Arguably as talented as anyone on the Eleanor Roosevelt High School baseball team’s pitching staff the previous two seasons, right-hander Bobby Browning saw limited action on the mound as both a sophomore and a junior.
“He was kind of behind two guys for a couple of years,” said Roosevelt coach Andrew Capece, referring to 2011 graduates Matt Chernesky (6-1, 1.62 in 2011), a three-time All-Gazette first team performer, and Roberto Martinez (6-1, 2.89). “Even though they were pretty close to each other in talent, they were just a little bit ahead. They pitched most of the big games.”
With their departure, Browning was elevated to ace status this spring and he has more than made the most of the increased workload, leading the Raiders to an 18-1 record, the Prince George’s County’s 4A League title and the top seed in the 4A South Region playoffs.
“It’s pretty nice because now I know I have an actual role on the team,” Browning said. “My coach depends on me to come in sometimes during certain situations, like the last inning against [Charles H.] Flowers or [Henry A.] Wise. It’s good to have a role and be a leader so I can help other people take over my position next year.”
As the team’s big-game pitcher, Browning finished the regular season with a 7-1 record and an earned run average around 2.00 with 53 strikeouts and three complete games. He earned the victory in the team’s 4A South quarterfinal win against Flowers on Monday as well.
“I think he’s a little more mature and a lot more confident,” Capece said. “For our league, he’s got a pretty good fastball. I wouldn’t call him a power pitcher though. He tries to make good pitches, uses his curve and change-up and tries to hit his spots.”
Browning’s impressive senior season, which he hopes lands him a roster spot on perhaps either the Anne Arundel Community College or Montgomery College baseball teams next year, includes two complete-game wins against second-seeded Bowie. He allowed a combined two unearned runs in 14 innings with 13 strikeouts against the Bulldogs.
“He’s very good,” said Bowie coach Bob Estes, whose squad could face Browning again if both teams reach Friday’s region final. “He has two pretty good pitches — a nice breaking pitch and a nice fastball. He has very good location. He’s a good pitcher.”
Browning employs a fastball, circle change and an occasional curveball. His change-up was the dominant pitch in the first meeting with Bowie, while everything was working in the second matchup earlier this month that clinched the 4A League title and No. 1 seed for the Raiders.
“I don’t really rely on a certain pitch,” Browning said. “I let my coach pretty much make the decision of what to pitch. My strategy is to try to go after the hitter and get ahead.”