Where the lights shine the brightest: seven Whitecaps are headed to the 2023 All-Star Game

James Tibbs hitting a decisive three-run blast in Brewster’s 15-8 plummeting over the rival Red Sox. Photo credit: Sadie Parker

By Mark Rappaport

BREWSTER––Childhood teammates Will Turner (South Alabama) and James Tibbs (Florida State) never thought they would play together again after Little League. 

Little did they know they would not just be playing together every day for the Whitecaps, but will also represent Brewster standing side-by-side in the outfield at the 2023 All-Star Game at Whitehouse Field in Harwich.

“We continue to dream about these things,” Tibbs said. “It is such a huge blessing for both of us. So we are both excited for sure.”

Turner is just as excited as Tibbs.

“It was a goal of mine before the season whenever I signed my contract here to play,” Turner said about the honor of playing in the All-Star Game. “To be able to play with [Tibbs] for another day in the All-Star Game, it’s pretty cool.”

Childhood teammates Tibbs and Turner in a preseason shot in early June. Photo credit: Sadie Parker

Tibbs and Turner are just two of seven Whitecaps selected to play in the All-Star Game, the most of any team in the Cape League. The pair joins pitcher Joey DeChiaro (Rutgers), position players Ike Irish (Auburn), Davis Diaz (Vanderbilt) and Brock Tibbitts (Indiana), as well as two-player Patrick Forbes (Louisville), who all head to Harwich Saturday evening.

Headlining the squad is DeChiaro, who was chosen as the East division’s starter––the managers each voted and chose the right-handed pitcher headed to Rutgers. DeChiaro owns a 3.52 ERA in 23 innings and leads the league with four wins as the relief ace of Brewster’s bullpen.

“It is definitely an honor for me to be starting in, you know, I guess, such a high-caliber game like that,” DeChiaro said. “It’s gonna be really fun and it’s gonna be a good experience for me and everyone else.”

Not only do the Whitecaps have seven All-Stars, but they also have four position players selected to start in the All-Star Game: Turner will start at center, Tibbs at right, Irish as the designated hitter and Diaz at shortstop.

Although it has not been the best season for the Whitecaps, who currently stand 12-18-2, each All-Star has been consistently above-average this summer.

The East division’s starter Joey DeChiaro pitching in Brewster’s matchup against Hyannis on July 13. Photo credit: Sadie Parker

Tibbs has led the Whitecaps offensively and has been one of their best hitters in 2023. He started slow in June but turned it on big time over the last few weeks in July. The outfielder out of Florida State is batting .280, along with a .371 OBP and a team-leading .829 OPS, five home runs and 18 RBI in 31 games this season.

In addition to the All-Star Game, Tibbs is set to participate in the Home Run Derby along with teammate Jared Jones (LSU), looking to show off their power among some of the Cape’s best power hitters.

“It’s an honor, it’s all been an honor to be here and I’m thankful for it. So I’m excited to be there and I can put a good show on,” Tibbs said. “These guys are very talented and very good ball players so to be able to share it with them here on Saturday is something I’m really looking forward to.”

Conversely, Turner has shone defensively and has been a calming and consistent presence in center field, leading a Whitecaps team with the second-fewest errors of any team in the Cape at just 29.

“I take [my defense] very seriously. You know, I feel like it’s my responsibility to prevent runs and hits to help my pitchers out,” Turner said. “I take a lot of pride in it.”

Tibbitts has started primarily at catcher, first base and as the team’s designated hitter, and leads the Whitecaps with a .298 average and a .392 on-base percentage among qualified hitters.

Irish and Diaz own similar numbers to Tibbitts and have had no problem getting on base. Irish has batted .290 with a .388 on-base percentage, while Diaz has batted .274 with a team-leading .386 on-base percentage, just a smidge behind Tibbitts.

Forbes as a two-way player has shone for Brewster both at the plate and especially on the mound. The rising sophomore out of Louisville has seen his share of playing time out of the bullpen, posting a 2.70 ERA with 13 punchouts in 13.1 innings.

Whitecaps managerJamie Shevchik will also be in the dugout at Whitehouse Field, representing the East division as their manager—-he was chosen because the Whitecaps won the 2022 East title. Shevchik also represented the East division a year ago in their win over the bridge in Wareham.

Shevchik along with his club at meet the Whitecaps day on July 8. Photo credit: Sadie Parker

The honor means loads to Shevchik, who is ecstatic that he will get to manage his players at a high level in Harwich.

“It’s always good to be around really good baseball players but I’m more excited to be in the dugout with my guys,” Shevchik said. “We’ve been here a long time for most of these guys, so it’s gonna be a really cool day and I just want to sit back and watch these guys enjoy the experience.”

It is not just Shevchik who is excited. Brewster’s players are excited to play in the All-Star Game with their head coach, who has supported and believed in them from day one.

“It’s just having a little bit of extra comfortability, you know, being able to play behind him and him knowing who I am as a player and as a person,” Turner said.

DeChiaro feels the same way as Turner and is very fond of his head coach.

“That’s like the best ever. I love Shev,” DeChiaro said. “To have him coach me  throughout this summer and to be my All Star coach, it’s a dream.”

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