By: Koki Riley
COTUIT, MA - After leaving the bases loaded twice and suffering two costly mistakes in the field, the Brewster Whitecaps left the first game of their doubleheader with the Cotuit Kettleers on the wrong side of the scoreboard as it was Cotuit that got the best of Brewster with a 4-3 victory in eight innings (of a seven inning game).
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Whitecaps pitcher Robert Broom (Mercer) was pitching well after only surrendering one run in two and two-thirds innings pitched in relief.
Then, with one out in the eighth inning, Whitecaps third baseman Connor Smith (Western Michigan) dropped a pop up off the bat of Greyson Jenista (Wichita State).
After the error from Smith, up to the plate came Florida native Griffin Conine (Duke) who hit a ball on the screws right to Whitecaps first baseman Pete Schuler (Kent State). Unfortunately for Brewster, Schuler dropped the ball and gave the Whitecaps their second error of the inning.
The miscues in the field cost the Whitecaps the game.
“We made a couple mistakes defensively that cost us,” Whitecaps coach Jamie Shevchik said. “But that’s not going to happen on a regular basis. I chalk it up as a fluke.”
After striking out John Cresto (Santa Clara) for the second out of the inning, Broom allowed a single up the middle to Kettleers Catcher Gian Martellini (Boston College) for the walk off win for the Kettleers.
Earlier in the game, the Whitecaps had two opportunities to end the game in seven innings but failed to do so.
After jumping out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning, Brewster threatened again the very next inning with the bases loaded and nobody out thanks to a bunt hit from the number nine hitter A.J. Graffanino (Washington).
After Graffanino reached, Nick Dunn (Maryland) was thrown out at the plate on a groundball to the second baseman.
Smith, who was named to the 2nd All Mid-Atlantic Conference team in his first two seasons at WMU, followed, but even his prior successes couldn’t translate to runs as Smith flew out to Kettleers left fielder Brett Kinneman (NC State) for the second out of the inning.
Just as Kinneman snatched the ball for the second out, Whitecaps left fielder Devin Foyle (Kansas) tagged up and headed towards home.
The rising junior from Fountain Hills, Arizona was cut down by a perfect Kinneman throw, completing a seven-to-two, inning-ending double play.
The Whitecaps would threaten again the very next inning with the identical situation--bases loaded and nobody out.
Once again, the Whitecaps failed to capitalize on their opportunity.
Chandler Taylor (Alabama), Dunn, and Foyle all hit shallow fly balls, failing to bring in the runner at third.
The team would leave eleven runners on base for the game.
Even with the tough loss, there were some bright spots for Brewster.
On the mound to start the game for the Whitecaps was rising junior William Tribucher (Michigan), who gave up only two earned runs in four innings while striking out six.
“I thought he was a little rusty,” Shevchik said. “But he threw well and he gave us a chance to win the baseball game.”
“We’re short on lefthanders,” added Shevchik. “We’re going to have to find at least one or two of those guys who are going to work their way into the bullpen eventually.”
Mickey Gasper (Bryant), who homered in Wednesday’s season opener, hit a home run in the top of the seventh to tie the game at three and force extra innings.
“It’s really loose in the dugout and Mickey is a very good hitter,” praised Shevchik. “Mickey is going to be one of the better hitters in this league for sure. He’s a natural leader."
Meanwhile, first baseman Pete Schuler went 2-4 with a pair of singles for the Whitecaps.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Whitecaps play the second game of their doubleheader against the Kettleers at Lowell Park.
By: Aodhán Doyle
HYANNIS, MA – Standing just six-feet-tall and hailing from a Division II school, Whitecaps pitcher J.R. McDermott (Colorado Mesa) is certainly not the biggest guy in the Cape League.
But on the mound at McKeon Park in Hyannis on Thursday night, McDermott was a giant.
The right hander spun five innings of shutout ball to help lead the Whitecaps to their second win of the season in as many games, a 6-1 victory over the Hyannis Harbor Hawks which was eerily similar to the previous night’s contest in Orleans.
McDermott only allowed three baserunners, all singles, while striking out four. The Whitecaps starter used a curveball/slider combination to a Harbor Hawks lineup full of powerful left-handed hitters while also locating his fastball in the lower part of the strike zone.
Leaving the game with a 1-0 lead, McDermott got some extra support from his offense to ensure his first Cape League victory.
After tacking on a run in the 6th, Brewster’s offense exploded for three runs in the 7th.
