Davis Diaz (Vanderbilt) at the plate in the fifth inning ahead of a decisive two-RBI single. Photo credit: Sadie Parker
By Mark Rappaport
BREWSTER––A week ago at Lowell Park in Cotuit, the Whitecaps had everything working out west and rode on a high note to a 9-3 win, but the final matchup between the two was a very different story.
From a one-run nail-biter to a ten-minute delay, a rowdy crowd and much more, the game was a wild one, but not to Brewster’s benefit.
The Whitecaps (15-25-2) dropped their fourth-straight game, 5-4, to the Cotuit Kettleers (28-13-1), due to a difficult start, poor defense and continued offensive struggles.
Cole Mathis (Charleston) set the tone for the ballgame early on with a leadoff double off Whitecaps ace Fisher Jameson (Florida). Mathis scored later in the frame off an RBI single by James McCoy (Kentucky) to give the Kettleers an early 1-0 lead, which they would not relinquish.
It only got worse for the Whitecaps in the second.
Jameson recorded the first two outs of the frame, but Cotuit mustered a two-out rally to score three runs. Trotter Harlan (Charleston) singled and Trey Yunger (Georgia Tech) reached base via an error to bring Mathis to the plate with a chance to strike.
Mathis made the Whitecaps pay for their two errors in the frame and launched a three-run blast to deep left field, extending Cotuit’s lead to 4-0.
“Take away the error, and we win a baseball game,” Whitecaps manager Jamie Shevchik said. “If we lose, you know, in the playoffs, it’s going to be because of the same situation, an error, a walk, something’s gonna cost us.”
Jameson struggled in his abbreviated two-inning start but gave up just one earned run on four hits, alongside one punchout.
Brewster got one back in the bottom of the third but failed to capitalize on a prime opportunity to strike back. The Whitecaps loaded the bases with no outs off a single and two hit-by-pitches. However, Jared Jones (LSU) hit into a double play, scoring Diamant to cut Cotuit’s lead to 4-1, but it destroyed any momentum the Whitecaps might have had.
In the top of the fourth, the Kettleers extended their lead to 5-1 off Mathis’ RBI single, his fourth RBI of the game.
However, Cotuit’s dominance would not last forever as Brewster’s bats came rolling back in the fifth.
Michael Robertson (Florida) led off the frame with a single and advanced to second on Diamont’s walk. Then, Patrick Forbes (Louisville) blasted a pinch-hit RBI single to score Robertson. Davis Diaz (Vanderbilt) came to the plate with two outs and knocked in Diamont and Forbes with a two-RBI single, cutting Cotuit’s lead to 5-4.
Diamant in his debut with the Whitecaps. The infielder out of Georgia Tech went 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored.
After Diaz’s knock, Brock Tibbitts (Indiana) came up looking to tie the game but was unable, though it became memorable for a very different reason.
At this point, a contentious ten-minute delay ensued over whether the play was a dead ball, which was completely irrelevant in the end as Tibbitts popped out to Haskins. The crowd on hand at Stony Brook Field woke up from their slumber and heckled the umpires, which allowed the delay to proceed for ten minutes.
“It was either put him back at first and let’s play…it was two outs, 2-2 count, so I mean, somebody makes up their mind,” Shevchik said. “There was no need for having a delay.”
In the end, the umpires ruled that the play was a wild pitch, which made the delay irrelevant.
That was it offensively for either club, as neither offense could muster a rally of any kind until the ninth.
Brennan Phillips (Oklahoma State) dominated Cotuit’s offense and provided much-needed length out of the bullpen. Phillips gave up just one run on five hits over five strong innings, alongside three punchouts.
“Very efficient, and it was great.” Phillips said. “Feeling pretty good; our pitching is getting a lot better, keeping us in the game.”
Phillips pitching Monday afternoon at home against the Kettleers in his best outing of the season. Photo credit: Sadie Parker.
Whitecaps pitching coach Brian Del Rosso was impressed by Phillips’ outing.
“Good amount of length out of [Phillips] today, you know, was able to get ahead of guys and keep us at bay, keep the game close,” Del Rosso said.
Josh Sanders (Texas Tech) relieved Phillips and shone in the eighth inning, striking out the side in a 1-2-3 lockdown frame. Sanders got into trouble in the ninth and loaded the bases with one out, but like a magician, he worked his magic and got out of the jam unscathed.
The Whitecaps had a prime opportunity to muster a rally in the bottom of the frame down just one run. Tyler Pettorini (Ohio State) singled and Diamant walked, giving James Tibbs (Florida State) and Forbes a prime chance to strike.
However, nothing materialized, and Brewster finished one run short of Cotuit.
The Whitecaps look to snap their losing streak in the penultimate matchup of the season with the Chatham Anglers at Veterans Field at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening.