By: Koki Riley
BREWSTER, MA- Brewster Whitecaps head coach Jamie Shevchik is typically one of the most optimistic and even-keeled managers you’ll find at any level.
Speaking after the Whitecaps’ 10-3 defeat at the hands of the Wareham Gatemen (15-15-1) on Wednesday, however, the frustration was evident in the coach’s voice.
“They’re not focused. They’re playing very complacent baseball,” the coach said. “It starts with the tempo in the first couple innings. You can tell. I knew right from inning number two that this was going to be a tough day. You can just feel it, and that goes with any game, hang around the dugout long enough and you can kind of figure out how the day is going to go based on the first two innings.”
Defensively, the game was a major struggle for the Whitecaps (15-16-1) as Brewster committed three errors in the game, all charged to second baseman Christian Molfetta (Stanford).
“We have got to come out and play good defense. That’s what we’ve been struggling with all year, really,” said Whitecaps catcher Justin Kunz (Gardner-Webb). “We can’t give up three errors in a game like that, so that’s tough.”
“We were really low energy and set the bad tone right from the beginning, right from the first inning,” said Shevchik.
This put Brewster starter Joe Molettiere (Monmouth) in a tough spot, as the righty surrendered four runs over four innings, although just two were earned.
Molettiere left the game after Gatemen two-way star Tanner Dodson (California) singled home outfielder Steven Kwan (Oregon State) in the top of the fifth, extending Wareham’s lead to 3-0.
Shevchik turned to Drew Reveno (St. Louis), who was making his Whitecaps debut.
Wareham crossed their fourth run on a steal of home from Dodson, who scored from third on a Mickey Gasper (Bryant) throw down to second to try and catch Gatemen catcher Willie MacIver (Washington) stealing.
Wareham continued to pour it on with a pair of RBI-singles in the top of the seventh by Kyle Kasser (Oregon) and Tristan Pompey (Kentucky), extending the Gatemen lead to seven.
After Brewster scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the eighth on a Darius Hill (West Virginia) double down the right field line that scored Nick Dunn (Maryland), Wareham responded with four more runs in the top of the ninth.
Dodson homered to lead off the inning, then a Jarren Duran (Long Beach State) ground-rule double brought home Wareham’s eighth run before Blake Sabol (USC) delivered the final blow with a two-run single.
What is typically a stellar Brewster bullpen struggled on Wednesday. Reveno found success early, but wore as his outing progressed, eventually leaving with a final line of three innings, two runs allowed, one walk, and four strikeouts.
The right-hander was relieved by Stephen Jones (Samford), who gave up four runs over two innings on five hits and did not strike out a batter.
“They came in already behind the eight ball. It’s hard to come in out of the bullpen when there’s not a lot of effort behind you and they’re kicking the ball all over the place,” Shevchik said. ”That’s a tough position to be in. I know if I’m sitting back there I don’t want my name called. I don’t want to come in here and have to throw with guys kicking the ball around and no energy in the dugout. So it’s a really tough spot for a reliever to come in in that situation so it’s definitely not their fault.”
While Wareham crossed the plate seemingly at will, Brewster’s offense failed to get anything going against Gatemen pitching.
Wareham starter Mason Feole (UConn) held the Whitecaps to just one hit over five innings of work, before being relieved by a pair of all-stars in Justin Montgomery (California Baptist) and Griffin Roberts (Wake Forest).
The pair combined for three innings of relief, allowing just one run on two hits and striking out five.
After the newly re-activated Steele Walker (Oklahoma) singled with one out in the bottom of the first, Brewster was held without a baserunner until Dunn led off the eighth with a double.
The Whitecaps finished with just five hits on the day, with four of them and all three of their runs coming in the final two frames.
“There was no offense,” Shevchik said. “It was a bad feeling in the dugout today. It’s almost like some guys just didn’t want to be here. I don’t know if it’s just getting to be that time of the year where it’s getting towards the end of July where guys are tired or they’re broken down a little bit but it’s getting tough. “
“Some of these guys have to do some serious soul searching here and step it up a notch because I think it’s a big disservice to the ball club and their teammates too. We’ve got to be better in every facet of the game, that’s no question.”
Brewster got their final two runs on Kunz’s third home run of the season with one out in the ninth.
“He just hung me a first pitch slider that I took down and away and I was just cheating the fastball,” Kunz said. “I got my head out there and took a hack at it.”
WHAT’S NEXT: Brewster takes on the first-place Orleans Firebirds in an Eastern Division matchup Thursday at Stony Brook Field.
“We’re not going to motivate to play against Orleans,” said Shevchik. “We’re going to try to do what we can to motivate them to stick around here the next two weeks of good baseball because that’s what matters. This organization has been too good to these kids and they’ve worked too hard for guys to start quitting on them and we’re not going to let that happen.”
First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.