Without much fanfare or celebration, the Greenbelt Post 136 American Legion baseball team rolled to its sixth consecutive victory Wednesday night, beating Clinton Post 259, 12-2, at Riverdale Recreation Park.
The remarkably steady performance of Greenbelt's team — which consists mainly of players from DeMatha Catholic and has been reinstated this year after previously being combined with College Park Post 217 — mirrored the effort of freshman left-hander Andy Rozlowicz. The methodical southpaw tossed four innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits. He struck out six, walked none and threw 37 of his 46 pitches for strikes.
“He throws strikes, keeps kids off-balance and hits his spots,” said Greenbelt coach Sean O'Connor, the head coach at DeMatha, who played for Post 136 when he was in high school. “When he doesn't hit his spots, he's very hittable and the ball goes a while. But when he's able to throw ground balls, he's an out machine. No question about it.”
Six of Rozlowicz's outs came via strikeout, five of the other six came on ground balls. The only hard-hit ball he allowed was a triple to Clinton catcher Sherman Washington, who was left stranded.
Clinton (0-1) broke through for two runs in the fourth inning, fueled by back-to-back singles from center fielder Micah Headd and designated hitter Wade Windsor, but that was all Post 259 managed as right-hander Bobby Browning (Eleanor Roosevelt High) tossed two shutout innings in relief.
“We're playing all right,” said O'Connor. “We're pitching well, playing defense. “We've got a young team. It's a good mixture of boys. They play hard and they play the right way.”
Helping Rozlowicz's cause on offense was right fielder Drew Holmes. The DeMatha rising senior came a home run shy of the cycle in four plate appearances. In the second inning, he lined a single to center. In the fifth he hit an RBI double to left and in the sixth he laced a standup triple into the right-center field gap. Holmes finished with three RBI and three runs scored while second baseman and No. 9 hitter Antonio Rosanova went 2 for 2 with a sacrifice fly and knocked in three runs.
“I've been stroking the ball the last few games,” Holmes said. “I feel pretty good. Our team, we're showing a lot of heart this year and we're playing really hard every game.”
Greenbelt (6-0), which draws players from DeMatha, Eleanor Roosevelt and Riverdale Baptist, has won five of its six games by the 10-run rule, including Wednesday's game against Clinton, which was halted after six innings.
Post 259 did not field a team last year, but the squad returned this summer, led by Grace Brethren Christian School coach Dan Kaufman.
“My expectations for the first game were totally on a different level because I didn't want to set the bar so high,” Kaufman said. “I wanted to make sure I set the bar in a realistic manner. Now these guys understand that if that's the ceiling, and they know they can play within that ceiling, then I know they feel confident going forward.”
Right-hander Cooper Colmain started for Post 259 and threw five innings. His defense made five errors behind him, giving Greenbelt plenty of extra chances, especially in Post 136's four-run third inning. Windsor finished with two hits and an RBI for Clinton. The bottom six hitters in Post 259's lineup went a combined 1 for 13 with five strikeouts, Washington's triple being the lone hit.
Greenbelt Post 136 12, Clinton Post 259 2 (6 inn.)
Clinton Post 259 (0-1) 000 200 — 2
Greenbelt Post 136 (6-0) 040 224 — 12
WP: Andy Rozlowicz. LP: Cooper Colmain. 2B — Greenbelt: Drew Holmes 3B — Greenbelt: Drew Holmes. Clinton: Sherman Washington.