By ERIN CAWLEY
BREWSTER ---- After last year’s disappointing season, it was clear the Brewster Whitecaps were out to make a statement this summer.
Roaring from the gate with one of the best starts in team history, they began 11-4 and continued on their torrid pace for the first two-thirds of the season, holding tight to first place in the East Division.
Solid pitching was the key behind their early success as the starting rotation boasted the stingiest ERA in the league. Anthony Ranaudo (LSU) was all the buzz at Stony Brook Elementary, posting a 3-0 record and not allowing a run in 29 innings. The 6-7 right-hander, drafted by the Boston Red Sox, joined the Whitecaps in an effort to prove his worth after coming back from a season-ending elbow injury in college. He left the Whitecaps early to contemplate his future, eventually signing with the Red Sox.
With Ranaudo’s departure, and the additional loss of key starter Mike Palazzone (Georgia), the Whitecaps struggled in the closing weeks of the season, losing 10 straight games. Still, they qualified for the playoffs with a 26-17-1 record, losing the division title to the Y-D Red Sox by one game.
The playoffs featured an exciting match-up against neighboring Orleans. Brewster won the opener 8-2, but the Firebirds evened the series with a 4-1 triumph. In the clinching Game 3, the Firebirds prevailed 5-4 in 11 innings.
Three Whitecaps were named to the All-League team. Drew Martinez (Memphis) was selected as an outfielder following a season in which he hit .359 with one home run, 28 RBI and 22 stolen bases. Martinez was second in the league in hitting and a crucial component in the Whitecaps’ success.
Danny Oh (Cal-Berkeley) was also named to the team as a utility player after hitting .299.
Pitcher Andrew Gagnon (Long Beach State) was the third player named to the All-League team. Gagnon won a league-best five games, with 43 strikeouts in 38.2 innings.
Cohl Walla (Texas) also appeared in this year’s All-Star game at Fenway Park.
Walla and Taylor Ard (Mount Hood Community College) were keys in the offensive effort. Walla hit .259 with seven RBI, while Ard hit .263 with 14 RBI and one home run.
Kyle Hendricks (Dartmouth) and Colton Murray (Kansas) were impressive in the bullpen. Hendricks posted a 1.73 ERA, while Murray was even stingier with a 0.47 ERA.