On a beautiful Fourth of July, it made for a good opportunity to take in two games in the Eastern division. My first stop was at the Stony Brook School to see Brewster take on Harwich. The Whitecaps have been scuffling recently. They have been putting up some runs, but have had trouble limiting the opposition. Yesterday, they continued the offensive trend but received adequate pitching and held on for a 7-4 win over the Mariners.
Harwich starter Rob Gariano, last week's Pitcher of the Week, did not record an out in the second inning. He was hit hard as the Whitecaps scored three in the first inning and two more in the second. In the first, after John Barr lined a single up the middle, Jedd Gyorko crushed a ball over the fence, just to the left of the 375' sign in left-centerfield. Following that blast, Tant Shepherd singled and Lyle Allen blooped a double just inside the line in left. Shepherd scored on a wild pitch.
After Harwich scored two in the second inning to pull within one, Brewster came back with two more of their own. Dan Butler started things off with a lead-off double. Number nine batter Tim Ferguson lined an RBI double down the leftfield line. Jarrett Parker followed with the third of three consecutive doubles, roping one to the base of the fence at the 385' marker in centerfield. After an infield single, Gariano was replaced by Florida State's Geoff Parker. Gariano's line for the day: 1 IP, 8 hits, 5 runs (all earned). Gariano entered the game with an ERA of 0.73. After his one inning of work yesterday, his ERA is 4.05.
Parker pitched effectively through the fifth, allowing three hits but no runs.
Meanwhile, Pepperdine lefthander Scott Alexander cruised through seven innings. He hit a bump in the road in the second when Harwich scored two. He allowed an infield hit, walk, and hit a batter to load the bases with no out. Alexander limited the damage by giving up only a fielder's choice ground ball and a sacrifice fly to score the runs. Alexander pitched seven innings, allowing only those two runs on just two hits, although he did walk six batters.
Brewster put the game away with two runs in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Barr and an RBI single by Gyorko, making the score 7-2. After getting the first two Mariners in the top of the ninth, Whitecaps reliever Eric Jokisch walked the next two batters before giving up three consecutive singles to pull the Mariners within three. With the bases loaded, Phil Gosselin came up as the potential go-ahead run, but Jokisch induced Gosselin to ground to short to end the game.
NOTES: Brewster's lineup was already looking good but it has been greatly improved with the recent addition of Parker and Gyorko. Parker played in just his second game yesterday, while Gyorko played in his sixth... Fresh from the College World Series, Texas' Shepherd and Stayton Thomas are now with the Whitecaps. Shepherd played in just his second game, while Thomas has yet to see action on the mound... The first inning damage could have been worse if Gosselin hadn't made a nice sliding catch in left to rob Parker of a leadoff hit... Allen went into the game batting just .162 but after a 4 for 4 day, he is now at .244... Neither has enough plate appearances to be among the league leaders, but Gyorko is batting .455 and Barr is hitting .414...Brewster has climbed to third in the league in batting with a .230 team avg... Brewster will score runs. Pitching is their question mark as they remain a distant last in team ERA at 4.35... As a team, Harwich is batting just .202... Trent Mummey has the Mariners only homerun this year... Keeping with the spirit of the day, the reported attendance was 1,776... With the win, the Whitecaps improved to 5-8-3... Harwich evened their record at 8-8... The Whitecaps and the Mariners square off again today at Whitehouse Field at 5:30.
After seeing eleven runs scored at Brewster, Orleans and Chatham took part in a pitchers duel that took an extra inning to decide. The Firebirds edged the Anglers, 1-0.
The teams matched zeroes until the top of the tenth when Ross Heffley's line single to right off Chatham reliever Russell Brewer scored Matt Koch. Whit Merrifield made a strong throw home and Chatham catcher Jacob Stallings had the ball in plenty of time to tag out Koch, but Koch jarred the ball loose when he ran into Stallings. Brewer had retired the first two batters in the inning before giving up a double to left to Koch.
Rob Rasmussen pitched seven innings of three-hit ball for the Firebirds. He was followed to the hill by Matt Hiserman and Daniel Ottone. Hiserman picked up the win in his first decision of the year, while Ottone earned his third save.
Chatham wasted a strong effort from Matt Harvey and Jesse Hahn. Harvey went six innings and gave up only three hits; while Hahn allowed just one hit over his three innings of work.
Orleans had six hits while Chatham had five. Rasmussen gave up the only two walks in the game. Obviously neither team had many scoring opportunities. Chatham's best chance came in the eighth inning when Addison Johnson singled with two out and stole second. Merrifield singled to right and Firebirds' rightfielder Steve Selsky charged the ball and threw a bullet to catcher Koch. Koch caught the ball and had to wait to tag Johnson who was out by 20 feet on the play. Chatham manager John Schiffner argued that Orleans thirdbaseman Michael Olt impeded Johnson's progress between second and third, to no avail.
NOTES: In 13 innings over two starts, Rasmussen has given up only 3 hits and no earned runs. He has struck out 17 while walking only 3... Orleans' Alex Hassan had two hits, raising his average to .317... Selsky entered the game in the seventh inning, replacing Jeremy Gould. Gould appeared to hurt himself in the top half of the inning, diving back to first base when he was picked off by Hahn... Brewer's record drops to 2-1... After a 9-1 start, the Anglers have lost 6 of their last 7 games... Orleans has won 3 in a row and the Firebirds are now just two points behind Chatham and Y-D... The same two teams meet tonight at 7:00 at Eldredge Park.