By: Aodhán Doyle
BOURNE, MA- As the old adage goes, “when it rains, it pours.”
While the rain at Doran Park on Saturday was only a light drizzle, the bottom of the fifth inning was a deluge.
In game two of the Cape Cod League Championship Series, the Brewster Whitecaps entered the bottom of the fifth inning leading 7-3 over the Bourne Braves.
Then, everything began to fall apart for coach Jamie Shevchik’s squad, allowing eight runs in the frame and eventually falling to Bourne 13-7, evening the series at one win apiece and setting up a decisive game three at Stony Brook Field in Brewster on Sunday.
“It’s tough, but we’re in the championship for a reason,” said Brewster second baseman Nick Dunn (Maryland). “There are three games, so we’ve just got to come back tomorrow and play like we do.”
“We just couldn’t stop the bleeding with a handful of guys,” Shevchik said. “You take that away and it’s a completely different ballgame. The guys have one more game. They’re going to have to beat some of the best pitching we have left, so if they’re going to do it, we’re going to make them work really hard.”
The first play of the bottom of the fifth turned out to be a microcosm of the entire inning.
While it was hit hard, a fly ball to left-center off the bat of Jared Triolo (Houston) was certainly catchable, but Brewster left fielder Marty Costes (Maryland) slipped on the wet grass trying to run it down, allowing Triolo to advance to third on the triple.
Then, Jameson Hannah (Dallas Baptist) beat out a groundball to shortstop, going as an RBI-infield single and making it 7-4.
After a strikeout and a walk, putting runners on first and second, Shevchik made the call to the bullpen, taking out starter Pauly Milto (Indiana) and replacing him with Ryan Cyr (Kansas).
That’s when the inning really started to get away from Brewster, as Cyr allowed three consecutive singles and then a double which gave Bourne an 8-7 lead.
The last batter Cyr faced, Lyle Lin (Arizona State), broke his bat on a soft chopper to third base and Kyle Datres (UNC) fielded it cleanly, but his throw home to try and get the runner breaking from third wasn’t in time, allowing Lin to reach and the ninth Bourne run to score.
Zach Schneider (Florida Atlantic) entered for Brewster, but fared no better.
The first two batters he faced laced RBI-singled, giving Bourne the 11-7 lead, before Kevin Radziewicz (Fairfield) grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
While the Whitecaps have made a habit of coming back from deficits this season, the eight-run inning proved to be insurmountable.
Bourne added their final two runs on a Brewster error, their only in the ballgame, that could have been an inning-ending double play, but the throw from Datres to second sailed over A.J. Graffanino’s (Washington) and into right field.
Before the eight-run inning, Brewster’s offense scored early and often.
The Whitecaps put up four runs in the top of the second with two coming on a Nick Dunn (Maryland) single and the other two coming home on a Mickey Gasper (Bryant) double.
Bourne brought it to a one-run game in the bottom of the third when Triolo drove in a run with a double and Hannah followed with a home run, but Brewster answered.
Dunn delivered again in the fourth with an RBI-single and then back-to-back sacrifice flies in the fifth from Chandler Taylor (Alabama) and Zack Gahagan (UNC) made it 7-3 Brewster.
Dunn finished his day 3-3 with three runs driven in and a walk.
“Just being patient and sticking to my approach,” Dunn said. “I waited for pitches I could drive.”
Although starter Eli Kraus (Kent State) lasted just two innings and gave up four runs, the Braves bullpen was able to limit Brewster’s offense, mainly via the strikeout.
Brewster struck out 14 times in total, with five coming from Bryan Hoeing (Louisville), who gave up the last three Whitecaps runs, three from P.J. Poulin (UConn), one from Chad Luensmann (Nebraska), and three from Nick Johnson (Rhode Island).
The Whitecaps pitching box score featured some crooked numbers as well.
Milto’s final line was just four and one-third innings pitched and six earned runs with just three strikeouts.
Cyr allowed five runs on four hits and did not record an out, while Schneider gave up two runs (one earned) in two-thirds of an inning.
Drew Reveno (St. Louis) closed the game out for Brewster, striking out four in three scoreless innings.
The situation, however, is all too familiar for Brewster and completely foreign for Bourne.
The Whitecaps faced a do-or-die game three in each of their first two playoff series, while the Braves swept both of their first two opponents.
“It definitely helps,” Dunn said about having played two game threes already. “We know that we still have a chance to come back tomorrow. We’ve just got to play well.”
“I said this after series number one, Tommy Weber said it too, we’re playing with house money,” said Shevchik. “We want to win this thing, and it’s going to be a great story when we do. I think these guys just have to come tomorrow ready to play and forgot about this right here. I know when I walk out I’m going to forget about this and focus on tomorrow and that’s what they need to do too.”
WHAT’S NEXT: The Cape League champion will be decided in a winner-takes-all game three at Stony Brook Field on Sunday at 3 p.m. The 3 p.m. start time is one hour earlier than normal.