Car­ry­ing on the fam­ily tra­di­tion at La Plata base­ball

Calvert looks to make name for him­self with La Plata base­ball

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

For the Calverts, base­ball runs deeper than most fam­i­lies.

It’s like the seams run­ning down the base­ball, en­grained and wo­ven into their DNA that they were de­signed to play on the di­a­mond and, specif­i­cally, pitch or be a de­fen­sive pres- ence in the in­field.

It all started with Mark Calvert, who was a for­mer all­state pitcher that led Thomas Stone to the Class A state ti­tle in 1978. He was drafted out of high school to play in the ma­jor leagues but opted to play at the Uni­ver­sity of South Carolina for four years and later drafted again by the Cincin­nati Reds, spend­ing three sea­sons in the farm sys­tem be­fore end­ing his pro ca­reer at the AA level.

His three sons — Troy, Alex and Ryan — have suc­cess­fully car­ried on the tra­di­tion.

Troy, an All-South­ern Mary- land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence third base­man and 2011 La Plata grad­u­ate, helped lead the War- ri­ors to the 3A state cham­pi­onship game un­der for­mer head coach Dan DeVi­tis — and went on to play one sea­son of base­ball at the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land and an­other year on the foot­ball field at Frost­burg State Uni­ver­sity.

Alex, a 2014 La Plata grad­u­ate, was a star-stud­ded pitcher and third base­man who guided the pro­gram to the state cham- pi­o­nship game in 2013 and four straight 3A South Re­gion crowns. Af­ter earn­ing a scholar- ship to play at his fa­ther’s alma mater out of high school, he trans­ferred to Ersk­ine Col­lege (S.C.) and now is a red­shirt sopho­more pitcher. Now it’s Ryan’s turn. The base­ball ge­net­ics have trans­ferred over to Ryan as the fresh­man en­ters his first sea- son with La Plata, the de­fend­ing 2A state cham­pi­ons, and is look­ing to make an im­me­di­ate im­pact on the var­sity level.

“It’s in our blood. I’ve watched my broth­ers play in high school and at the col­lege level and I learned a lot of how they han­dled cer­tain sit­u­a­tions on the field,” Ryan Calvert said. “My dad was a big time player in col­lege and was drafted into the pros. I wouldn’t say it’s a cus­tom in our fam­ily, but I’m used to be­ing around that level and gain­ing base­ball knowl­edge.”

The War­riors, un­der head coach John Childers, re­turn five starters from last year’s state ti­tle squad, in­clud­ing two pitch­ers back in the ro­ta­tion in se­nior Jake Hanks and sopho­more Dean Kirby.

Childers is ex­cited to have Calvert for the next four sea­sons and most likely will have him in the pitch­ing ro­ta­tion or at first or third base.

“When you come from a fam­ily of base­ball play­ers the prepa­ra­tion and com­mit­ment is very high and he will be able to have him hit the ground run­ning,” Childers said. “It is go­ing to be a tran­si­tion for him adapt­ing to

var­sity base­ball, but he has a very high base­ball IQ.

Calvert, who throws right-handed and bats left, has a sim­i­lar skill set and ap­proach to the game of base­ball like his older broth­ers.

“Alex taught me a lot of the pitch­ing and field­ing. Troy and my fa­ther of­ten goes over a lot of me­chan­ics with me,” said Calvert, who played with the La Plata Le­gion team and the South­ern Mary­land Spar­tans last sum­mer. “It feels good to get back on the field and get ready for the high school level.”

Childers noted that he doesn’t want to put a lot of pres­sure on Calvert right now, but feels that he has a lot of po­ten­tial to be a big-time player in the pro­gram and may get thrown out into the fire at times for the War- ri­ors dur­ing the sea­son.

“I’ve seen him grow over the years and he is 6-foot-4 now, has soft hands like Alex and has a com­pet­i­tive edge like Troy,” Childers said. “The an­gle he throws at and the com­mand he has can make him a very pow­er­ful pitcher for us. I’m look­ing for­ward to see him play for us.”

De­spite watch­ing his older broth­ers play over the years at La Plata, Calvert is ea­ger to make a name for him­self and help get the War­riors back to state supremacy.

“I just want to con­trib­ute and learn as much as pos­si­ble at the high level,” he said. “My broth­ers and fa­ther have al­ways been very sup­port­ive and still works with me. I just have to go out have fun and per­form.”

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Fresh­man Ryan Calvert gears up for the up­com­ing base­ball sea­son in a re­cent prac­tice at La Plata High School where his older broth­ers Troy (2011 grad­u­ate) and Alex (2014 grad­u­ate) were for­mer stand­outs in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence on the same field.

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