2019 CRCBL Pitcher of the Year -- Chase Lee
Date: Aug 13, 2019
By Matt Cohen
SILVER SPRING, Md. – It didn’t matter whether the ball was fielded cleanly. Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts head coach Doug Remer thought his leadoff hitter would be safe.
The winning run stood 90 feet away from home plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Corey Rosier (Chipola College) was at the plate and hit a routine groundball to D.C. Grays shortstop Justin Johnson (Lafayette).
Johnson stayed back on the ball, waiting to make a routine play at first base. When Remer saw Johnson set up just in front of the outfield grass, he knew Rosier was safe, no matter what the Grays shortstop did.
“I knew that was game,” Remer said. “Corey is ridiculously fast. The shortstop didn’t come in real hard, and any time it two hops, he’s going to beat that out.”
Though whether Rosier would beat the throw or not didn’t decide the game. Instead it was Johnson, as the ball skipped under his mitt and rolled into the outfield. Ian McMIllan (Houston) scored from third, as the T-Bolts beat the Grays 2-1, and moved out to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
It’s an error in the book, but for me that’s the game winning hit,” Remer said.
Rosier’s path to stand in the box in the most critical moment of a playoff game wasn’t straight.
The sophomore was on the T-Bolts roster just before the season was set to begin.
Until he wasn’t.
Rosier told Remer just before the start of the season that he wanted to work in the weight room, to get stronger before heading back for his second year at Chipola.
“Even though I wanted him out here selfishly, what was best for him was to hit the weights,” Remer said. “He said if we had a spot at the end of the season he would come.”
Remer had a spot.
Rosier’s 2019 debut was the T-Bolts wasn’t his first time putting on the uniform.
Last summer, Rosier was an offensive leader for Remer’s team. Rosier hit .265 with 18 RBIs and three home runs. He stole more bases (10) than he had strikeouts (9).
Without Rosier in the lineup to start 2019, Remer didn’t have a leadoff hitter.
Having just played eight games in the regular season, Rosier is still settling back into a routine. But he’s given Remer the leadoff hitter he had searched for. The leadoff hitter to allow an offense that was already the second-best in the league to take the next step.
Rosier stepped to the plate in the midst of a 1-1 tie. A pitcher’s duel had emerged in a game featuring two of the Ripken League’s top three offenses. Alex Mykut (Millersville) of the T-Bolts and Jake Lewis (Eastern Kentucky) of the Grays dueled through five innings, allowing a total of five hits between them. After the T-Bolts took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, the Grays combined to put seven straight zeroes on the board.
Until Rosier stepped to the plate.
Remer wanted Rosier back on the roster for the multitude of ways he can get on base. Remer talked about his ability to work walks, to take a hit by pitch, to beat out ground balls, but to also do damage in the outfield.
It’s what Rosier did right from the first inning when he led off the game with a walk. He would then go on to be hit by a pitch twice and reach on a hit before the bottom of the ninth.
“He’s starting to come around which is huge for us because if we have a leadoff guy, then those other guys can do their part too,” Remer said.
The Grays will return home on the brink of elimination Saturday night. A T-Bolts win would send Remer, Rosier and company to the League Championship Series. A Grays win extends the series to a game three on Sunday.