Back-to-back walks by Chandler Taylor (Alabama) and Darius Hill (West Virginia) set up opportunities for Chris Givin (Xavier) and Christian Molfetta (Stanford) who delivered consecutive RBI singles, extending Brewster’s lead to 4-0.
After McDermott, Ryan Avidano (Georgia) and Joe DeMers (Washington) combined for three scoreless innings in relief, striking out four.
McDermott, Avidano, and DeMers are all on temporary contracts with the Whitecaps.
“They’re giving us a lot of tough decisions,” Whitecaps coach Jamie Shevchik said about his temp pitchers.
Similar to the previous night, Brewster received five shutout innings from its starter, and then used three relievers to close out the game. Brewster also led 6-0 going into the 9th inning in both games, before giving up a run and earning 6-1 victories.
Brewster had an opportunity to get on the board in the 1st after a Michael Curry (Georgia) double to left almost brought home Mickey Gasper (Bryant), but Gasper was thrown out at the plate after an excellent relay by Hyannis.
Steele Walker (Oklahoma) made his debut for Brewster Thursday night and while he went 0-5 at the plate, he showed strong defense in center field and recorded his first RBI on a 7th inning groundout.
WHAT’S NEXT: Brewster plays its third consecutive road game on Friday night in Bourne against the Braves. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
By: Aodhán Doyle
ORLEANS, MA – Connor Higgins (Arizona State) had just one career start to his name in two years as a Sun Devil, but that didn’t stop Whitecaps’ manager Jamie Shevchik from calling on Higgins for the team’s opening day start on Wednesday night at Eldredge Park in Orleans.
The big left-hander delivered.
The Arizona State sophomore tossed five scoreless innings against the Orleans Firebirds, getting a two-run home run from Mickey Gasper (Bryant) in support, and Brewster went on to rout Orleans 6-1 in the season opener.
“It was a great team win,” Higgins said. “Everybody was energetic tonight and it was a great start to get this team rolling.”
Making his first start since May 13th against the University of Washington, Higgins struck out six and walked one over his five innings, recording his first career victory in the Cape League.
The Orefield, Pennsylvania native got even better as the game went on, retiring the last ten batters he faced in order. The most trouble Higgins ever faced was in the 1st inning, when an error gave the Firebirds runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs. Higgins escaped by forcing a Steve Passatempo (UMass-Lowell) groundout.
“Connor’s going to be really good,” said Shevchik. “He’s going to give some teams the fits.”
Gasper took a 1-0 fastball from Firebirds starter Kevin Smith (Georgia) and drove it over the fence in left-center field in the 5th inning. Gasper is expected to be one of Brewster’s primary catchers this season and finished the game 2-3 with two runs scored, two runs batted in, and a walk.
2nd-year Whitecap A.J. Graffanino (Washington) knocked in Justin Kunz (Gardner-Webb) in his first at-bat of the season to give Brewster a 1-0 lead in the 3rd, and finished the game 2-4 with a stolen base.
Even after Higgins departed, the Whitecaps’ bullpen shut down the Firebirds’ offense over the final four innings. The pitching staff combined to give up just four hits while striking out ten.
Robert Broom (Mercer) was dominant, throwing two perfect innings with four strikeouts. Broom utilized both his fastball and slider, combined with a deceptive submarine throwing motion.
“There’s a kid that I’m going to make a prediction,” Shevchik declared. “He will pitch in the All-Star Game.”
Zach Linginfelter (Tennessee) threw a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two, while Andy Pagnozzi (Mississippi) closed out the game for Brewster, giving up one unearned run.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Whitecaps travel to McKeon Park to take on the Hyannis Harbor Hawks tomorrow, Thursday June 15th. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Congratulations to 2016 Whitecaps selected in MLB Draft! (Through 10 rounds)
Logan Warmoth, SS, drafted 22nd by Blue Jays
Brent Rooker, OF, drafted 35th by Minnesota Twins
Zac Lowther, LHP, drafted 74 by Baltimore
Kade McClure, RHP, drafted in 6 round by White Sox
Tyler Zuber, RHP, drafted in 6 round by Kansas City
Landon Hughes, RHP, drafted in 7 round by Athletics
Jared Barnes, C, drafted in 8 round by Miami
You know how Jordan’s Furniture has been known to offer free furniture if the Sox win the World Series? Well, the company is well advised to renew their insurance policy to cover the cost of giving away all those sofa beds and dinette sets again this year. That’s because the Sox are a virtual shoo-in to win the World Series in 2017.
