Another chance to shine

SMAC play­ers take the field for Crabfest Al­lAmer­i­can games

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

In the hours that fol­lowed the Brooks Robin­son All-Star game at Ori­ole Park at Cam­den Yards on Sun­day, Leonard­town High School grad­u­ate Bowen Plagge be­came some­thing of a jet-set­ter.

Plagge, who had the first hit of the game on Sun­day af­ter­noon as the South squad, com­prised of four other re­cent South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence grad­u­ates, de­feated the North team, 5-2, flew to Auburn Uni­ver­sity in Alabama early Mon­day morn­ing then flew back to Mary­land early Wed­nes­day morn­ing af­ter his Tues­day flight was post­poned by in­clement weather.

Plagge re­turned to Mary­land that af­ter­noon so he could par­tic­i­pate in the Crabfest All-Amer­i­can Game at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf, home of the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs. Plagge played for Team Bon­sall, while his for­mer Raiders team­mate Derek Tai­tano, who is headed to Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land this fall, took the field for Team New Bal­ance, which even­tu­ally prevailed 10-0.

“My top two choices are Auburn and Tow­son,” said Plagge, who en­tered the game as a pitcher in the top of the third in­ning with his team trail­ing 1-0. “The Auburn coach told me that I could def­i­nitely make the team as a walk-on, but he didn’t

know if I would get much play­ing time right away. I’m wait­ing to hear some­thing from Tow­son this week.”

Plagge, who typ­i­cally plays the out­field, sur­ren­dered a lead­off sin­gle to Colin Bergh be­fore he re­tired Ja­cob Wyant on a grounder, fanned Will Pyne and then got Tai­tano on a grounder to sec­ond to end the in­ning.

Plagge could not es­cape trou­ble in the fourth. Team New Bal­ance scored three runs — one earned — as the Leonard­town grad­u­ate walked two bat­ters, hit another and al­lowed a hit but was doomed by a two-out er­ror that en­abled the fi­nal two runs to score.

He had the chance to bat in the bot­tom of the sixth with his team trail­ing 6-0. With two outs he was hit by a pitch and even­tu­ally reached third as Team Bon­sall loaded the bases, but Plagge was stranded there when Paul Wil­son fanned on an 0-ball, 2-strike pitch.

Tai­tano then col­lected his first hit of the game in the top of the fifth against Conor Grammes. Tai­tano led off the in­ning with a dou­ble down the left-field line and then scored when Joshua Hunter sin­gled. Hunter took sec­ond on the throw home and then scored two bat­ters later on a sin­gle by Austin Gre­gory. He grounded out to first in his last at-bat in the top of the ninth.

Like Plagge, Tyler Stock­well, a La Plata High School grad­u­ate who is headed to Rider Uni­ver­sity in New Jer­sey this fall, played in Sun­day’s Brooks Robin­son game and was also on hand for the Crabfest, al­beit with­out the roundtrip flight to Alabama in be­tween. Stock­well struck out look­ing in the first and then fanned in the fifth.

Stock­well caught the first two in­nings, but he suf­fered a left hand in­jury when his glove was struck by an op­pos­ing bat­ter on his fol­low through. He then was sent to the mound for the eighth, largely un­fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory, but did not fare well. The for­mer War­rior al­lowed four runs, three earned, on four hits, two walks, an er­ror and a wild pitch in his first out­ing in five years.

“I prob­a­bly had not pitched since I was 13, but it was fun to go out there and throw an in­ning” said Stock­well, who will play this sum­mer with the Bethesda Big Train in the Mont­gomery County Base­ball League. “This game was a lot of fun. Be­ing able to play here and at Cam­den Yards on Sun­day was a great ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s an honor to be able to play in these games.”

In the game for ris­ing se­niors that pre­ceded it, La Plata High School’s Jake Hanks was the lone SMAC player for ei­ther squad as he played for Team Per­fect Game, which played to a 4-4 draw in nine in­nings with Team Greene Tur­tle.

In his first at-bat, Hanks stepped to the plate with his team trail­ing 2-0 with run­ners on sec­ond and third. Hanks fouled off the first pitch, but looked at two straight strikes to fan look­ing.

Hanks was con­sid­er­ably busier in the fifth. In his first of two in­nings on the mound, he al­lowed a lead­off sin­gle to Harold Cor­tijo then fanned Jor­dan Adair. Hanks then walked Ran Dove, but, with two run­ners aboard, fanned Justin Luedeck­ing and Wyatt Church to end the threat.

Hanks then had a chance to help his own cause in the bot­tom of the frame. With run­ners on sec­ond and third, he watched the first pitch bounce past him to al­low a run to score. Hanks struck out swing­ing on a 2-2 pitch, but Team Per­fect Game even­tu­ally scored three times that in­ning to tie the game be­fore he went back to the mound for the sixth.

In the top of the sixth, Hanks re­tired Austin Chavis and sur­ren­dered a sin­gle to left by Richard Carey, but es­caped any harm that in­ning when he re­tired Ser­gio Bur­gos on a popup to sec­ond and Carey was dou­bled up af­ter strand­ing too far off the first base bag.

“It was an honor play­ing with a lot of the best ris­ing se­niors in the state,” Hanks said. “I had a good time and I had the chance to make some new friends. I think I could have done a lit­tle bet­ter in my two in­nings out there. I re­ally want to work on my ve­loc­ity this sum­mer. This past sea­son was great. It was def­i­nitely the most fun that I’ve ever had.”

One game ear­lier in the sec­ondary game for ris­ing se­niors, Team Play It Again de­feated Team BATS 6-4 as St. Mary’s Ryken hurler Jack­son Sch­midt tossed a per­fect ninth in­ning to earn the save. Sch­midt, a Hunt­ing­town res­i­dent, needed only eight pitches to re­tire the side in or­der and col­lect the save, re­tir­ing the fi­nal bat­ter on a weak fly ball to cen­ter.

One game ear­lier in the sec­ond of two Ju­nior All-Amer­i­can Games, Charles Bur­roughs (Chop­ti­con), Eric Hamp­ton (North Point) and Tyler Tai­tano (Leonard­town) played for Team Bases, while Ni­cholas Steury (La Plata) played for Team Di­a­mond. In the opener for Ju­niors, Nick Burch (Leonard­town), Pey­ton Gray (La Plata), Robert Jur­ney (North­ern), Bryce Les­lie (North­ern), Mar­cus Lee Sang (North­ern), John Mat­tingly (St. Mary’s Ryken) Austin Simms (South­ern Mary­land Chris­tian Academy) and Tan­ner Zinn (Patux­ent) all par­tic­i­pated.

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