It hadn't been there in 22 years, but Greenbelt Post 136 played like it belonged in the Maryland American Legion baseball tournament. Two tough losses knocked Post 136 out of the eight-team double-elimination event at McCurdy Field in Frederick, but Coach Larry Prange said his players did all he could have asked.
"They weren't nervous at all," Prange said. "They hit the ball throughout the lineup. We played hard the whole tournament."
Greenbelt, made up mostly of players from DeMatha and Eleanor Roosevelt, came out strong when the tournament started Friday with a 15-4 win over Talbot, the Eastern Shore representative. Greenbelt lost its first game Saturday, when host Frederick scored three runs in the ninth inning for a 9-6 win. Gaithersburg Post 295 sent Greenbelt home Sunday, coming from behind twice to score a rain-delayed 14-8 victory.
Rob Heilig helped Greenbelt (28-13) start strong by throwing a complete game in Friday's win over Talbot. Heilig's toughest pitch is a curve and he used it just as he did in May to lead Eleanor Roosevelt past Bowie in the county's 4A region final. Henry Lynch provided much of Greenbelt's offense with a home run and two doubles.
Frederick pushed Greenbelt's back to the wall when it scored three runs in the ninth. The loss sent Post 136 into the loser's bracket against Gaithersburg.
Greenbelt took a 2-0 lead but Gaithersburg rallied and led 4-2 before the rain. When play resumed, Greenbelt's bats got hot and it took a 6-5 lead into the sixth. But a five-run Gaithersburg surge in the sixth was too much for Greenbelt to recover.
Prange said his team's pitchers started to tire and Post 136 was hurt by a few critical errors.
"We just ran out of pitching, and our defense slipped," Prange said.
Andy Bradley and Daren Sanford had two hits for Greenbelt. Greenbelt beat Gaithersburg, 8-4, earlier this season.