Steve Rosado understands what is meant when people say baseball is a funny game, especially in regard to his early-season hitting streak.

Steve Rosado understands what is meant when people say baseball is a funny game, especially in regard to his early-season hitting streak.

"When things are going well it feels like there's only five fielders out there," the Licking County Settlers' outfielder said after another round of bad weather ended a 2-0 loss to the Southern Ohio Copperheads in six innings last Thursday at Don Edwards Park in Newark. "When things are going bad it feels like there's maybe 18 of them out there."

For now, anyway, things are going extremely well for the Marietta, Ga., native and North Florida Community College junior. One of only three Settlers who is not playing for a Division I college program, Rosado's double with two outs in the first inning last Thursday pushed his hitting streak to four games, a stretch in which he went 7-for-15 (.467) at the plate even if the Settlers did slip to 4-7 overall.

He posted his second four-hit game during an 8-6 loss last Monday to the Stark County Terriers, and he had at least one hit in nine of the first 11 games. He was batting .383 for the season entering last Friday's Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League game at Stark County, leading the team in hits (18), runs scored (9), doubles (5), total bases (18) and stolen bases (6).

So while so many of his peers still are adjusting to swinging wooden bats Rosado is thriving after scrapping the metal.

"I'm just seeing the ball very well right now and putting a good swing on it almost every time out," he said. "But it would mean more if we were winning."

After climbing back to .500 with a 7-4 victory over the Grand Lake Mariners on June 22 the Settlers dropped their next three, including 9-0 last Wednesday to the visiting Columbus All-Americans as Rosado broke up pitcher Tony Bertucci's bid for a no-hitter with a single to left field leading off the bottom of the ninth inning.

"I think we saved a little face there," said Rosado, a 6-foot-3 second-year player with the Settlers.

Rosado has played center and right field and served as a designated hitter. He has hit in each of the top five spots in the batting order. He plays center field at North Florida and bats leadoff.

Rosado also is one of five players who were with the Settlers a year ago, batting .271 with a team-high 23 stolen bases while joining fellow returnee Jeremy Hazelbaker in being selected to represent the team at the all-star game. He slumped somewhat at the plate in the later stages of last season, however. His team finished 17-22.

"I think maybe I got a little tired," Rosado said. "This year, being a year older and a little stronger, I think I'll be a fresher at the end. I'm having a great time."

The Settlers have a new coach (Kyle Sobecki) and general manager (Dave Froelich) this summer and no longer play and room at Denison University. Rosado is staying with a host family in Heath.

"I decided to come back because I knew what to expect," he said. "Then I found out about the changes and I wasn't so sure, but it's been fun. These first 10 games or so are like a trial run. I definitely think we're a better team than last year but we've got to get out there and show it."

The Settlers faced Grand Lake again last Saturday and Lake Erie visits today for a doubleheader. They play Monday at the Xenia Athletes in Action, Wednesday at the Delaware Cows and Thursday at the Lima Locos. The Cincinnati Steam visits Tuesday. Southern Ohio led the league at 5-1 entering last Friday's games.