Rainbow over Stony Brook Field in the late innings of Tuesday’s game. Photo credit: Sadie Parker
By Mark Rappaport
BREWSTER — On a warm day with scattered rain in the late innings, the Whitecaps (6-8-2) lost to the Firebirds (7-8) as Brewster’s struggles against Orleans continued Tuesday evening.
The Whitecaps lost 3-2 due to a difficult eighth inning and continued offensive struggles as Brewster could only muster two runs on two hits, while Orleans recorded three runs on 11 hits.
Brewster used an uncommon strategy Tuesday evening; the opener. Two-way player Patrick Forbes (Louisville) got the nod for Brewster for the first time all season and dazzled on the mound, pitching three scoreless innings on three hits and one walk, alongside four punchouts.
Forbes got into trouble in each of his three innings but got out of each inning unscathed against a dangerous Firebirds offense led by leadoff hitter and second baseman Jo Oyama (California Irvine).
“Forbes was lights out for us,” Shevchik said. “Our goal with him was to try to get him to four innings next time. Eventually, get him to five and keep him in the starting rotation.”
Two-way player Patrick Forbes amidst his three inning scoreless start Tuesday evening. Photo credit: Sadie Parker
Brewster took an early 1-0 lead with two outs in the fourth inning off a long solo blast by left fielder James Tibbs (Florida State), which would be Brewster’s final hit of the night.
Sam Garcia (High Point) relieved Forbes and had a solid outing of his own, pitching four innings while giving up just one run on four hits, along with three strikeouts.
In the top of the sixth, Orleans tied the game off an RBI single by third baseman Jack Penney (Notre Dame), scoring shortstop Andy Blake (Duke), who hit Brewster hard last week, reaching base six times on five hits in two games.
Garcia got in and out of trouble in the seventh, giving up a single to pitch hitter Fenwick Trimble (James Madison) and a double to deep center to Oyama. On the play, Trimble was waved home by third-base coach Max Fecske and was thrown out at the plate off of a solid throw to the plate by second baseman Davis Diaz (Vanderbilt), preserving the 1-1 tie.
Closer Ben Gorski came into the game out of the bullpen in the eighth inning and struggled from the onset, walking Blake on four straight balls.
Orleans would tack on two runs in that eighth inning to take a 3-1 lead as rain began to pour at Stony Brook Field. The deathblow came off a triple by designated hitter Matt Halbach (San Diego), scoring Blake. The Firebirds expanded upon their lead off an RBI single by Penney, scoring Halbach.
The bottom of the frame began in striking fashion as Brewster came rolling back. Sam Hliboki (Vanderbilt) was wild, hitting right fielder Jaime Ferrer (Florida State), walking pinch hitter Dylan Leach (Missouri State) and hitting Mason White (Arizona) to load the bases.
With no outs in the inning, Brewster looked to tie the game or even take the lead down two runs with the top of the order due up. Diaz came through for Brewster, hitting a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Ferrer and advancing Leach to third. With one out and a runner on third base, all Brewster needed was a deep fly ball to tie the game at three runs apiece.
However, the Whitecaps could not muster a rally as Tibbs struck out and first baseman Ike Irish (Auburn) flew out, stranding two runners on base down by one run.
Center fielder Will Turner (South Alabama) making an impressive catch for Brewster. Photo credit: Sadie Parker
Gorski got in trouble again in the top of the ninth, and Rocco Reid (Clemson) was brought into the game. Reid got out of the jam due to an impressive diving play by shortstop Davis Diaz, completing a double play. However, Brewster could not score in the bottom of the ninth, losing 3-2 to the Firebirds.
On the other side, Chad Gartland (George Mason) shined for Orleans, fresh off a similar start last Wednesday at Stony Brook. In this start, Gartland pitched five innings, giving up one run, two hits, and no walks, alongside six strikeouts.
Brewster looks to return to the win column Wednesday evening at Stony Brook Field against the Cotuit Kettleers. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.