As Derek Goslin slowly rounded the bases after hitting his second home run in the young American Legion season, his entire Johnstown Post 254 team excitedly gathered at home plate.

As Derek Goslin slowly rounded the bases after hitting his second home run in the young American Legion season, his entire Johnstown Post 254 team excitedly gathered at home plate.

After a frustrating year spent away from baseball in 2007, Goslin is just happy to be back on the diamond, and his teammates are thrilled about the power he brings to the lineup.

"It's just a way for me to get back in the flow of things," said Goslin. "Johnstown Legion ball is really important for me to get my game into shape. I didn't play spring ball before college, so this is really good for me. I'm seeing the ball really well -- really picking it up out of the pitcher's hand."

Goslin, who 2007 New Albany graduate, is looking to get his game in shape before taking the field at Mount Vernon Nazerene in the fall. He attended a junior college in Western Pennsylvania last year but did not play baseball, saving a year of eligibility. This fall presents a new opportunity to play collegiately.

"I've been working out a lot during the spring. I've been hitting the weights regularly, and hitting batting practice every once in awhile. I'm just excited to go to Mount Vernon. It's a lot closer to home and a good chance to play baseball."

Alan Witte had a standout season for Northridge in 2008, and is off to another good start for Post 254. The Vikings' middle infielder hit .351 as a junior -- third-best on his high-school team. He's been impressed with the collection of talented teammates.

"It's been great seeing the older guys play," Witte said. "Deuce (Goslin) has had a couple shots. It's been really impressive watching him hit. Michael Hendren (2007 Johnstown graduate) has been solid at the plate and on the field as well."

The most aggravating part of the season thus far has been Post 254's struggles to close out opponents. Against Marysville Post 79 on June 12, Johnstown led but Marysville came back to force a tie before the game was postponed after seven innings because of darkness. The game was completedJune 15 with Marysville winning 10-9.

Last Monday, Post 254 wasted a two-run lead late in the game and was defeated 10-4 by Newark Post 85.

"Almost every game we have had a lead; it's just been tough to hold," Witte said. "Overall we're playing well, we've got guys who are hitting the ball out of the ballpark and guys who pitch great. Fundamentally we're playing great, we just need to hang on to those leads."

Goslin and Witte are confident that Post 254 will come around and start closing better.

"I think we need to find out who our closing pitchers are," Goslin said. "If we find out who can throw after a certain time in a game and who can to close out games, we'll be in good shape."

"What's unique about this team is that we have eight or nine guys who are varsity starters," Witte said.

"You don't often see that in Legion ball and I think that gives us the ability to contend with anyone."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Post 254 baseball team:

June 12 -- Lost to Marysville Post 79 10-9

June 13 -- Defeated Utica Post 92 6-0

June 14-15 -- Lost doubleheader to Ashley Post 518

Last Monday -- Lost to Newark Post 85 10-4

Last Friday -- Began play in three-day Ashland tournament

Tuesday -- At Utica Post 92

Friday -- At Grove City High School vs. Ashley Post 518 and Hilliard Post 614A (Davidson)