Whitecaps come back, falter late in loss to Cotuit

Dylan Leach (Missouri State) went 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly as the Brewster offense showed life in a loss to the league-leading Kettleers. Photo credit Sadie Parker.

by Eamonn Ryan

BREWSTER—For a second there, the Brewster Whitecaps looked like they’d returned to their early-season comeback ways.

But it was only for a second.

The Whitecaps got an RBI single from Will Turner (South Alabama) in the bottom of the seventh and a sacrifice fly from Dylan Leach (Missouri State) in the eighth to tie up Wednesday night’s contest with the Cotuit Kettleers at five apiece. The comeback gave Brewster fans hope that they would not have to endure another three-game losing streak.

In the top of the ninth, though, West division-leading Cotuit rattled off two more runs off two singles, a walk and hit batsman and kept a scoreless bottom half to preserve a 7-5 win, beating both the Whitecaps (6-9-2) and impending darkness which became a factor in the 2-hour, 55-minute game.

“I know how talented this roster is and it’s hard to see it kind of slide, but it’s baseball,” said assistant coach Scott Grimes.

The long game was marred by plenty of pitching changes, walks and controversial calls that the Brewster bench didn’t enjoy.

In the top of the fourth, in a 3-3 game, Kettleer center fielder Carter Mathison (Indiana) attempted to steal second before the pitch. Whitecaps starter Jake Marshall turned around and fired a dart to Davis Diaz (Vanderbilt), who placed the tag on Mathison’s leg and flipped the ball to the pitcher’s mound, as he thought he had made the final out.

But umpire Martin Gonzalez called him safe, and in the at-bat, Cotuit shortstop Kalae Harrison singled to score two more runs and take a 5-3 lead.

In the ninth inning, Leach tried to backpick Cotuit right fielder James McCoy (Kentucky) and Diaz once again laid a tag down—which the Whitecaps dugout believed was in time—but McCoy was also called safe. He scored one batter later.

“It hurts but like I said, you kind of get to a point where everybody seems to be against you for a little bit. Our back’s against the wall, we’re trying to fight out,” Grimes said.

On the offensive side, Leach had one of the better days for the Whitecaps offense, going 1-for-3 with two RBI and a sacrifice fly. He singled in Brock Tibbitts (Indiana) in the first inning after James Tibbs (Florida State) worked an RBI walk.

“I’ve been … hitting some fly balls to left field so I literally told the guys before the game, ‘I’m gonna try to hit the pitcher in the feet three times today,’ just do something different,” Leach said. “And it finally worked in my first at-bat.”

After Leach’s single to left, Jaime Ferrer (Florida State) hit a sacrifice fly to score Trevor Werner (Texas A&M) and the Whitecaps took an early 3-0 lead.

Starter Jake Marshall (Rutgers) hummed right along, pitching three scoreless innings before surrendering five runs in the fourth. Afterwards, lefty Joey DeChiaro came in and was lights out for Brewster, tossing 3.1 scoreless, hitless innings with three strikeouts to embellish his scoreline.

“Joe is good when he’s in the zone and he fills it up,” Grimes said. “The biggest thing we like is that he wants to compete. He loves to compete.”

The outing was another on a long list of great performances for DeChiaro, who now sits at a 2.40 ERA with a 0.80 WHIP and 10 strikeouts. 

He exited after the top of the seventh, and the Brewster offense had to go back to work down 5-3 heading into the bottom of the frame. Diaz kickstarted it with a two-out walk, then advanced to second on an overthrow before Turner sent a missile back up the middle for his second RBI of the game to narrow the score to 5-4.

In the bottom of the eighth, Leach tied the game 5-5 with the sacrifice fly and the Whitecaps showed fight in the loss, but ultimately it wasn’t enough as Cotuit took a two-run lead in the ninth.

“It’s just hard but again, we showed resilience today, getting back into it again,” Grimes said. “Just one of those hiccups of an inning happened after and it just sucks because we worked hard to get back to a tie.”

After 12 games in 12 days, the Whitecaps have a day off Thursday before traveling down Route 28 to Falmouth as they try to snap a three-game losing streak with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday evening.

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