By: Koki Riley
BREWSTER, MA- With the tying-run just ninety feet away and only one out in the top of the ninth inning, all eyes were on Brewster Whitecaps reliever Robert Broom (Mercer) on the mound at Stony Brook Field on Sunday evening.
Rising to the occasion, Broom struck out George Janca (Texas A&M) before getting Josh Breaux (McClennan CC) to ground out to third, ending the threat and securing Brewster’s (12-10-1) fourth consecutive victory, this time just 1-0 over the Falmouth Commodores (11-11-1).
“I’m used to coming into situations like that with high emotions, so I really just had to focus and zone out what’s around me and focus on throwing strikes,” Broom said after the game. “Just so happens I did that tonight and I hope that I continue to do that in the future.”
Broom entered the game in the top of the eighth, working a scoreless frame and retiring the first batter he faced in the ninth before allowing a triple to straight-away center field off the bat of Trevor Larnach (Oregon State).
“[Coach Jamie Shevchik] said he really would like this runner to not score, so definitely a lot of pressure there,” chuckled Broom. “I’m used to pressured situations like that, but I’m honored to be the guy to come in in those situations.”
Breaux’s grounder, which stranded Larnach and ended the game, was hit hard down the third base line, but Brewster third baseman Kyle Datres (UNC) made a backhanded stab before planting and delivering a strong, accurate throw across the diamond to finish Broom’s third save of the year.
Broom’s two scoreless innings lowered his season ERA to an incredible 0.52 and his three strikeouts moved him into a tie for third in the entire Cape League with 24.
“That’s just what I get up every morning for, is to help my teammates out and in this situation, help myself out,” said Broom. “I’m just proud and honored to be in that role.”
“He’s the back end of our bullpen, he’s our guy,” said Shevchik. “I think I said this the very first time he pitched, the kid’s going to be an all-star. He’s really, really, good.”
Righty Davis Daniel (Auburn) made his third start of the season for Shevchik’s club and delivered arguably the best start of any Whitecaps starter this season.
“Really just fastball command is the main thing and going out and attacking guys,” Daniel said when asked about his start. “Just working ahead and really just going after it.”
Daniel (2-1) worked six spectacular shutout innings, giving up just one hit and striking out seven Commodores.
“It’s exciting,” Daniel said about shutting down the highest scoring offense in the league. “I felt really good today and was fortunate to have all my stuff.”
Daniel found himself in a bit of a jam in the sixth inning, with the tying-run on third and only one out in the inning.
The Auburn Tiger would bear down, however, not allowing the run to cross and preserving his shutout.
“His first couple starts, he threw a lot of breaking balls up in the zone and he got hurt when his off-speed stuff was up,” said Shevchik. "Today he was just primarily fastballs for probably 95% of the game and he really concentrated on locating down in the zone.”
Pauly Milto (Indiana) worked a scoreless inning of relief before turning the ball over to Broom.
“You can always rely on our bullpen, they’ve done a good job all year,” said Daniel.
Brewster’s only run came in the bottom of the first inning when first baseman Julian Infante (Vanderbilt) lined an infield single to third, scoring the leadoff hitter Datres from third.
Following the two hits in the first, Brewster would garner only three hits over the rest of the game, being held in check by a Falmouth pitching staff that has struggled for the majority of the season.
Falmouth starter Dalton Feeney (NC State) (0-2) went 3.1 innings, giving up just one run and four hits, eventually taking the tough luck loss.
Commodore relievers Cole Sands (Florida State) and Tom Ponticelli (San Francisco) combined for 4.2 IP, allowing just two hits while striking out eight Whitecaps.
The Whitecaps had opportunities to extend their lead, threatening to score in the fourth, sixth, and eighth innings.
In the fourth, Mickey Gasper (Bryant) flew out to right field to leave the bases loaded and then in the sixth, Sands struck out Datres and Chandler Taylor (Alabama) to strand Darius Hill (West Virginia) at third.
In the eighth, Nick Dunn (Maryland) led off the inning with a triple, but was unable to cross the plate as Ponticelli retired the next three batters.
On a day when the Whitecaps had just six hits as a team, two-thirds of them came from Dunn and Michael Curry (Georgia), who each collected a pair of hits.
“I think they’re just starting to loosen up and winning is a lot of fun,” Shevchik said as Curry, Gasper, and fellow catcher Justin Kunz (Gardner-Webb) danced behind him. “They’re getting an idea of how to win and I think the biggest note here is they’ve now gone four straight days without an error.”
WHAT’S NEXT: The Whitecaps head to Red Wilson Field to face off against the Y-D Red Sox on Monday. The teams enter the game with identical records, tied for second place in the Eastern Division and first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.