Carrying on the family tradition at La Plata baseball
Calvert looks to make name for himself with La Plata baseball
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.”
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.