It has nothing to do with the fact that now, with the addition of proven lefthander Chris Sale, they have four dependable, marquis starters. And it’s not because they have one of the deepest line-ups in the league and an exceptionally strong defense.
Nope – the reason they will win is because they acquired relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers. Thornburg is a hard-throwing 28-year-old right hander, who put up some impressive numbers in 2016: 2.15 ERA, 13 saves and 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 67 appearances. And he took over as Milwaukee's closer after Jeremy Jeffress was dealt to the Rangers at the trade deadline. The Red Sox say Thornburg will be cast as the set-up guy, but watch out, Craig Kimbrell.
Regardless of his specific bullpen role, it’s highly likely that Thornburg will make a big contribution to Boston’s success this season. But still, you say, there is no way one relief pitcher can assure a team of a World Series Championship. If the team is the Boston Red Sox, sure he can. But not because of his talent. Because of his resume.
You see, Tyler Thornburg played one summer in the Cape Cod Baseball League for the Brewster Whitecaps. Bingo.
Track with me now: the Boston Red Sox have won three World Series Championships in the last 100-plus years, right? Well, there was one common element across all three of those wins. Each and every time, the team had a former Brewster Whitecaps player on the roster. Mike Myers in 2004, Bobby Kielty in 2007 (when he hit the game and Series winning home run against Colorado) and David Ross in the magical, preposterous 2013 campaign.
So there it is. Put it in the bank. Lock it up. Lead-pipe cinch. Sewn up. Done deal. Get Vegas on the phone, you can’t lose. In Brewster, we’re already planning the victory party. But wait, you say, has there ever been a Whitecaps player on a Red Sox team that didn’t win the World Series?
What the heck kind of a buzz-killing question is that?
Go Sox in ’17. It’s going to be a Whitecaps four-bagger. Bet on it.
-- Jim Decker
Brewster Whitecaps Communications Director
JC Holt, along with 5 other standout players, was inducted into the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame in ceremonies held Saturday, November 19, 2016, at the Chatham Bars Inn.
The sweet-swinging LSU product enjoyed a banner season for the Whitecaps in 2003, named Cape League MVP after leading the league with .388 batting average, breaking Brewster team record previously held by Bobby Kielty’s .384 in 1999.
The Sieper, La., native produced 52 hits and .423 OBP with a 21-game hitting streak as he led Whitecaps to East Division title and best record (24-17-3) in CCBL. Holt played three outfield positions, finishing second in the league with six assists and also played second base. He was NCAA Regional MVP before arriving on the Cape. He was drafted by Atlanta in 3rd round of 2004 Draft and played in minor leagues for eight years, hitting .277 overall and batted over .300 four times. JC is currently a high school teacher and (of course) baseball coach in central Louisiana.
JC was accompanied by his mom & dad, John and Janet, along with his wife, Tiffany and son, Gavin.
For the second consecutive night, Brewster took a lead into the ninth, when their bullpen decided to make the game interesting. And for the second consecutive night, Brewster worked through a challenging bullpen and won. The way it happened did change from Friday night in Hyannis to Saturday night against the Wareham Gatemen at Spillane Field.
Brewster, again, scored first and took the lead. The game was a pitcher's duel for the first four innings, as Brett Conine (Cal State Fullerton) and Konnor Pilkington (Mississippi State) combined to allow only one baserunner through the first four innings of play. Brewster notched the first run of the game in the fifth when Zach Gahagan (North Carolina) led off with a single, advanced on some small ball plays, and scored on a wild pitch. The Whitecaps got another run in the 6th when Brent Rooker (Mississippi State) singled in Julian Infante (Vanderbilt) to put Brewster ahead 2-0.
Like Friday night, Brewster got an outstanding performance from their starter. Konnor Pilkington retired the first 12 batters he faced and did not allow a baserunner until the 5th inning. He would ultimately get 7 strikeouts in 7 innings of work and allowed only one run. That came on a blast by Adrian Tovalin (Azusa Pacific) in the 7th inning.
Also like Friday night, Brewster's bullpen struggled to close the door. Wyatt Burns (Samford) had some good pitches, but struggled in his first outing in the Cape League and loaded the bases. Hansen Butler (UNC) came on in relief. He threw a wild pitch, and Cole Freeman (LSU) scored to tie the game 2-2. No one scored in the 9th inning for either team, and the game went into extra innings.
