Seventeen Years Later

Marty Costes hit the go-ahead home run Thursday.
Marty Costes hit the go-ahead home run Thursday.

 

Marty Costes was 4 years old, Kyle Datres and William Tribucher were 3 and Connor McNamara was about to turn 2 when the Brewster Whitecaps won the 2000 Cape League championship. That was the franchise’s most recent trip to the finals until those toddlers-turned-baseball players took the Whitecaps back Thursday night.

Costes and Datres homered and McNamara and Tribucher combined on a gem as the Whitecaps continued their unlikely playoff run with a 2-1 upset of top-seeded Orleans in game three of the East Division finals. Brewster, the No. 3 seed in the East, will face its third-seeded counterpart from the West, Bourne, in the Cape League championship series.

Brewster lost game one of its series with Orleans, and the top seed – with the best pitching, offense and defense in the league all year – seemed poised for a finals trip. Instead, the Whitecaps stayed alive Wednesday and rode the wave Thursday.

After giving up a run in the first inning, McNamara (Marist) – a late-season addition – settled in for seven strong innings and didn’t allow another run. In the meantime, Datres (North Carolina) homered to tie the game in the fourth.

The game stayed deadlocked until the eighth, with neither side blinking. Nobody made an error and the pitchers shined. But Costes (Maryland) broke the tie with one swing of the bat in the eighth. It was his second home run of the playoffs, with the other coming in the clinching win over Y-D. He hit this one off dominant Orleans closer Josh Hiatt (North Carolina).

Armed with the lead, Tribucher (Michigan) came out of the bullpen four days after starting the team’s game two win over Y-D. He struck out one in the eighth and fanned the side in a dominant ninth inning to send Brewster to the championship.

It was a tough ending for Orleans, the league’s best team. Just as it was for so many other No. 1 seeds over the last few years, the playoffs proved to be a minefield.

The Whitecaps had the longest title series drought of any team in the league. But it’s over now.

What to Watch

Brewster will have home field advantage for the best-of-three title series by virtue of a 3-1 record in head-to-head games. The series opener is set for today at 4 p.m. at Stony Brook Field. It will be the first championship series game in the field’s history, since Brewster only moved there in 2006.

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2 Comments

  1. Orville from Orleans says:

    Yes, the CCBL playoffs are a minefield. That’s what happens when eight out of ten teams qualify for the playoffs and you play three-game series.

    I really hoped that the best team would win this season, but again that hasn’t happened. Sometimes the best team during the regular season is not the best team come playoff time, due to player defections, but that was not the case with this year’s Firebirds.

    Limiting the playoffs to the top two teams in each division would be a step in the right direction, but the best format would be a best-of-five (or how about best-of-seven!) series between the division winners. It would make the regular season more meaningful, and then we would have a championship worth winning.

  2. Will Geoghegan Will Geoghegan says:

    I don’t disagree. As fun as it is to have a surprise, it isn’t enough of a surprise to make it an like an NCAA Tournament Cinderella run.

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