Seventh-inning offense propels Brewster to 4-3 win, first over Orleans since 2022

Entering Sunday’s contest against Orleans, Brewster hadn’t beaten its East Division foe in 706 days.

Since the Whitecaps took down the Firebirds, 11-8, at Stony Brook Field on Aug. 1, 2022, Brewster had dropped the last eight matchups. Already falling two times in 2024 to Orleans, the Cape Cod Baseball League’s last-place team, the third time had to be the charm.

Despite falling behind 1-0 and 3-1, a seventh-inning rally propelled Brewster (8-11) past Orleans (5-14), 4-3, Sunday, the Whitecaps' third win in four days and first against the Firebirds since 2022.

“These guys don't know that. It's not like we've had the same team for the last two and a half years and they know what it was,” Brewster manager Jamie Shevchik said of snapping the skid. “But it just seems like [Orleans is] the type of team that kind of lulls you to sleep a little bit. Next thing you know you're down three runs. That's exactly what happened today, but credit to those guys and we keep coming back.”

One player who was a part of last year’s team that went 0-6 against the Firebirds was starting pitcher Patrick Forbes (Louisville). In his first start back with Brewster since a stint with Team USA, Forbes started strong, striking out Orleans leadoff hitter Mike Mancini (James Madison) and forcing two soft-contact outs. On the offensive side, Kaeden Kent reached with a double, but that was all Brewster mustered in the frame.

In the second, Forbes was effective again. Though he walked third baseman Hudson Shupe (Gonzaga) after a nine-pitch battle, Forbes retired the next two batters on a combined four pitches. The following inning, after the Whitecaps offense went down 1-2-3, Forbes walked two batters but found his way out of trouble, forcing a 4-6-3 double play.

“The fastball was working. I was using it up a lot. And I flipped in some sliders and a few changeups that worked well,” Forbes said postgame.

Forbes didn’t allow a hit through 3 2/3 innings, walking a few but breezing through the Firebirds’ weak offense — which entered averaging less than two runs per game. An infield single broke up his no-hit bid but a lazy flyout to left ended the inning and Forbes’ day.

The Louisville product allowed just one hit and no runs with three strikeouts.

“I think it's the best arm in the league, I really do,” Shevchik said of Forbes. “I think it's probably gonna be the quickest guy in the big leagues of this class.”

Patrick Forbes (Louisville) delivers a warm-up pitch in Brewster's game versus Orleans. Forbes allowed just one hit and no runs in 4.0 innings. | Photo Credit: Avery Raimondo

In the fourth, Brewster’s offense got going with Ryder Helfrick (Arkansas) lining a ball to center field that dropped and then went past the Orleans center fielder. Helfrick reached third on the two-base error and scored on an RBI single from Drew Faurot (Florida State). The Whitecaps worked the bases loaded with two hit-by-pitches but couldn’t capitalize and left all three stranded.

Ashton Crowther (South Carolina) entered in the top of the fifth, pitching to his battery mate, Max Kaufer (South Carolina). Both have transferred to the Gamecocks this summer. Crowther ran into early trouble, allowing a leadoff single and Brody Donay (Florida) made an error on a spinning grounder to first base.

With first and second full and no men out, third baseman Daniel Cuvet (Miami) made a smooth play for a force out at second. But with runners on first and third, Khadim Diaw (Loyola Marymount) singled to left-center, tying the game at 1-1. Orleans attempted a suicide squeeze to bring another runner home but it didn’t execute, making for an easy second out. Crowther then worked out of the inning with a swinging strikeout.

Crowther fell into trouble again in the sixth, and this time the damage was far worse. After hitting a batter and allowing a single, he surrendered a two-out triple to the eight-hole hitter, scoring both base runners. Crowther allowed a walk before Shevchik pulled him in place of Luke Schmolke (Wake Forest). Schmolke got out of the jam in two pitches, forcing a weak groundout to second base.

Following a scoreless inning from Brewster, Schmolke retired the side in order in the seventh, using just seven pitches to force three flyouts. Then the Whitecaps offense finally found its stride.

Kaufer and Cooper Vest (BYU) recorded back-to-back hits and DeAmez Ross (UCF) moved them both up one base on a sacrifice bunt, bringing up the top of the order.

Nick Dumesnil (Cal Baptist) delivered when the Whitecaps needed him most. On the first pitch he saw, Dumesnil turned on the ball and ripped it just inside the left field line, scoring Kaufer and Ross to tie the game.

“When everything's going wrong, that’s a foul ball,” Shevchik said of Dumesnil’s hit. “Whether it's fair or not, the umpire's calling it a foul ball. That's when you know you're kind of snake-bitten. Where you feel like things are starting to change is that ball there is now fair. I do feel like this team is starting to change a little bit.”

After a Firebirds pitching change, Kent hammered a 1-1 pitch into left field, scoring Dumesnil for the Whitecaps' first lead of the day.

Now protecting a lead, Schmolke fell into trouble in the eighth after retiring the first two batters. A base hit to right field and an infield single put the tying run on second base. But Schmolke recorded the third out on a lazy pop-up to Faurot in short right field.

With a one-run lead in the ninth, Will Ray (Wake Forest) entered to seal the deal and break Brewster’s losing streak against the Firebirds. With 12 pitches, Ray set down the side in order, securing the win heading into Monday’s off day.

While Ray, Schmolke and Crowther were able to hold Orleans down just enough after Forbes’ stellar start, for the second win in a row, the Whitecaps' offense came back late and pushed Brewster over the finish line.

“It doesn't matter if we're down by a run or two,” Shevchik said. “We kind of did it yesterday, we just keep fighting back... That's the sign of a team trending in the right direction.”

Photo credit: Avery Raimondo