With the season entering its final weeks, Isaiah Lopez was stuck in a rut at the plate. The Eleanor Roosevelt junior, who pitches and plays third base, had just one hit in his previous 12 at-bats. Then he struck out his first three times in a game last week.
But Lopez burst out of the slump with a key triple that helped secure another victory. He homered in the Raiders’ next game and his hot streak continued Friday as he went 2 for 3 with a triple and drove in five runs as host Roosevelt beat rival Bowie, 9-1, to clinch the Prince George’s 4A title. It was the seventh title in eight years for the Raiders.
Senior Bobby Browning struck out seven and allowed just five hits and one unearned run as the Raiders (17-1, 16-0) earned the top seed in the Maryland 4A South Region playoffs that begin next week.
The catalyst for Roosevelt’s 11th consecutive victory was Lopez, who played on the junior varsity last year but has taken on a big role this season. He is 5-0 on the mound with a 0.45 ERA and hits fifth in the batting order.
Until the past 10 days, though, Lopez had been pressing at the plate. But since stroking a key triple that started a sixth-inning rally in a 6-1 victory over C.H. Flowers, he has been more confident. He hit his first home run of the season — raising his average to .250 — in a 17-0 victory over Suitland and the success continued against Bowie.
In the bottom of the first inning, Roosevelt was on the verge of wasting an opportunity to take the lead before Lopez’s two-out, two-run triple down the right-field line. Lopez walked with the bases loaded during a three-run third. In the fourth, his two-run single to right broke things open.
“I’m feeling more confident than two weeks ago,” Lopez said. “I was reaching and wasn’t staying back. I had no confidence. . . . If you don’t have confidence, it’s more likely you’re going to be out in front.”
Designated hitter Brady Barr, who entered with a .729 batting average and eight home runs, went 1 for 3 with a double for Bowie (15-2, 15-2).