By: Aodhán Doyle
BREWSTER, MA- Through seven innings of Friday night’s contest between the Brewster Whitecaps and Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox at Stony Brook Field, it looked as though the Whitecaps were heading for their third consecutive win.
Then in the eighth inning, however, Brewster (14-13-1) made a pitching change and the tables turned, leading to a 2-1 Red Sox win, with Y-D (15-11-1) scoring one run in the eighth and the winning run in the ninth.
With runners on second and third and nobody out in the eighth, Y-D sent Nico Hoerner (Stanford) to the plate as a pinch-hitter and the Red Sox second baseman delivered, lining an 0-1 pitch from Will Tribucher (Michigan) for an RBI-single and tying the game at one.
Then, with two outs in the ninth and a runner on second, Robert Broom (Mercer) relieved Tribucher (0-1), and, despite getting ahead on Alfonso Rivas (Arizona) 1-2, allowed a bloop single over the head of Kyle Datres (UNC), scoring Christian Koss (UC-Irvine) and giving the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.
Rivas has truly been a thorn in the side of the Whitecaps this summer. Rivas is batting .375 against Brewster and three of his nine RBI have come against the Whitecaps.
Over the first seven innings, Brewster starter Pauly Milto (Indiana) was phenomenal, but did not earn a decision.
Typically a reliever for coach Jamie Shevchik’s squad, Milto made his first official start this summer and finished with seven scoreless frames of just one-hit ball, facing the minimum, and striking out four.
“My fastball had a lot of movement.,” Milto said. “Then off my fastball, throwing my slider for a strike was critical.”
“He got ahead of hitters,” Shevchik said “I’m not sure if he even went to a three-ball count to a guy. He definitely didn’t go 2-0 to anybody.”
Milto forced thirteen groundball outs, locating his fastball down in the zone, and lowered his season ERA to 2.95.
“He threw a lot of strikes,” said Shevchik. “Located his fastball really well and mixed in his slider.”
“That’s what pitching is, throw strikes and pitch to contact. He kept those guys off-balance and pitched a great game. Definitely one of the better games we’ve seen.”
With the number of fresh arms running low for Brewster, Milto’s performance was about as good as Shevchik could have hoped for as the Brewster manager said before the game the goal was for his starter to hopefully give them “a chance to win.”
Milto certainly did that, but the Brewster offense struggled against Y-D’s pitching.
“It’s just getting in a routine,” Milto said about the difference between starting and relieving. “I kept my same routine as in Indiana and it’s just a little different feel.”
“If he can give us stuff like that, I’d love to reinsert him as a starter,” Shevchik said about Milto. “We’re searching for who that fourth or fifth guy is going to be and I think Pauly has earned the right to probably get another start, for sure.”
Brewster’s only run of the game scored on a wild pitch in the second inning when Marty Costes (Maryland) came home and the Whitecaps managed just one hit over the final seven frames of the game.
“We had every opportunity to pull away, but we couldn’t come up with the hit we needed,” Shevchik said. “Everything that could have gone wrong offensively today, went wrong.”
Getting on base was not the issue for Brewster, as the Whitecaps walked ten times, extending their league-leading total to 136, 35 more than second-place Cotuit.
However, Brewster struck out 14 times as a team, including five with runners in scoring position.
“We had nine or ten walks, but striking out fourteen or fifteen times, you’re not going to win any ballgame that way,” said Shevchik. “We let one go today. This is one that’s going to haunt us, I think.”
Y-D used four different pitchers to stymie the Whitecaps offense. Spencer Van Scoyoc (Arizona State) got the start for the Red Sox, lasting just three innings and surrendering the only Brewster run of the game.
After Karl Kauffman (Michigan) turned in two innings of scoreless relief, Y-D turned to Brendan Nail (Western Carolina), who shut down Brewster’s offense over three innings of one-hit work, striking out seven.
Nail (1-0) picked up the win for Y-D, while Riley McCauley (Michigan State) earned his seventh save by striking out the side in the ninth.
WHAT’S NEXT: Brewster faces another Eastern Division opponent on Saturday in the first-place Orleans Firebirds at Eldredge Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.