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.