Green and Cimini readying for Brewster’s game against the Firebirds. Photo credit: Sadie Parker
By Mark Rappaport
BREWSTER—The Whitecaps (4-4-2) lost 4-2 amid confusion, an ejection and mayhem Wednesday evening to the last place Orleans Firebirds (4-6).
Wednesday’s game contained an unfamiliar feat for the Cape League: Whitecaps manager Jamie Shevchik was ejected after arguing a strange call by the umpires, an extra-base hit which was initially called a ground-rule double and subsequently overturned to a home run.
Brewster center fielder James Tibbs (Florida State) witnessed the debacle and was stunned by the call.
“That was quite interesting. Definitely something that I didn’t think went over and didn’t go over,” Tibbs said. “But they made the call the way they saw it and that’s the way it is and you gotta respect it.”
The bleeding started early for Brewster in the top of the first. Starter Jacob Marshall (Rutgers) gave up two hits, one to Austin Overn (Southern California) and another to Jo Oyama (California Irvine) to start the contest.
The first inning would come back to haunt Brewster as Overn and Oyama both crossed home plate to score off of three errors by Brewster’s defense.
Marshall was solid for Brewster throughout the game’s first four innings, retiring 11 straight batters until surrendering a walk in the fourth.
Marshall got into trouble in the fifth, allowing one run off of a walk and two hits before being taken out of the game. Marshall pitched 4.1 innings in total, allowing one earned run off four hits, two walks and five punchouts. Reliever Joey DeChiaro (Old Dominion) was brought into the game out of the bullpen and got out of the inning unscathed.
Austin and Irish secure a crucial out for the Whitecaps in the fifth inning. Video credit: Mark Mincolelli
DeChiaro had another solid outing for the Whitecaps, building off his appearance a week ago against Cotuit. He finished the night pitching 3.2 innings with four hits, one earned run and two strikeouts.
“He comes in, pounds the zone, uses his fastball and slider, and keeps hitters off balance,” pitching coach Brian Del Rosso said. “He is certainly a guy that you feel like we can rely on in that role.”
DeChiaro got out of trouble in the sixth inning, but it was the eighth inning that became memorable for DeChiaro, Shevchik and the Whitecaps.
Firebirds’ right fielder Fenwick Trimble (James Madison) led off the inning, launching an extra-base hit to center field over the head of Tibbs, which appeared at first to ricochet off the ground in play and over the fence out of play. Tibbs raised his hands in the air, indicating that the ball was a ground-rule double.
Orleans manager Kelly Nicholson argued with the umpires, who then met to converse about the call. The umpires overturned the call and ruled that the “double” was a home run. Shevchik came firing out of the dugout and argued with the empires, earning an ejection with the support of his coaches, players and fans.
“In the way I kind of saw it, you know, the third base umpire had a double, and then the call was obviously overturned…the call was getting overturned by someone who was a bit further,” Del Rosso said. “That’s their call, and that’s how it went.”
After that debacle, the Firebirds recorded a single and two walks off DeChiaro, giving Orleans a chance to blow the game open. However, it was not to be. Designated hitter Eddie Micheletti Jr. (George Washington) grounded into a fielder’s choice, ending the wild inning.
Brewster responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Shortstop Payton Green (NC State) singled, and Tibbs launched a revenge blast to left field, scoring Green.
“It felt good. I mean, it was needed. [I’ve] been struggling a lot,” Tibbs said. “Hopefully, I can continue to build on that and continue to help our team whenever I can.”
Tibbs celebrating after his first home run of the year with Florida State teammate Jaime Ferrer. Photo credit: Sadie Parker
Andrew Shaffner (NC State) pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, and Brewster threatened in the bottom of the inning, looking to tie or win the game. Right fielder Jaime Ferrer (Florida State) was hit by a pitch and designated hitter Dylan Leach (Missouri) walked to put the winning run at the plate. However, the Brewster offense went in order due to two strikeouts and a flyout.
Brewster struggled, in part, due to their offensive struggles aside from Tibbs’ blast in the eighth. The Whitecaps recorded nine hits and one walk, though they left six runners on base, not including two inning-ending double plays in the sixth and seventh innings.
“Tough loss, obviously. But you know, that’s baseball sometimes,” Del Rosso said.
Orleans’ starter Chad Gartland (George Mason) shined Wednesday evening, pitching five innings of shutout ball, giving up five hits, no runs, alongside four punchouts of his own. The Firebirds bullpen was also strong, giving up only two runs, securing the win for Orleans, snapping a five-game losing streak.
The Whitecaps look to get back into the win column Thursday evening in a rematch against the Firebirds at Eldredge Park at 6:30 p.m.