09/02/2008 2:31 PM
Brewster Whitecaps 2008 Season Review
Hot Start, but Cool Finish Leaves
Brewster Whitecaps Out of Playoffs
BREWSTER, Mass. – The 2008 Brewster Whitecaps were a perfect example of the old baseball adage that says good pitching always trumps good hitting. Brewster finished second in the Cape Cod Baseball League in team batting, but ninth in pitching and missed qualifying for the playoffs for the second straight year.
The Whitecaps got off to a hot start and stayed close to the Orleans Cardinals in the race for first place in the East Division. Their early success was fueled by an absolutely stacked pitching staff that performed well above expectations during the first few weeks of the season.
Tim Clubb (Missouri State) led the team in starting pitching, tearing it up with a 4-1 start. Caleb Cotham (Vanderbilt) had a good start in his own right, going 3-1 in his first six starts and striking out 33 batters. Buddy Baumann (Missouri State) held his own with Cotham and his college teammate Clubb. Reliever Rory McKean (Mississippi) shut the door for Brewster with amazing consistency in the early going.
As the Whitecaps appeared to be headed for the post-season, Clubb was called home for reaching his innings limit. As if he were the bottom block in a Jenga tower, Clubb’s departure seemed to trigger the collapse of both the pitching staff and the team’s defense.
Brewster began to give up runs at a much faster pace. While the offense had been sufficient early on, the new difficulties encountered by the pitchers and the defense soon overshadowed whatever offensive capabilities the team exhibited.
Cotham finished the season tied for second in the league in wins with five, while Baumann posted a 4-1 record and his 1.50 ERA ranked eighth among the league’s top hurlers. Over-all, however, Brewster pitchers were done in by their inability to throw strikes and the inconsistency of the team’s defense. Whitecap hurlers issued 218 bases on balls, more than any other staff, and, thanks to the team’s 56 errors, they allowed 39 unearned runs. Only Y-D (with 47) gave up more.
No Brewster batter could crack the .300 barrier for the season, but five regulars collected 40 or more base hits and had respectable batting averages of .265 or higher. They were led by third baseman Mike Freeman (Clemson), whose 46 hits led the team, plus center-fielder Ty Kelley (California-Davis) and first baseman Ryan Wheeler (Loyola Marymount), each with 45, and shortstop Derek Poppert (San Francisco) and third baseman Connor Powers (Mississippi State), with 43 apiece.
Wheeler finished with a team-leading .285 batting average, Powers was fifth in the league with 28 RBI, and outfielder James Meador (San Diego) led the league in triples with four.
The Whitecaps remained in the race for second place and the final division playoff spot until two days before the season ended. But it was not meant to be. During the final week of play, Harwich just would not stop winning and the Mariners built on their momentum to knock off Orleans and Cotuit and capture their first league championship in 21 years.
Nevertheless, Whitecaps fans were treated to some exciting and entertaining baseball in 2008 and they hope to see their team take that extra step to post-season play in 2009.
Jim Chandley, CCBL Intern ([email protected])
Interns: Chris Blake, James Chandley, Ashley Crosby, Phil Garceau, Stefanie Marini, Laura Rasmussen