(Photo Courtesy of Zach Foley)
By Kieran Wilson
Y-D’s first game of the opening round of the playoffs against Brewster was anything but a nail-biter. They fell behind early and never managed to right the ship, eventually losing 18-7. The pitching staff struggled mightily and the bats just couldn’t catch up to their Brewster counterparts.
The first inning seemed to start off great for Y-D and starter, Smith Pinson. He retired the first two batters easily on a strikeout and flyout. But Davis Diaz batted third, and second baseman Brady Day shifted significantly to his right to defend Diaz. Brewster’s three-hole hitter managed a weak hit right to where Day would normally be aligned, but with the shift on, it gave the Whitecaps a two-out baserunner. Cleanup batter, Josh Pearson lined a bouncing ball to Day that took a tricky hop and got past him to put runners on first and second. Up stepped Jared Jones and he hit a moonshot way over the fence in left field as Brewster drew first blood, going up 3-0.
The Whitecaps struck again in second after Brock Tibbitts reached second base after an errant throw from Theo Hardy ended up in the first base stands. Two batters later, Pinson threw a wild pitch that bounced high above catcher Ryan Stafford’s head, causing him to lose track of it and allowing Tibbitts to score all the way from second.
With Brewster up 4-0, the Red Sox started to cut into the deficit in the second. Hunter Hines drew a leadoff walk, advancing to second on a wild pitch and third on a groundout by Day. Ryan Jackson batted with two outs and Hines in scoring position. He grounded a ball past a diving Mason White at second base, driving in Hines and getting Y-D on the board, 4-1.
But the Whitecap bats extended their lead further in the third. After Diaz drew a one-out walk, Josh Pearson belted a 1-2 pitch into the trees in center field to put Brewster up 6-1.
Y-D looked to crawl back into the game in the bottom of the third after Theo Hardy got the inning started with a walk and went first to third on a bloop single by Skylar King. Stafford hit next and lifted a sacrifice fly to right field that was deep enough to score Hardy and put the Red Sox back within four.
Ryan Delgado came on in relief for Pinson in the fourth, walking two of the first three batters he faced and allowing Tyler Pettorini to reach on an infield single to load the bases for Brewster. James Tibbs lined a two-run single into right field that broke then game open for the Whitecaps, with the score sitting at 8-2. Davis Diaz hit another single into right field that scored yet another run and kept the inning going for Brewster. Pearson grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Tibbs from third and gave the Whitecaps a commanding 10-2 lead.
Connor O’Hara replaced Delgado and gave up a walk and a single with two outs to load the bases again in the inning. A wild pitch allowed Brewster to score again and the other two runners to both advance. In his second at bat of the inning, Tibbitts walked to put runners everywhere for Leach, who singled up the middle to make the score a ghastly 13-2.
In an effort to crawl back into the ballgame, the Red Sox got a run on a solo homer from Casey Cook, his first of the season. Unfortunately, Y-D gave that run right back on the first pitch of the next inning after Tyler Pettorini hit a solo home run. Diaz and Pearson singled, and then the Red Sox brought Max Banks in to pitch. He gave up a single to White, putting the score at 15-3.
The Red Sox put together a mini rally in the fifth after base hits by Braden Montgomery and Manny Garza brought Zander Darby to the plate. He advanced both runners with a groundout, and Montgomery scored after the Brewster shortstop committed an error on a ball hit by Dub Gleed. They got a little bit closer in the seventh after a massive solo home run from Montgomery landed among the trees in left-center field and made the score 15-5.
Brewster scored three runs in the eighth after a bases loaded walk and a 2-RBI single to put them up 18-5. Y-D got two runs back on three hits and a wild pitch in their half of the eighth to end the scoring at 18-7.
Y-D’s ever-optimistic manager, Scott Pickler had this to say after the game: “We’ve done this many times where we’ve lost the first game of the series. It’s one game. They’ve won two games in a row before. That’s all we gotta do. We’re not worried about Sunday, we’re worried about winning the first inning tomorrow…It’s a new day tomorrow, we’ll get Finn [Wall] to pitch a gem for us and we get after it from there. Done it many times, we’ve got too good a team to lay down and die right here. We’ll come ready to play tomorrow.”
Y-D must win on Saturday at Brewster to force a deciding game three on Sunday. They must come prepared for a fight unless they want the season to come to an unceremonious end.