Whitecaps pick up pace after slow start, but still out legged by Chatham

Patrick Forbes struck out two in the first and only let up one run, but Brewster’s offense couldn’t come back in a loss to the Anglers.|Art or Photo Credit: Sadie Parker

Chatham, Mass. It took until the sixth inning for the Whitecaps to score a run in Tuesday night’s contest, and by then, they were already down 5-0.

Check that.

It took until the sixth inning for the Whitecaps to record a hit at Veterans Field Tuesday night.

They were stonewalled by Chatham starter Trey Gibson (Liberty), who wove his way through the Whitecaps order for the first five innings before the lineup finally caught up to him. It was not enough, though, as Brewster (15-26-2) suffered their first loss to the Anglers (14-27-2) all season 7-4.

“Obviously getting no-hit through a couple you know, four innings, five innings,” pitching coach Brian Del Rosso said. “I thought our pitchers did an okay job early throughout the game.”

It was a chillier night at Veterans Field, especially after the sun set, but the Chatham bleachers were packed and loud even though both teams’ postseason fates were set.

That was evident in the strategies of each team, as the Anglers—who are headed for the beach after the regular season concludes Wednesday—played like they had nothing to lose. The Whitecaps—who are cemented as the fourth seed of the playoffs starting Friday—rotated pitchers, pinch-hit players, and went through the motions.

“One of those games that kind of, you don’t want to say a game is meaningless, but one of those games where we’re just trying to get our work in and get ready for the postseason,” Del Rosso said.

Gibson was an embodiment of the Anglers’ night, as the righty entered with an ERA north of 11, but looked like an ace while setting down the first seven Whitecaps he faced. He struck out two hitters and allowed two runs on three hits after running into trouble in the sixth.

“It looked like [the Anglers] were having some fun pregame and playing a little loose,” Del Rosso said. “Kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel a bit.”

Brewster scored twice in that sixth after Tyler Pettorini (Ohio State) and Adarius Myers (Louisiana Tech) both got hits. Pettorini scored off an RBI groundout by Hunter D’Amato (Fairleigh Dickinson) and Myers got in off a wild pitch from Gibson.

But that was preceded by five Chatham runs off three pitchers. Patrick Forbes (Louisville) started for the Whitecaps and gave up one run in his one inning but punched out two. Then Darien Smith (Southeastern) had the only scoreless outing with no runs allowed over the second inning.

Brendan Walker (Stetson) then entered and was plagued by his own wild pitches, three of which pushed Trace Willhoite (Lipscomb) across the plate. Walker was also beaten by the likes of Deric Fabian (Auburn), who smacked an RBI single to score Lane Forsythe (Mississippi State) in the bottom of the fourth to make it 3-0 Chatham.

Brewster then turned to Luke Lyman (West Virginia) out of the bullpen and he allowed two more runs before the Whitecaps responded.

Even after the two runs, Chatham didn’t give into the comeback. With two runners on and two outs in the top of the sixth, Brock Tibbitts (Indiana) strode to the plate to face reliever Shane Van Dam (NC State). Instead of delivering a blow, he was punched out looking and Chatham’s momentum came right back.

Fabian built on that in the bottom half of the frame, as he pummeled a pitch from Lyman deep over the left-field fence, extending Chatham’s lead to 6-2.

Like many points throughout the season, an opportunity arose late for a comeback. Van Dam walked two batters and hit another in the eighth, loading the bases with no outs. He punched out one hitter and then exited. In trotted Jack Brodsky (Tampa) from the Chatham bullpen to work out of the jam.

Only one run came across, however. Pettorini took advantage of a throwing error on a backpick by the Chatham catcher and scored, but Tibbitts struck out with two outs and runners on first and third.

Both teams traded runs again in the ninth, with the Whitecaps’ coming off a fielder’s choice by Pettorini and then an error by the Anglers on the throw to second. Brewster only pushed across one earned run and did not record an RBI off a base hit.

The Whitecaps clinched their playoff position Saturday night, but are in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Rather than a joyful jaunt into postseason play, their gait is more in line with a limping march.

That doesn’t mean a run is out of the question, though.

“We’re just trying to get ready to make a little bit of a run here at the end,” Del Rosso said. “Kind of line everything up in our ability to where we give ourselves a shot.”

Brewster returns home for their final game of the regular season, a matchup with the Harwich Mariners at Stony Brook Field, with first pitch slated for 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.