“It feels different”: Whitecaps snap five-game losing streak after quick response

Rocco Reid (Clemson) gave up a home run in the first inning, but bounced back and kept the Chatham offense to no runs over the next three innings. Photo credit Sadie Parker.

by Eamonn Ryan

BREWSTER—Normally after a game, Whitecaps manager Jamie Shevchik will shake hands with the opposing coach, walk back to his dugout and reflect with his coaching staff.

After the Brewster Whitecaps’ (7-11-2) 6-3 win over the Chatham Anglers (5-13-1) Sunday evening, Shevchik instead huddled his team  on the infield grass of Stony Brook Field. The message was to not give up during the dog days so that when Florence + the Machine starts playing, the Whitecaps will be in a groove.

“I feel like if we can just play good baseball and stick with it and not quit at all over the next two weeks, when we get through that phase, now the attitude changes,” Shevchik said. “We’ve been here for so long, we might as well win it at this point.”

Brewster picked up a much-needed win after losing five straight and nine of its last 11 games, finding itself in fourth place, just one game ahead of the Anglers. The win pushed Brewster two games ahead of Chatham, remaining in the playoff picture if the season started today.

Not only was the ending a bit of a different look for the Whitecaps, but the start was as well.  Rocco Reid (Clemson)—who is commonly used as a reliever and only made two starts in 16 appearances for the Tigers this spring—got the ball to begin the game.

With the temperature in the mid-70s, the Greenville, South Carolina native who had never been this far North said it “feels like fall.” That might have explained his shaky first inning, but after giving up a three-run home run, the Chatham offense made little noise the rest of his start.

“He made one bad pitch. He hung a slider lefty-on-lefty, but then he settled in, he settled down and he ended up going three more scoreless,” Shevchik said. 

The Anglers only managed one more baserunner off Reid as he retired nine straight batters to end his outing.

“All credit to the catcher back there, Brock Tibbitts. I gave up that bomb and he just went up to me and said ‘You know what, wipe this first inning,’” Reid said. “I definitely appreciate him getting me back in the game.”

Jaime Ferrer ranges back for a catch. The Whitecaps didn’t need much spectacular defense, but they were sound and committed no errors in the win. Photo credit Sadie Parker.

Reid was helped out significantly by the Brewster offense, which racked up 10 hits. In response to the three-run homer, the Whitecaps produced a three-run frame of their own that consisted of three singles and a walk.

“Gotta give credit to the offense right there, they put up a three-spot. It’s a brand new ballgame,” Reid said.

Dylan Hoy (Louisville) led off with a single and scored off another single by Trevor Werner and an error by the Anglers’ second baseman. Then Will Turner (Florida State) came around to score after a James Tibbs (Florida State) single and Werner trotted in after a double play.

The Whitecaps didn’t care for extra-base hits or home runs in that frame, but the damage was done with solid contact and clean knocks.

“We found ways to get on base. We kind of scratched and clawed, the walks helped us,” Shevchik said.

In the second, the Whitecaps turned that around as Jaime Ferrer (Florida State) led off with a double and scored off an RBI groundout by Mason White (Arizona) to make it 4-3.

The scoring would grind to a screeching halt until the seventh inning, but there was still plenty of offensive action for the Whitecaps. They rocked familiar foe Hayden Durke (Rice) for eight hits, four runs and two walks in the 4.2 innings Durke pitched.

Brewster’s offense has seen Durke thrice now and have had their way with him each time. In 9.1 innings against Durke, the Whitecaps have put up 15 earned runs off 16 hits and have walked 13 times, which for the statisticians out there, means Durke has an ERA of 14.46 against Brewster.

“Our game plan against him was to lay off the breaking ball…the game plan is if you see spin, lay off it and just sit fastball,” Shevchik said. “We sat fastball in big moments and got hits.”

Against Durke’s reliever, Maxx Yehl (West Virginia), the Whitecaps couldn’t score until the seventh. Davis Diaz (Vanderbilt) stretched an RBI single into a double to score Tibbs with two outs, and Ike Irish (Auburn) ripped an RBI triple to the left-centerfield fence that allowed Diaz to cross the plate.

James Tibbs is all smiles after scoring in the seventh inning. The Whitecaps offense was humming, scoring six runs on 10 hits and receiving clutch hits. Photo credit Sadie Parker.

The offense did its job and the pitching followed suit with just three baserunners allowed after the first inning. Sam Garcia (Oklahoma State) came in and dominated the Anglers’ offense, posting a line of three innings, one hit, no runs, one walk and three punchouts.

It was Garcia’s last outing of the summer as he prepares to transfer to Oklahoma State from High Point, but he certainly made it memorable.

“He’s a great kid, but he leaves here, you know, with a great outing, the Whitecaps back in the win column and I wish him the best,” Shevchik said.

Ben Gorski (Rutgers) and Brennen Oxford (Florida State) combined for the final six outs, as Gorski surrendered two walks in the ninth before Oxford closed the door, preserving a win over the last-place Anglers.

“It’s just so much more fun, guys getting hits” Reid said. “Ike Irish hit that triple; it just fires me up. Glad to see the guys smiling again.”

Brewster stays at home for their next contest as they host the Harwich Mariners Tuesday, July 4 at Stony Brook Field with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m.

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