By: Koki Riley
ORLEANS, MA- For the second consecutive game, the Brewster Whitecaps managed four or fewer hits in an eventual loss to an Eastern Division opponent.
On a picture-perfect night at Eldredge Park, the Whitecaps (15-15-1) fell to the Orleans Firebirds (18-10) by a final score of 4-2.
“We’ve just got to keep our head down and keep going,” said Brewster reliever Joe DeMers (Washington). “We’ve been playing good ball and things will start to go our way.”
After second baseman Nick Dunn (Maryland) singled with one out in the fifth, Brewster would fail to find another baserunner, with their last fourteen batters being retired in order.
“That was, in my opinion, in this ballpark, the best offensive lineup we could’ve put out there today,” said Whitecaps coach Jamie Shevchik. “We just didn’t hit. We have some things to figure out.”
All four of Brewster’s hits were singles that fell between the third and fifth innings.
On the mound for the Firebirds was Chandler Day (Vanderbilt), who struggled with command and walked five over three-plus innings, surrendering two earned runs.
After Day, however, Orleans’ bullpen was nearly unhittable, with Brooks Wilson (Stetson), Jake Wong (Grand Canyon), and Josh Hiatt (UNC), combining for six innings of shutout relief and allowing just two hits.
Wilson (1-0) picked up the victory for Orleans, while Hiatt recorded his seventh save.
The game became easier for the Orleans pitching staff thanks to the early lead provided by the Firebirds offense.
Orleans scored three runs in the bottom of the first, none of which crossed the plate on hits.
Jimmy Herron (Duke) scored first on a passed ball, then Niko Decolati (Loyola-Marymount) followed on a sacrifice fly, before Ethan Paul (Vanderbilt) scored on a Brewster error.
Romy Gonzalez (Miami-FL) provided the fourth and final run for coach Kelly Nicholson’s squad courtesy of an opposite-field home run to right-center.
Brewster’s offense only found success in the fourth inning, scoring both of their runs in the frame.
A Hunter Bishop (Arizona State) walk loaded the bases for Julian Infante (Vanderbilt) and the second-year Whitecap delivered with an RBI-single to center field, shrinking Orleans’ lead to 4-1.
Marty Costes (Maryland) followed with a sacrifice fly to left-center, scoring Kyle Datres (UNC) and cutting the Brewster deficit in half.
Ryan Avidano (Georgia) got the start for Brewster, but didn’t look quite as sharp as he had in previous outings.
The southpaw allowed four runs (three earned) over four innings, striking out and walking three in what was his first loss of the season.
If there was a bright spot on the mound for the Whitecaps, it was the bullpen.
DeMers, who relieved Avidano (1-1) in the bottom of the fifth, did not surrender a run over three innings, giving up just two hits and striking out four.
“The fastball was coming out well and I was getting the curveball over so that was huge,” DeMers said. “I was just trying to throw in the zone today.”
Stephen Jones (Samford) made his Cape League debut in the 8th for the Whitecaps. The newly-activated righty tossed a perfect frame and picked up his first strikeout.
“I liked him. He had some pretty good velocity and I think he can help us,” Shevchik said. “That’s a welcome addition and I think he got here right in the right time. He did exactly what we needed him to do.”
Earlier in the day the Cape League announced its All-Star rosters and the participants of the league’s home run derby.
Brewster had three all-stars, including two starters. Designated hitter Michael Curry (Georgia), first baseman Mickey Gasper (Bryant), and reliever Robert Broom (Mercer) all made the roster while Chandler Taylor (Alabama) was selected to participate in the derby.
As for Orleans, the Firebirds had a league-leading eight all-star selections and two home run derby participants.
Decolati, Gonzalez, Paul, Ryan Rollison (Ole Miss), Daniel Lynch (Virginia), Logan Gilbert (Stetson), and Joey Murray (Kent State) all made the team while Gonzalez and Stephen Scott (Vanderbilt) will vie for the home run hitting crown.
“It is a must win,” Shevchik said about Brewster’s game on Sunday. “Especially with a day off the next day, it’s all-hands-on-deck tomorrow. At this point in the season, tomorrow is a must win.”
WHAT’S NEXT: Brewster heads back home to take on the Harwich Mariners on Sunday at Stony Brook Field. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.