By: Koki Riley
BREWSTER, MA - In the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader, the Brewster Whitecaps took down the Bourne Braves 4-3 at Stony Brook Field behind early offense and a stellar outing from reliever Robert Broom (Mercer).
“It just felt like a different team. We had a conversation with the guys prior to the game and it was about loosening up a little bit and playing for something more than just themselves,” said Whitecaps coach Jamie Shevchik. “Playing for the people around here and playing to win.”
“They need to loosen up and play a certain style of baseball and play relaxed and have some fun doing it. Some of these guys are uptight and it shows. Some bad at bats and we’re forcing ourselves to make mistakes so hopefully that little conversation helped today.”
After 4+ innings pitched from Whitecaps starter Davis Daniel (Auburn), Broom entered the game for Brewster in the fifth inning, with Bourne threatening to tie the game with runners on second and third and nobody out.
Broom set down the next three Braves in order to escape the jam unscathed.
“You know I think just really pounding the strike zone,” said Broom when asked about the key to his success. “Getting early in the count, throwing strikes. If you throw strikes, good things are going to happen.”
The submariner, who only threw a handful of warmup pitches before getting the call, shut down Bourne over the next two innings, securing Brewster’s second victory of the day and a sweep of the doubleheader and finishing the day with three innings pitched and only allowing one hit.
“Honestly that’s what it’s like all season at Mercer. I’ve grown used to that. Coach Shade, my pitching coach at Mercer, throws me in after three, four or five, warmup pitches and I’ve just grown used to that,” said Broom. “I think that’s actually prepared me to go to the next level and I could really thank him for that. I just think I’m really good at coming into jams like that and getting big outs.”
The Whitecaps found their offense early in the ballgame, scoring four runs off Braves starter Ronnie Rossomando (UConn) in the first two innings.
Whitecaps first baseman Mickey Gasper (Bryant) continued to produce at the plate in the first inning, driving in the first run of the game for the Whitecaps on a sacrifice fly to bring home Kyle Datres (UNC).
Later in the inning, Nick Dunn (Maryland) walked with the bases loaded, plating another run and making it 2-0 Whitecaps.
A third run would score in the inning on a Justin Kunz (Gardner Webb) single, bringing home outfielder Chandler Taylor (Alabama).
The Whitecaps would tack on a fourth run in the very next inning, with Gasper collecting his second RBI of the game by driving in Dunn to make it 4-0 Whitecaps.
Gasper would go 1-2 on the day and raise his batting average on the season to a stellar .406 clip.
From that point on, it was a matter of the Whitecaps’ pitching staff holding the Braves’ offense at bay.
The Braves would answer in the top of the fourth inning with three runs of their own.
With two Bourne runners in scoring position, a Justin Kunz (Gardner-Webb) passed ball would allow a run to score.
Bourne would continue to swing the game’s momentum, capitalizing with two men in scoring position and two outs thanks to a single up the middle from catcher Kevin Radzewicz (Fairfield) that would make the score 4-3.
Daniel would eventually get out of the fourth inning, but the right hander would fail to get an out in the fifth and leave his first appearance for the Whitecaps after allowing three runs while striking out four.
“I like him. He throws a lot of strikes and fills up the strike zone,” said Shevchik. “He’s got three pitches which will solidify him as a starter.”
“I think he got a little tired when he got into the fifth inning. I give credit to Broom for coming in and cleaning that up for him,” added Shevchik. “I think he’s going to be a good one for us. He hasn’t pitched in over a month so I think his next start is going to be a bit sharper.”
For Bourne, reliever Zach Mort (George Mason) kept his team in the game with 3.1 innings of scoreless relief for the Braves, but his offense couldn’t quite provide enough support.
Offensively, the Whitecaps lineup produced from top to bottom. Brewster’s one, two, and three hitters (Datres, Dunn, and Gasper), combined to go 4-8 with four runs scored and two runs batted in.
Eight and nine hitters Kunz and Christian Molfetta (Stanford) finished game two a combined three-for-six with a run batted in.
When asked about playing the Braves for the third time in two days on Monday, Broom was excited for the rematch.
“This is very similar to a weekend series that we would play in college. We play three games in two days or something like that,” said Broom. “So I think seeing the same lineup, we can, as pitchers, can tell the other pitchers the weaknesses and strengths of these hitters. I think overall, like I said, this is a great group of pitchers and I think we’ll do fine, and I’m excited to continue playing the rest of the year.”
WHAT’S NEXT: The Whitecaps head to Bourne to play their third game in two days against the Braves at Doran Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.