Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wheaton Post 268 on verge of Legion playoff berth

Wheaton Post 268 10, Laurel Post 60 5

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Laurie DeWitt⁄The Gazette
Wheaton Post 268 third baseman Miles Lieder charges in to field a ball Saturday in the team’s 10-5 win over Laurel Post 60 at Damascus Regional Park. Wheaton went on to defeat Sandy Spring Post 68 Sunday to move to 11-9 on the season and remain in the driver’s seat for a berth in the county playoffs.
Wheaton Post 268 manager Bob Dorsett knows the key ingredient for his team’s success is simply to play as a team. On Saturday, at Damascus Regional Park Post 268 did just that and beat Laurel Post 60, 10-5.

‘‘We’re not the best, but if you’re not careful with us, and we play as a team, we will beat you,” Dorsett said.

Post 268 has had its share of ‘‘team efforts” this summer, as Saturday’s win moved them one game above .500 at 10-9 and right in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Montgomery Division — the top four teams in the eight-team league qualify for the county tournament, which begins Tuesday, July 15. The team went on to beat Sandy Spring Post 68 Sunday to move to 11-9.

While many coaches preach the importance of team play, Wheaton has to play that way to win with a thin roster and not much in the way of starpower.

The team fielded just nine players on Saturday as many others were on vacation, so everyone played and contributed to a 10-run offensive burst. The team collected 11 hits overall, and all but one player reached base. The biggest factor offensively for Post 268 was the timely hitting of the bottom half of the batting order, which produced eight of the runs, highlighted by the performance of left fielder David Zamostuy, who went 2 for 3 with two triples and five RBI.

‘‘On the two triples, they were perfect pitches to hit, and I just wanted to hit the ball as hard as I could,” said Zamostuy. Zamostuy has been hitting over .400 this summer, and when asked about his young outfielder, Dorsett simply said that he is ‘‘one heck of a ball player.”

While Zamostuy was certainly pleased with his individual effort, he was quick to credit the win to great team play: ‘‘People were playing in different positions, but everyone picked each other up.”

Post 268 also benefited from a gritty pitching performance from Lucas Bremerman, who went six strong innings and allowed five runs to a Laurel team that was 7-17 through Sunday). Bremerman also helped his own cause at the plate, driving in two runs, one of which came on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Post 268 played good defense behind Bremerman, underscored by an amazing outfield assist by Alex Newbrough, who also went 2 for 3 at the plate. Newbrough charged the ball on a sharp single to the right side of the infield, and threw a one-hop strike to home plate to get the Laurel runner in a bang-bang play.

It was just the kind of play that has erased memories of last year’s 4-23 season and has Wheaton on the cusp of the playoffs. Post 268 was scheduled to play Monday and Tuesday in games played too late for this edition of The Gazette. It also has scheduled games on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to conclude the regular season.

‘‘We want to win more than half of the rest of [our] games, and at least get past the first round of the playoffs,” Zamostuy said.