays for me.”
“He’s a competitor,” said Shevchik about Locey. “He’s a guy, if you ever look in the dugout, it’s coach, coach, Tony Locey, coach, coach, coach. He’s right in the middle of the action all the time because he’s a sponge. He constantly wants to just listen and learn and bring stuff back to Georgia with him. He’s been awesome to be around so I’m really happy for him.”
In total, Locey threw 118 pitches, 70 for strikes, and went the farthest into a ballgame that any Brewster starter has gone this season.
“I just took all of my outings into consideration to know what I could do to get better and work on for my next outing,” said Locey. “I still have stuff I have to work on for my next start and I’ll do that this week.”
The Whitecaps offense provided Locey all the run support the righty needed, as Brewster scored nine runs on ten hits.
“We didn’t hit batting practice before the game, so Shev said that was it, so I’m going to go with that,” said Whitecaps outfielder Hunter Bishop (Arizona State). “I think the approach was good, our hitters were seeing it great, and obviously Tony pitched one hell of a game.”
Entering the seventh inning leading 4-0, Brewster broke the game open with a three-run frame.
After a Michael Curry (Georgia) walk loaded the bases, Kyle Datres (UNC) singled home Bishop and Chandler Taylor (Alabama), making it 6-0 Whitecaps.
Brewster then tacked on their seventh run of the game in the same inning as a walk to A.J. Graffanino (Washington) with the bases loaded drove in Curry, making it a seven-run contest.
The Whitecaps were not done scoring runs, however, as Brewster tacked on a pair of runs in the eighth inning on a single from Zack Gahagan (UNC) that would drive in Bishop. Devin Foyle (Kansas) also scored after the throw to first from third basemen John Cresto (Santa Clara) would sail wide.
With a 9-0 lead heading into the ninth inning, Locey would make way for Matthew Beck (LSU).
Beck would then throw a scoreless ninth inning and close out the game for the Whitecaps to seal the 9-0 victory, the team’s first victory in over a week (July 16th).
“I love seeing Matthew do good and love seeing our whole team do good,” said Locey. “Matthew works a lot in the bullpen and a lot of people don’t see. He puts a lot of work and time in so it’s good he has success on the field.”
“If Tony goes out there and throws three or four innings today, we’re throwing three more guys and those guys are done for three days,” Shevchik said. “For him to really stretch it out for us this time of the year was big for the bullpen. Tony was huge for us today, more than we can explain.”
Despite entering the game with the worst fielding percentage in the league, Brewster did not commit an error in the victory.
“We got a lead and everything went right,” said Shevchik. “It was probably one of the most complete games we’ve played.”
On the flip side for Cotuit, the Kettleers failed to keep the Whitecaps offense at bay after an adequate performance from starting pitcher Austin Kitchen (Coastal Carolina).
Kitchen, who was making his first start, went five innings, allowing just two runs on five hits.
Kitchen allowed two runs in the second inning when consecutive singles from Graffanino and Christian Molfetta (Stanford) drove in a pair of runs for the Whitecaps.
“The first two innings set the tempo for the entire game,” Shevchik said. “Today, the tone was set from the beginning.”
After Kitchen (1-2), the Kettleers’ pitching and defense disintegrated, as the Cotuit bullpen would allow seven runs (four earned) in just three innings of work, while the defense would commit four errors.
The Whitecaps pounced on Jayce Vancena (Michigan), who relieved Kitchen, scoring a pair of runs to make it a 4-0 game.
First, Julian Infante (Vanderbilt) smashed a double into left field to drive in Curry and make it 3-0. Brewster then tacked on their fourth run of the game a few batters later, as Graffanino hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Datres and making it a 4-0 Brewster lead.
Bishop entered the game in the bottom of the second as a pinch-hitter for Steele Walker (Oklahoma).
“[Coach Kanzler] told me just to be ready whenever I was called upon,” Bishop said. “My first two at-bats weren’t very good, I think I broke my bat, but I adjusted.”
Walker was removed from the game with an achilles injury, the same scenario that unfolded on Sunday in Hyannis.
“He’s got a sore achilles,” said Shevchik. “It’s something that he’s probably going to have to sit on for the next couple days. He tried to go back out there today, he probably should have sat. It just wasn’t feeling good, so we didn’t want to push the issue.”
Graffanino finished the day 1-2 with a run scored and three runs batted in.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Whitecaps are at home again, facing off against the Chatham Anglers on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.