By: Koki Riley
BREWSTER, MA- Entering Saturday on a two-game winning streak and returning home to Stony Brook Field, it seemed it was the perfect opportunity for the Brewster Whitecaps to beat the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox for the first time this season.
Unfortunately for Whitecaps coach Jamie Shevchik, his offense went silent for the first eight innings, allowing the Red Sox to jump out to a 4-0 lead and eventually falling to Y-D (25-13-1) 4-2.
“They’re good. They’re very good,” Shevchik said about the Red Sox. “They’re solid all the way through the lineup and they’ve got good pitching. We did tie them once, and we’ve still got a game to play tomorrow.”
Brewster (18-20-2) didn’t score until the bottom of the ninth, when a Michael Curry (Georgia) groundout to short brought home Marty Costes (Maryland), who led the inning off with a single.
A Christian Molfetta (Stanford) RBI-single brought home Brewster’s second run before Brendan Nail (Western Carolina) shut the door on a Whitecaps comeback, earning the save and ending the game.
“Their coach calls a different game than most guys in this league,” said Molfetta, who finished the day 2-5. “So, you kind of have to stick with it and the first couple at-bats are usually tough, but I stayed with my approach throughout the game and when it gets dark out that’s something that I could rely on to get a hit. I mean it was hard to see the ball, but I was looking for a pitch away and I got a fastball away and I was able to react and I was lucky enough to hit it through the hole.”
Although Brewster didn’t score until the ninth, the opportunities to touch home presented themselves, but the Whitecaps couldn’t capitalize.
“Today was a scripted game. We knew exactly which guys we were going to play and a handful of substitutes,” Shevchik said. “I’ve said this before, it’s about getting guys some at-bats and some time at this point. I don’t care who we play in the playoffs, we’re not trying to position ourselves to be in a certain spot. Now it’s about preparing our guys for next weekend.”
In the sixth inning, Brewster would load the bases with just one out for two of the most powerful bats in their lineup.
Julian Infante (Vanderbilt) and Chandler Taylor (Alabama) would both strike out, however, getting Y-D out of the jam.
The Whitecaps loaded the bases once again in the seventh, but Molfetta grounded out to second, ending the threat.
“We also have a lot of different guys coming in and out of the game right now, guys playing different positions,” said Molfetta. “So, there’s a lot of stuff going on right now, but I think once playoffs get closer, the last couple games of the season we’ll see guys coming through with runners on base”
In total, Brewster left ten runners on base, struggling to come up with the big hit that, for the team, has felt absent too often this season.
“After clinching there’s kind of a relief which can be a trap at times, because, you know, we made the playoffs so we kind of relax,” Molfetta said. “But at the same time, it’s quality reps for all of us. So, I think as we get closer to the playoffs you’ll start to see our offense start to click more.”
“We had opportunities to score runs today and just didn’t,” said Shevchik. “Maybe the right guys just not in the right spot. We’re expecting all these guys to contribute at some point in the game, so that’s why we’re doing what we did today.”
Righty Drew Reveno (St. Louis) made his first start on the mound for the Whitecaps, keeping the Red Sox within striking distance for his offense.
Reveno went five innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits, while striking out three.
After working two scoreless frames to start his outing, Reveno ran into trouble in the third, when a Nico Hoerner (Stanford) squeeze play brought home Y-D’s first run.
The Red Sox tacked on another run on an RBI-double from Alfonso Rivas (Arizona), who continues to haunt the Whitecaps. Four of the nine runs Rivas has driven in this year have come against Brewster.
The third run came home in the fifth inning when Zack Gahagan (UNC) missed a pop fly in shallow left field that would have ended the inning.
Y-D took a 4-0 lead in the seventh inning on an RBI-single off Brewster reliever Troy Miller (Michigan), who was making his Whitecaps debut.
Miller went two and two-thirds innings, allowing just one run on four hits.
After the Wolverine, Shevchik turned to Conor McNamara (Marist) to close the game out. McNamara struck out the only batter he faced in the eighth before striking out two more in a scoreless ninth.
“They pitched well enough,” Shevchik said about his three pitchers. “We’re a hard team to keep under four runs, so I thought they pitched well enough. We made some mistakes defensively that cost us some runs. I mean, really, this game should have been 2-0, 3-0 at best, and we just didn’t produce anything offensively.”
On the mound for the Red Sox was Andrew Quezada (Cal State Fullerton), who shut down the Whitecaps over six innings of four-hit, scoreless ball, earning his fourth win.
Jacob Wloczewski (Binghamton) did not allow a run in the seventh inning before the Whitecaps crossed two against Hunter Parsons (Maryland) in the ninth.
The Whitecaps committed two errors in the game, raising their season total to 55 and lowering their already league-worst fielding percentage to .962.
“I think if we limit walks and limit our errors we’ll be fine,” Molfetta said. “They take advantage of a lot of mistakes that we make. I think if we play clean defensive baseball we’ll be fine.”
Shevchik, who hasn’t shied away from bold predictions this season, delivered one more.
“We’ll beat them tomorrow, I promise you that,” said the Brewster skipper.
Brewster second baseman Nick Dunn (Maryland) extended his hitting streak to fifteen games with a single in the sixth inning. The streak is the longest in the Cape League this season.
WHAT’S NEXT: The two Eastern Division rivals continue to jockey for playoff positioning in game two of the home-and-home on Sunday at Red Wilson Field in Yarmouth. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.