It's Monday, and you know what that means. It's time for the Sports Buzz, the fastest three minutes in Brookline sports coming your way right now:
Well, this week, we're talkin' baseball. And the Brookline American Legion team is still adjusting to its comeback into the league. Until this summer, Brookline had not fielded a squad since first-year head coach Patrick Moore played back in 2004.
Moore and assistant coach Aaron Greenblatt played for Brookline High before graduating in 2003 and ’04, respectively. Also assisting on the Legion team are Trevor Smith and Dan Zehr, who played ball with Greenblatt at Northeastern, while Moore competed for Wheaton College.
As the Legion team has been revived, Brookline has jumped back into a league of fierce competition, yet it boasts enough talent to make a run at the postseason, despite a 2-6 start, according to Moore.
“Absolutely, I think we can make a run at it,” the coach said. “We ran into a pretty good team in Walpole the other night, but we’re starting to put it together.”
Moore acknowledged the team’s current record isn’t bad considering it’s still adapting to its strong rivals in the District 6 West Division, but said it’s been a bit disappointing based on his own team’s talent.
“Given the amount of talent we have, it’s been frustrating,” Moore said. “The kids are looking for an identity. We’ve had good defense and pitching, but we’re having trouble stringing together good offensive performances. It’s not that they weren’t ready, they’re still adjusting.”
Brookline, for example, got good pitching and defense but lacked hitting in tough losses to Westwood and Canton. Brookline fell to Westwood, 3-2, and Canton, 5-3, in extra innings.
Against considerably weaker Needham, Brookline came through with a 12-0 opening night win in which standout hurler Eric Dumas went the distance.
“He was in complete control,” Moore said, noting Dumas, a right-hander, had more than 10 strikeouts.
Dumas, who will be entering his senior year at Brookline High in the fall, is among a contingent of current or former Brookline High players on the Legion squad. Kyle Kazanjian-Amory, who graduated in 2010, has the other win on the hill for the summer team, defeating Norfolk, 7-0.
Andrew Colgan, who just graduated, and Dexter High junior Nick Doyle have also bolstered the pitching staff. In addition to his mound presence, Colgan, who also plays third base, has ripped the ball well at the plate.
“He’s doing a good job pitching, [and offensively], he shoots them into the gaps pretty well,” Moore said. “He’s had a couple off multiple RBI games.”
Doyle, meanwhile, has shined on the hill in relief.
“On multiple occasions he’s come in for more than one inning and done a good job,” the coach said. "He's done a good job in relief."
The pitching has been backed by the rock-solid catching of Alex Rozek, who, like Colgan, graduated from Brookline High this spring.
“He’s doing a heck of a job back there,” Moore said. “He’s great at blocking the ball and keeps the runners at bay. His whole game is pretty sharp.”
That would include his offense. Rozek is hitting about .400 in the ninth spot.
“He’s a contact hitter,” the coach said, and “he’s doing a great job.”
As Brookline finishes the first half of the season this weekend, Moore will continue to stress the team concept of the game.
“We seem to be taking to it, that it’s for the team,” the coach said.
Brookline was scheduled to begin a stretch of seven games in as many days this past weekend. Starting tomorrow, it will host four straight games at Warren Field against Norwood, Needham, Foxboro, and Norfolk. The game against Needham is a makeup from last week, which was postponed due to rain.