Tibbs high-fiving third-base coach Scott Grimes after a decisive three-run bomb in the fifth inning of Brewster’s contest with the Red Sox on July 18 at Red Wilson Field. Photo credit: Sadie Parker
By Mark Rappaport
BREWSTER––The playoffs are an exciting event for all involved, from the players to the coaches and fans who dedicate time to the team all summer long.
Every year is different from the one before. Some teams endure long playoff runs, while others exit swiftly before an East-West matchup unfolds.
Each of the last two years, the Whitecaps entered as playoff favorites as the first seed in the East division and lived up to the hype, reaching the championship series in both. However, this year is a very different affair.
Brewster’s 15-27-2 record is good for fourth place in the division, tied with fifth-place Chatham. The Whitecaps escaped with a playoff berth because they won the season series 4-1-1 over the Anglers.
The Whitecaps are now set to face the first-place Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox as the underdog. The Red Sox (24-19-1) narrowly squeaked one point ahead of the Orleans Firebirds on the final day of the regular season.
Game one of the best-of-three series is scheduled for Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Red Wilson Field in Yarmouth, with the second game scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Stony Brook Field in Brewster. If it comes to that, a potential third game would occur back in Yarmouth Sunday evening at 4 p.m.
Whitecaps ace Fisher Jameson (Florida) is slated to start in the first game of the series Friday afternoon, with Darien Smith (Southeastern) penciled into the second game.
Whitecaps pitching coach Brian Del Rosso is optimistic and feels confident in Jameson.
“I feel pretty good, you know, with the ball in [Jameson’s] hands,” Del Rosso said. “Hopefully we can get a quality start out of him and get off to a good start, you know, on that side of the ball and hopefully put ourselves in a good chance to win a ballgame.”
Jameson pitching in Brewster’s contest at Lowell Park against the Kettleers on July 24. The righty from Florida went five innings and gave up just one run on three hits, alongside nine strikeouts. Photo credit: Sadie Parker
Jameson’s start will attempt to reverse a series of rough outings for the Whitecaps against the Red Sox this summer. Brewster only captured one of six contests between them.
Brewster lost all three matchups at home, including the most recent game between the two division rivals Sunday evening, where Y-D defeated Brewster 9-6 at Stony Brook Field.
However, the Whitecaps’ one win was certainly memorable for all involved. The Whitecaps defeated the Red Sox 15-8 on July 18, their best offensive showing of the season. In that contest, Brewster recorded 19 hits compared to Y-D’s nine.
The Whitecaps, of course, enter the playoffs on a six-game losing streak, but there is reason to be optimistic, as there are many bright spots and many players to look out for.
On the offense side, James Tibbs (Florida State), Josh Pearson (LSU), Jared Jones (LSU), Brock Tibbitts (Indiana) and Davis Diaz (Vanderbilt) stand out as the mainstays of Brewster’s lineup, as they have provided the majority of the squad’s offense.
On the mound, Jameson, Patrick Forbes (Louisville) and Brennan Phillips (Oklahoma State) are three arms to look out for on that side of the ball.
The Whitecaps, of course, enter the playoffs as underdogs, though this situation is not unprecedented by any means.
In 2017, Shevchik’s Whitecaps were the third seed and faced the Red Sox in the first round. That year, they defeated Y-D as the underdog in three games and eventually defeated the Braves in the championship series.
A year ago in 2022, the Whitecaps did finish as the first seed, but only after a remarkable stretch to end the season. Brewster faced Y-D in the second round of the playoffs and defeated them in two games.
Whitecaps manager Jamie Shevchik hopes his team can repeat their successes from 2017, as well as the 2021 and 2022 playoffs.
“I’m optimistic, you know, I’ve been optimistic all year long,” Shevchik said. “It’s a brand new season…whatever happens in two days, it’s a one-game series, and then we just play one game at a time.”