By Maxwell Paul McLaughlin
BREWSTER, M.A. - It was game one, and the stage was set for an epic showdown between the Whitecaps and Mariners. The Whitecaps escaped with a 2-0 win in a game that could've gone either way.
With a capacity crowd on hand, the Whitecaps snagged game one away from the second-seeded Mariners. The win gave the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead in a best of three series, with the winner advancing to the championship series.
“I didn't think two was going to be enough today, but now their(Mariners) backs are against the wall leading into the next two days,'' Whitecaps manager Jamie Shevchik said.
The Whitecaps found themselves in trouble early on. The Mariners had runners on first and second with no outs. Brian Fitzpatrick (Rutgers) showed no nerves and proceeded to strike out three in a row.
The Whitecaps struck first in the bottom of the fourth. Chad Castillo (Cal Baptist) hit a single to score Chris Lanzilli (Arkansas) from second after Lanzilli previously doubled.
The Whitecaps found themselves in trouble once again in the fifth. With runners on second and third, coach Shevchik went to the bullpen and called upon Michael Prosecky (Louisville) to save the day.
Prosecky came in and delivered, getting the Whitecaps out of another sticky situation. Prosecky went 3.2 innings, striking out four, allowing four hits, and no runs.
The Whitecaps scored their second run off another Chad Castillo (Cal Baptist) single. Zach Neto (Campbell) led off the inning with a double, Castillo proceeded to drive him in with his second hit of the ball game.
“It’s just my teammates getting on in front of me, and our pitching staff doing a great job,” Castillo said. “We knew their pitcher was going to be good, so we had to attack the zone.”
The Mariners again got the first two men on base to start the eighth inning, but Michael Prosecky (Louisville) sat down three straight to get the Whitecaps out of a jam.
It all came down to the ninth, with the Whitecaps leading 2-0. The closer Dale Stanavich (Rutgers) entered the game and shut down the Mariners. Stanavich was able to secure the game one victory for the Whitecaps.
Brian Fitzpatrick (Rutgers) started the game for the Whitecaps, and couldn't have been any better. Fitzpatrick went 4.1 innings, struck out eight, and allowed no runs.
“When it's a big spot you have to treat it like any other game,” Fitzpatrick said. “You have to stick to your plan and I just went out there and tried to do what I always do.”
With the Whitecaps winning the game, they are now only one step away from the finals.
The Whitecaps will feature Teddy McGraw (Wake Forest) in game two. McGraw has been with the Whitecaps since day one.
“We have a good guy. I think Teddy matches up with their lineup well,” Jamie Shevchik said.
The Whitecaps will face the Mariners in game two at Whitehouse Field at 5:30 p.m, Saturday.