After the All-Star Break, Brewster is 2-1 and looks to make a playoff run. Josh Pearson (right) and Brock Tibbitts will be an important part of that. Photo credit Sadie Parker.
by Eamonn Ryan
The daily grind of tying cleats, stretching out on warm turf and playing nine innings of baseball is almost over for the Brewster Whitecaps. They have played 38 of 44 regular season matchups this summer, but after game 44 is played, the Whitecaps hope their season does not end then and there.
Brewster has felt refreshed with three days off in the past week, and showed it by grabbing wins over the Cotuit Kettleers and Chatham Anglers this week. But it needs to continue if the Whitecaps want to make a deep playoff run.
The Whitecaps currently sit at 15-21-2. They are on pace for their worst record since 2018, when they finished fourth in the East division after going 13-27-4.
That all might not matter, though. The beauty of the Cape Cod Baseball League—and what manager Jamie Shevchik has been preaching all summer long—is that to make the playoffs, you just cannot finish in last place.
Brewster should outpace Chatham, with the Anglers sitting at 22 points and one game in hand with the Whitecaps, who have 32. Heck, the Whitecaps are just one point behind the Harwich Mariners. A win Friday night would allow Brewster to leapfrog the Mariners and put them in third place.
With all possible movement and different possible scenarios, it can be easy for players to get lost in the hypotheticals. Keeping them away from that has been Shevchik’s modus operandi.
“Anybody can beat anybody. It all depends on who does the little things the best,” Shevchik said. “The record, really up to this point, really doesn’t matter.”
That statement certainly has history to back it up. In 2022, all five East division teams finished within seven points of each other, and Brewster came out on top, heading to the championship series after tying for first place at 19-17-8.
In 2018, they took down the first-place Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the first round after winning just 13 games all season. Furthermore, in 2017, the Whitecaps finished third in the east at 21-21-2, capturing the franchise’s second Cape League championship that year.
While precedent is present, there is still plenty of work to be done. The Whitecaps lost three starters after the All-Star break in Joey DeChiaro (Rutgers), Carson Swilling (South Alabama) and Javyn Pimental (Missouri) and now have to find ways to replace them.
“This is the time of year where a lot of guys want to go home, they know that the end is near,” Shevchik said. “Our job as coaches is to convince them to stick around and keep playing and finish this thing out the right way.”
Shevchik and his staff do not have to look too far to find their next batch of starters. Fisher Jameson (Florida) started in the win over Cotuit and went five innings, punching out nine batters en route to earning the win. Darien Smith (Southeastern) was recently brought in and allowed one run over six innings Wednesday against Chatham.
Reinforcements are also on the way. Brewster signed Caleb Freeman (North Greenville) and Zach Mizrahi (Tallahassee Community College) to help fill out the bullpen during the final stretch.
In the order, Shevchik added infielder Hunter D’Amato (Fairleigh Dickinson), who has hit .364 over his first three games as a Whitecap and on the way is Tyler Pettorini (Ohio State). Pettorini, who will man the infield following the departure of Payton Green (Georgia Tech), slashed .315 with the Buckeyes and added 28 RBI in 42 games.
These additions will only work if the remaining players continue to buy in, however, and push to the end of the regular season. With just six games remaining, Shevchik knows a hardworking attitude is crucial.
“I just want our guys to finish strong,” he said. “Don’t cheat themselves, don’t cheat the organization, don’t cheat your host family, don’t cheat the people that put in a lot of time and sacrifice for those kids to be here.”