One more game to go

La Plata base­ball run-rules East­ern Tech in 2A state semi­fi­nal game

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

SIL­VER SPRING — From start to fin­ish the La Plata base­ball team flexed its mus­cle in Tues­day evening’s Class 2A state semi­fi­nals.

The War­riors un­leashed that mus­cle to the tune of 13 hits, over­whelm­ing the East­ern Tech­ni­cal Mav­er­icks of Bal­ti­more County en route to a 161, five-in­ning vic­tory at Mont­gomery Blair High School.

La Plata (21-2 over­all), which cap­tured the 2A South Re­gion

crown on Friday with a 4-2 win over two-time de­fend­ing state cham­pion South­ern of Anne Arun­del County, now ad­vances to Mon­day’s 2A state cham­pi­onship game on Mon­day, where it will take on Washington County’s Wil­liamsport at Rip­ken Sta­dium in Aberdeen at 3 p.m.

It will be the third state fi­nal ap­pear­ance in six sea­sons for La Plata, which last won its lone state crown in the 3A clas­si­fi­ca­tion in 2008. Wil­liamsport (19-4), the 2A West cham­pi­ons, shutout Queen Anne’s 9-0 in Tues­day’s other state semi­fi­nal con­test.

“We talked about not giv­ing up any at-bats and try­ing to hit the ball in line and we did that for five in­nings,” La Plata head coach John Childers said. “When we do that we are a pretty tough team to beat. When I watched Wil­liamsport their pitcher had good com­mand, they play good de­fense and put the ball in play, so they are go­ing to be a good challenge for us.”

The first four bat­ters of the game all had hits for La Plata, which took an early 1-0 lead on se­nior Tyler Stock­well’s RBI dou­ble. Se­nior first base­man Scott Logue then sparked the War­riors with a huge three­run home run over the left­field wall off of Mav­er­icks se­nior starter Hunter Cop­pell to give them a 4-0 lead.

“It was a fast­ball that I was look­ing for and I took it deep,” said Logue, who went 2 for 3 at the plate. “It felt great off the bat and re­ally got us go­ing.”

Childers added, “That home run took a lot of pres­sure off of our pitcher and de­fense, giv­ing us that four-run cush­ion early and changed the tone of the game.”

East­ern Tech scored its

lone run in the bot­tom of the sec­ond as Ian Tokof­sky crossed home plate on an over­thrown ball at first base.

La Plata re­sponded with four more runs in the top of the third on an RBI sin­gle from Pey­tyn Gray, a tworun triple by Brett Plik­er­ton and an RBI triple by Tay­lor Cook to make the game 8-1.

The War­riors scored a run in the fourth on an RBI sin­gle by Nick Steury and added seven more runs in the fifth, capped by Pilk­er­ton’s RBI triple. Pilk­er­ton fin­ished 3 for 4 at the plate with five RBIs and two runs scored.

“We know when we play our game that we can beat any­body in the state,” Pilk­er­ton said. “We have to come with that same ap­proach in the cham­pi­onship game that we did to­day.”

La Plata starter Jake Hanks picked up the win on the mound, pitch­ing all five in­nings with five strike­outs, sur­ren­der­ing just five hits and no earned runs with three walks.

“We have one more game left and we want to go out with a bang,” Hanks said. “To­day we had guys crush­ing the ball and the guys re­ally backed me up on the field and made things easy. It is a good feel­ing to be in the state cham­pi­onship. We’ve been work­ing very hard this sea­son.”

Cook went 3 for 3 at the plate, while Stock­well was 2 for 3 on the day.

Cop­pell pitched just 2 2/3 in­nings, giv­ing up seven runs on 10 hits with just one strike­out for East­ern Tech (13-9), which ad­vanced to the 2A state fi­nal a sea­son ago.

“La Plata hit the ball like I haven’t seen in a while. That is a real good team,” East­ern Tech head coach Spike McEl­fish said. “I wish them the best of luck on Mon­day. But we have a young team and this a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for us.”

PHOTO BY TINA GRAY

La Plata se­nior Scott Logue hits a three-run home run in the top of the first in­ning of Tues­day’s Class 2A state semi­fi­nals ver­sus Bal­ti­more County’s East­ern Tech­ni­cal to give his team the 4-0 lead. Logue fin­ished 2 for 3 at the plate as the War­riors went on to win the game 16-1 in five in­nings.

PHOTO BY TINA GRAY

La Plata se­nior short­stop Tay­lor Cook turns a dou­ble play on the throw on first base as fresh­man team­mate Dean Kirby looks on in Tues­day evening’s Class 2A state semi­fi­nal con­test ver­sus East­ern Tech at Mont­gomery Blair High School in Sil­ver Spring. The War­riors won the con­test in five in­nings, 16-1, to ad­vance to the state fi­nal on Mon­day.

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