After two straight losses, Forbes Road's baseball team needed to get back on track this week.
The Cardinals did just that, thanks in large part to junior Matt Brown. Brown started the week with a strong hitting game and ended it with a stellar pitching effort; he is the Public Opinion Male Athlete of the Week.
"Matt was probably our No. 1 pitcher last year, and it's just taken him a while to get rolling, it seems like," Forbes Road coach Randy Gelvin said. "He seems to be coming into form now of lately, and he's really starting to hit the ball."
Brown's first win of the season on the mound was Friday's gem against Fannett-Metal, which notched just two hits in Brown's complete game effort. He walked just three, and struck out a staggering 12.
"That was the hardest I've thrown all season," Brown said. "I also had my curveball on, too, so I could keep 'em off balance. It was my first win of the season, so my confidence level is up, and we had no errors that night, so that helped, too."
Gelvin said, "He was just mixing pitches really well. He only throws a couple pitches, but he was keeping them off stride. Against Fannett-Metal, he would finesse the top of the order and try to blow it by the bottom of the order. He had real good control."
In addition to his pitching getting stronger, Brown continues to belt extra-base hit after extra-base hit. He had two doubles in Monday's game against Northern Bedford. Gelvin said he noticed Brown getting a lot of called strikes against him, but recently backed him off the plate a bit, which has worked wonders.
"Well, if I don't get a hit in a game, I get really mad," Brown said. "I try to get at least one hit. The more in a game, the better, of course, but I hate going 0-for-3 or 0-for-4. That's the worst feeling."
Brown's determination is certainly working, as the Cardinals are hunting down their first playoff spot since 2012.
"Our goal is always to try to get to the playoffs, and then see what happens," Gelvin said. "The New York Giants won the Super Bowl with an 8-8 record, so our goal is just to get there and see if we can peak at the right time."
Matt Brown, Forbes Road
Position: Pitcher/third base
Parents: Doug and Connie Brown
Other interests: Matt also plays basketball for the Cardinals.
Favorite team: Philadelphia Phillies
Athlete most admired: Kemba Walker
Statistics: Brown rapped a pair of doubles in Monday's game, then pitched a two-hitter against Fannett-Metal to end the week ... Brown struck out 12 Tigers in the complete-game effort.