BRANDYWINE – A patient approach kept the Oxon Hill baseball team moving one base at a time for much of Thursday’s game against Gwynn Park. The Clippers were content to keep their bats on their shoulders while the Yellowjackets struggled to find the strike zone.
But when the right pitch finally came, Richard Archey was ready.
Archey’s bases-clearing double was the only hit that left the infield in an eight-run second inning that powered Oxon Hill to a 17-7 victory in five innings. Thanks to 18 walks in all, the Clippers needed just eight hits to roll to their sixth straight victory.
“We were all just finding ways to get on and get in and keep scoring runs,” said Archey, who finished 2-for-2 with two walks. “My teammates all did a really good job. I just happened to come up big in that inning.”
Oxon Hill (6-3) has made quite the turnaround after losses to county heavyweights Bowie, Charles H. Flowers and Eleanor Roosevelt to start the spring. The Clippers looked plenty confident at the plate Thursday in waiting out Gwynn Park (5-4).
The game was tied at two when Oxon Hill broke it open with their second-inning walk parade. An error on the shortstop got the frame started, but the Clippers did most of their damage without swinging the bats.
They drew seven free passes, including two that forced in runs. The only hits were Archey’s scorched shot into the right field gap with the bases full and Jeffrey Tolson’s dribbler to third that turned into an RBI single. Oxon Hill sent 13 batters to the plate before the Yellowjackets managed to escape.
“I’ll take it,” Oxon Hill Head Coach Carlton Sims said with a chuckle. “It doesn’t always look pretty, but I’ll take it.”
Gwynn Park tried three different pitchers, but strikes remained scarce. All nine Oxon Hill starters walked at least once. Latreal Brame took his base three times, to go along with two hits.
“We just had to be patient and continue to focus,” said Brame, who also pitched the first four innings. “We got the timing of their pitching, and it seemed to work out for us.”
The Yellowjackets found some success at the plate, but not enough to avoid the 10-run rule. Sean Mason had three hits and knocked in three runs in the loss.
It was Gwynn Park’s third straight defeat, all of them by double digits. Coach John Chestnut said he will use the Easter break to get his young squad focused again.
“You’ve got to want this game,” Chestnut said. “Nobody’s going to give it you. They didn’t give us the game. We gave it to them.”
Oxon Hill headed toward the bus with a more optimistic outlook. The Clippers were dealt a tough hand with the treacherous early slate. They had to dive straight into the regular season without a scrimmage because of the weather and paid the price.
The players managed to stay positive, especially boosted by their narrow 7-6 win over Flowers on March 23. Since a disappointing effort against Eleanor Roosevelt dropped them to 0-3, they've passed every test. Thursday’s victory provided even more evidence that their best ball is ahead.
“We’ve got a top-flight team,” Sims said. “We feel like we can hold on our own with anybody.”