In fitting ending, Whitecaps put up fight but suffer playoff loss

Brewster Recap Article
*Brock Tibbitts homered in the second inning, but the Whitecaps were beaten* *by their own mistakes on the mound and were bounced from the Cape League playoffs.*|Art or Photo Credit: Sadie Parker

South Yarmouth, Mass. With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning of a tie game, Theo Hardy (San Jose State) strode to the plate for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, looking to make a name for himself in a do or die scenario.

Hardy started as the ninth hitter for the Red Sox and had hit just .204 during the regular season with no home runs and just three RBI. Clearly used for his defensive prowess, it appeared Whitecaps righty Josh Sanders (Texas Tech) would be more worried about Skylar King (West Virginia) standing in the on-deck circle.

After Hardy took the first pitch in the at-bat, he stepped back into the batter’s box and crushed the ball deep to center. Red Wilson Field is around 80 miles from where the real Red Sox play, but as that ball flew, the crowd’s increasing roar mimicked a packed crowd at Fenway Park.

And when it landed over the fence, both the crowd and the team silenced the Whitecaps’ dugout. The Red Sox led 4-3.

In the top of the ninth, Brewster sent three hitters to the plate to try and force a tie, but with each pitch the noise and momentum increased for the Red Sox. A 1-2-3 inning sealed a 4-3 win for the Red Sox (2-1) over the Whitecaps (1-2) in the only rubber match of the Cape League playoffs so far.

“We created a lot of opportunities for those guys to score runs and we just didn’t do enough,” Whitecaps manager Jamie Shevchik said. “It is what it is.”

It did not matter how long or how difficult the season had been up until that eighth inning homer from Hardy, when the abrupt ending to Brewster’s season came, it stung.

“Bittersweet,” said left fielder James Tibbs (Florida State). “It’s hard to lose in any situation. I hate it. I hate it. And it’s never something that I want to be on the bad part of it and it’s just not the way I wanted to end the season.”

However, it never should have been a tie game. Brewster gave up no hits over the first five innings, but the difference was that its pitching staff also walked 10 hitters and allowed three runs before surrendering the first hit.

Whitecaps starter Ashe Ammerlaan (Tennessee Wesleyan) was wild, posting six walks, but kept the damage to a minimum. He hit leadoff batter Skylar King (West Virginia) to open the bottom of the first, and after two wild pitches and a sacrifice fly, King came around to score and make it 1-0 Y-D early.

Brewster Recap Image No. 2
Art or Photo Credit: Sadie Parker

Brewster’s offense got to Red Sox starter Jackson Kent (Arizona) in the second. Brock Tibbitts (Indiana) took it upon himself to tie the game, launching his hardest-hit ball of the year 417 feet for a solo shot and the game’s first hit.

In the fourth, the Whitecaps added more traffic on the bases as James Tibbs (Florida State) singled and Davis Diaz (Vanderbilt) walked. They moved up on a groundout and then another one by Jared Jones (LSU) scored Tibbs, giving Brewster a 2-1 lead.

The Whitecaps added on in the top of the fifth, as well. Tyler Pettorini (Ohio State) led off the frame with an infield single, Michael Robertson (Florida) walked and both runners advanced on a double steal. Then, Demitri Diamant launched a ball to center, securing the sacrifice fly to give Brewster an insurance run.

After the first inning, Ammerlaan settled in and struck out five over 4.1 innings of work. He got some help from his defense too, with double plays ending the second and fourth innings.

The walks just kept coming back to bite him and other Whitecaps pitchers.

In the fifth, Ammerlaan walked King and then intentionally walked Hunter Hines (Mississippi State) before being taken out for Jacob Riordan (San Diego State). The hard throwing righty struggled to find the zone, however, surrendering three straight free passes and giving up two runs to tie the game, 3-3.

After that, the Whitecaps seemed to lack a killer instinct to respond, but Y-D only managed two hits and left ten men on base. In a season full of oddities, it was fitting that the Whitecaps’ season ended with another weird way to lose.

Brewster finished the regular season 15-27-2 and in fourth place of the East division. Their motto became “why not us” as postseason play ensued, but there were just too many shortcomings to patch. It’s a learning opportunity, though.

“Guys run away when it’s too tough for them, and guys stick it out and fight through the adversity,” Shevchik said. “When you have a bunch of guys that are going to choose the latter…you will win more games and I think that’s the thing for the whole season.”

For Shevchik, the winningest manager in Brewster Whitecaps history at 164 wins, the effort this squad showed was all that mattered.

“We’re leaving here knowing that we had some good guys and the guys fought,” Shevchik said. “That was the most important thing, they didn’t quit right until the very end and that’s all you can hope for."