2015 52+ National

Southern Maryland Titans 5, Lowkey Brewers 2

‘MVP Klosicki Pitches Titans to 52+ National Crown’

By Mike Camunas, special to MSBL

November 7, 2015, Dunedin, FL — Dan Klosicki has won back-to-back titles. For different teams. The Southern Maryland Titans pitcher threw a complete game and struck out four to guide his current team to the 52 National Division championship on Saturday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. It was the Titans sixth title since 1994. Southern Maryland defeated Lowkey Brewers 5-2, and Klosicki was named MVP.

Klosicki, who won his seventh championship overall, played for the Brewers last season, who were the defending champs. “Yeah,” he said with laugh, “when you look at it that way, I do have back-to-back titles. Feels pretty good.”

The Titans fell behind early, as the Brewers’ Dan Cuff scored an unearned run in the first inning, while Lowkey added another in the fifth when John Hartman stole second and scored later in the inning. Lowkey’s starting pitcher, Mike Smith, who played professionally for the Baltimore Orioles, cruised through the first five innings, striking out three and allowing just five hits. However, the Titans would load the bases in the sixth and tie the game 2-2 when J.B. Brown and Frank Bons scored on sac fly by Leonard Phillips and a RBI walk by Rafa Fuentes, respectively.

“I knew we were going to score runs,” Titans manager Mike Steinhauser said. “We’d been in position all week, we’d scored runs all week, so I knew we just have to be patient and Dan would keep us in the game. He always has. He takes control — he’s a bull out there.”The Titans scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh when Brown would scorefor the second-straight inning thanks to an RBI single by Bons. The Titans tacked on two more runs in the eighth, both unearned due to errors. Phillips would score and then back-to-back bunts by Spike Slater and Fuentes brought him around, while Slater also scored.

“Their guy pitched a good game, our guy pitched a good game, we made some errors and we did everything we wanted on the bases, we just couldn’t get them in,” Brewers manager Jimski Michalski said. “We had so many guys in position every inning, but we couldn’t get them in. If you can’t get them in once they’re there, and the other team does, what are you going to do?”

The Brewers stranded two runners, including one at third in the seventh with just one out. Klosicki would pitch around that jam with a strikeout and a fly out to centerfield, respectively. “(Klosicki) is a great pitcher and we all know each other because we’re local and we all play together,” Michalski said. “He was on this team last year and won, now he’s over there and won. Probably says something about him.”

“It was two really good pitchers going at it,” added Klosicki, who pitched in the Cincinnati Reds minor league system. “Mike (Smith)has done it professionally, and it’s great to see a pitcher’s duel like that, but I had faith in our guys and I knew they’d come through.”

Smith would also pitch a complete game and strike out five, however, the infield errors nipped any comeback quickly. Now, Klosicki will head home with his seventh title in hand.

“I wasn’t even going to play this week,” he added, “because I played a full week out in Phoenix at the MSBL World Series, but they asked me the last second and I jumped on it. … Well, I’m glad I did (laughs).”