In the 10th inning, Brewster's offense broke through the Gatemen. Julian Infante dropped a single into center field and Ryan Gridley (Mississippi State) came around to score and put Brewster ahead to stay. And they tacked on two more runs on an RBI double by Nick Dunn (Maryland) and a single by Brent Rooker. Hansen Butler pitched around a 1 out walk in the 10th to seal the victory.
With the win and Chatham's loss, Brewster now has a four point lead for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Division. Brewster returns home to Stony Brook for a game against the Bourne Braves on Sunday at 5pm.
In the 9th inning at McKeon Park, the chords of "Urgent" by Foreigner played over the loud speaker. The song perfectly captured the sentiments of the Brewster Whitecaps and their fans. After tough losses to Cotuit and Yarmouth-Dennis and a controversial tie against Orleans, Brewster came into Friday night's game against Hyannis looking for a victory to keep pace in the Eastern Division standings. For most of the night, it seemed as though they would win rather easily.
The Whitecaps offense got on the board quickly, with a Bryce Jordan (LSU) double to lead off the game and a Ryan Noda (Cincinnati) double to drive him in. Hunter Martin (Tennessee) then took the hill and with a few hiccups in the game, Martin pitched an effective 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six batters, including four in a row at one stretch, and only surrendered two runs. Hyannis tied the game on a 2nd inning Zach Rutherford (Old Dominion) sacrifice fly, and then took the lead on a pair of 3rd inning triples by Cody Henry (Alabama) and Kameron Esthay (Baylor). Other than that, Martin kept the Harbor Hawks off the board while he was on the hill.
Brewster's offense put up more hits and reclaimed the lead to help their starter out. Ryan Gridley (Mississippi State) hit a two run blast for his first home run of the summer in the 5th to put Brewster ahead 3-2 over the Hawks and Brewster built on that lead. Three runs came around to score for the Caps in the 6th, highlighted by a throwing error on a Kekai Rios (Hawaii) bunt and one of Bryce Jordan's four hits on the night. Another run scored in the 7th on when Brent Rooker (Mississippi State) scored on a Zach Gahagan double. And the last two Brewster runs scored in the 8th on a Brent Rooker double.
The game was comfortably in the Whitecaps hands with a 9-3 lead in the bottom of the 9th. Then Hyannis made it interesting. Ryan Feltner (Ohio State) came on and could not record an out. He gave up three straight singles, a walk, and an RBI double to Zach Rutherford that cut the lead to 9-6. Jacob Wloczewski (Binghamton) came on and pitched with the bases loaded and no out. He forced a ground out by Jordan Rodgers that cut the lead to 9-7 but got an out. An error by Gridley at shortstop and a walk reloaded the bases with one out, but Wloczewski got a strikeout to make it two outs. Max Herrmann (Rutgers) came on to get the final out, and forced a ground out to second base to relieve the tension in the stands and end the Whitecaps two game losing skid.
Martin got his third victory of the season and Brewster claimed sole possession of the fourth and final playoff spot in the East with Chatham losing as well. They take to the road again on Saturday night to face the Wareham Gatemen at Spillane Field. First pitch will be at 6:30.
Cotuit pitching combined to allow two runs on four hits, as Cotuit defeated the Brewster Whitecaps 5-2 on Wednesday afternoon at Stony Brook Field. Brewster drops to 11-16-1 with the loss.
Cotuit struck early in the contest of Brewster starting pitcher Tyler Zuber. Patrick Dorrian made it 1-0 Cotuit with an RBI single to center field. Ryan Hagan doubled in the top of the second to make it 2-0 Cotuit.
Brewster got on the board for the first time in the bottom half of the third inning as Bryce Jordan slapped an RBI double to left field to plate A.J Graffanino and cut Cotuit’s lead to 2-1.
Cotuit broke it open in the fifth, as they tallied three runs to jump out to a 5-0 lead. Tim Susnara sent an RBI single to right to make it 4-1, and Grayson Jenista added a sac-fly to make it a 5-1 game.
The Caps attempted to battle back in the sixth as they added a run on a Zach Gahagan double to deep center field, yet they failed to plate more than one run. They left the bases loaded in the sixth, the second time they did so as they previously left them loaded in the third.
The Cotuit bullpen shut Brewster down the rest of the way, as they came up scoreless in the seventh, eight and ninth.
The Whitecaps return to action on Friday when they travel to Hyannis to face the Harbor Hawks at 6 p.m.