By: Koki Riley
BREWSTER, MA - After completing a home-and-home series on Monday evening, the Brewster Whitecaps and Orleans Firebirds seem to be teams headed in opposite directions.
Orleans (13-6) took down Brewster (8-10-1) 3-0 at Stony Brook Field to win their ninth consecutive contest, while coach Jamie Shevchik’s Whitecaps dropped their fourth consecutive game.
“When you lose three or four, it’s hard to get back in the win column, you feel like you’re drowning,” said Shevchik. “I feel bad for them, this is a long stretch. Nobody should have to go through fifteen straight days of playing baseball without a day off.”
“They’ve got to will their way into playing better baseball and a lot of things have to align. The pitching has got to be there and we’ve got to get some hits and score runs when we need to.”
For the second game in a row, the Whitecaps were held to just three hits by Orleans pitching, but this time it was Firebirds lefty Daniel Lynch (Virginia) (3-0) who shut down the Brewster offense, giving up just one hit in five innings of work.
“We’ve faced some good arms recently and we’ve just run into a little fall here but I feel like we’re going have some good energy tomorrow and come out and get a win,” said Brewster starter Connor Higgins (Arizona State).
Brewster didn’t pick up their first hit until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Chandler Taylor (Alabama) executed a drag bunt perfectly down the first base line, as it eventually rolled all 90 feet before hitting first base.
Only five Whitecaps reached base in the game, with two coming in the ninth inning before Brewster slugger Mickey Gasper (Bryant) was caught stealing second with two outs to end the game.
“Don’t ask me about that, I have no idea what he was thinking,” Shevchik said, shaking his head. “Chandler Taylor up and Julian Infante on deck, that was just stupid baseball.”
On a day where hitting was at a premium, the Firebirds took advantage and crossed their first run in the first inning.
Niko Decolati (Loyola Marymount) brought home Lars Nootbaar (USC) on a groundout to third after Nootbaar tripled to right-center.
Higgins (1-2) settled in nicely after the first, holding Orleans scoreless until the fifth, when Decolati brought home Orleans’ second run on a single.
Higgins, who took the loss despite tossing five innings of two-run ball and not walking a batter, induced a groundball double play to end the fifth, but that would end his outing.
“I wasn’t really looking for that strikeout pitch,” Higgins said. “I was kind of looking to pitch to contact, just have them put the ball in play. I threw a lot of fastballs tonight trying to get that soft contact and have them put the ball in play.”
“He needs to pitch to contact. In this league, you have to make the plays behind him,” Shevchik said. “Today was probably his best pitched game and that’s the way he needs to be.”
The Whitecaps also committed three errors in the game, though none resulted in any Orleans runs. Brewster ranks last in the Cape League in fielding percentage at .959.
“We’re in a little funk right now but these guys, I trust them,” said Higgins. “This is probably one of the best infields I’ve ever played with. We’ve just got to keep pressing. These guys are great players, we’re just in a bit of a funk right now.”
Orleans’ final run came across in the sixth inning off Brewster reliever Joe DeMers (Washington). The run, which scored on an Austin Hale (Stetson) single, was the first earned run DeMers had surrendered all season,
Julian Infante (Vanderbilt) made his season debut for the Whitecaps, starting at first base and finishing the day 0-3. Infante played for the Whitecaps in 2016 and finished 2nd on the Commodores in average this year at .315.
WHAT’S NEXT: Brewster travels to Whitehouse Field to take on the Harwich Mariners. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.