Jour­ney for La Plata base­ball ends in 2A state semi­fi­nals

Season ends for La Plata base­ball vs. Mid­dle­town in 2A state semi­fi­nals

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­

BEL AIR — Ex­pec­ta­tions did not change for the La Plata base­ball pro­gram en­ter­ing the 2017 season.

The be­gin­ning of the cam­paign was rather rocky for the de­fend­ing Class 2A state cham­pi­ons as they dropped five of their first eight games.

Things be­gan to click for the War­riors as they ripped off 12 straight wins en route to their sec­ond straight Class 2A South Re­gion cham­pi­onship and was the hottest team en­ter­ing the 2A state semi­fi­nals.

The hot streak would end for La Plata on Tues­day as its season came to an abrupt close at the hands of the Mid­dle­town Knights of Fred­er­ick County, fall­ing 6-4 in the state semi­fi­nals at Har­ford Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

“We started off the season 3-5 and I got um­pires ask­ing me how are you los­ing like this,” La Plata head coach John Childers said. “Many peo­ple thought we were dead in the wa­ter, but to the kids credit they came to­gether and by the end of the season we played pretty good base­ball.”

La Plata (15-6 over­all) put it­self in a three-run hole early af­ter three in­nings, but re­sponded with three runs of its own in the top of the fourth to tie the game.

The Knights an­swered right back in the bot­tom of the frame, scor­ing three runs to re­gain their three-run lead. The War­riors scored one more run in the fifth, but it wasn’t enough as Mid­dle­town got solid re­lief pitch­ing from Rob­bie Houck and along with good de­fense to help se­cure the win.

“Mid­dle­town pre­sented a chal­lenge for us and made us throw some­thing be­sides fast­balls early in the count and we had trou­ble spot­ting our off­speed pitch. They could hit one through nine and there are no dead spots in the or­der,” Childers said. “I thought we were go­ing to drive in a bunch of runs, but it just didn’t hap­pen to­day.”

Houck got the win on the hill, pitch­ing the fi­nal 3 1/3 in­nings of the game, al­low­ing just one run on

two hits with two strike­outs.

“I just wanted to come out and throw strikes. I knew my de­fense would make plays be­hind me and they did that,” Houck said. “We’ve beat a lot of tough teams this year and it feels good to keep go­ing. Just more game now.”

Mid­dle­town (19-4), which eked out a 7-5 win in 12 in­nings over Howard County’s Mar­riotts Ridge in the 2A West Re­gion ti­tle game last week, ad­vances to Satur­day’s state cham­pi­onship game at Rip­ken Sta­dium in Aberdeen.

“When the game was tied and we put three runs back up in that in­ning that was a big deal,” said Mid­dle­town head coach Andy Baker, whose team out­hit La Plata 8-4 in the game. “Our pitch­ing and de­fense was solid and it feels good to beat a qual­ity pro­gram like La Plata.”

La Plata sopho­more starter Dean Kirby got into some trou­ble in the bot­tom of the sec­ond as four of seven bat­ters for Mid­dle­town reached base.

Af­ter a one-out sin­gle to left by se­nior Con­nor Stevens, ju­nior Ryan Woelk­ers (2 hits) drove in Stevens on a dou­ble to right field for the first run of the game. Fol­low­ing a Nick Mad­den walk, se­nior An­drew Wen­ner dou­bled Woelk­ers home to push the lead to two runs. Se­nior Ja­cob House then col­lected an RBI ground­out to score Mad­den, mak­ing the game 3-0.

Kirby lasted two in­nings for La Plata, giv­ing up three runs four hits with one strike­out. Ju­nior Jar­rod Sch­mitz came on in the bot­tom of the third.

Af­ter keep­ing La Plata off hit­less for the first three in­nings, Mid­dle­town starter Luke Pryor quickly got into trou­ble in the top of the fourth as six of the nine bat­ters he faced reached base on two hits, three walks and a hit bat­ter.

Se­nior Quinn Krahling led off the fourth with a dou­ble to right for the La Plata’s first hit of the game. Fresh­man Ryan Calvert was hit by a pitch on the next-at bat. Two bat­ters later with one out, Matt Sch­noor walked to load the bases.

Ju­nior Nick Steury then sin­gled in Krahling for the War­riors’ first run of the game. Ju­nior Pey­tyn Gray’s RBI walk brought Calvert home to cut the lead to 3-2. With two outs, se­nior lead­off bat­ter Brett Pilk­er­ton walked in cour­tesy run­ner Chris­tian El­der to tie the game at 3.

Baker im­me­di­ately came out on the mound to hand the pitch­ing du­ties over to Houck. Pryor lasted 3 2/3 in­nings, al­low­ing three runs on two hits with four strike­outs and five walks.

In the bot­tom of the fourth, with run­ners on first and sec­ond and one out, House’s sin­gle to cen­ter scored Woelk­ers, his sec­ond run of the game, to put the Knights up 4-3, and a field­ing er­ror by Pilk­er­ton in cen­ter field scored Wen­ner to push the lead back to two runs.

With two outs, Mid­dle­town took a 6-3 ad­van­tage when Houck’s sin­gle scored House.

Sch­mitz suf­fered the loss for the War­riors, throw­ing four in­nings, giv­ing up just one earned run on four hits with one strike­out and a walk.

Sch­noor led the top of the sixth for La Plata with a dou­ble to left as El­der came in again as the cour­tesy run­ner.

Steury fol­lowed things up with an RBI sin­gle, scor­ing El­der.

“I just wanted to come out and play big for the team, I’m just sad that we fell short,” Steury said. “Mid­dle­town pitched and played de­fense well, just an all-around good team.”


Play­ers and coaches from the La Plata base­ball team look on from the dugout on Tues­day in the Class 2A state semi­fi­nals at Har­ford Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Bel Air. The War­riors fell 6-4 to Mid­dle­town.


La Plata sopho­more starter Dean Kirby pitched just two in­nings in Tues­day’s 6-4 loss in the 2A state semi­fi­nals ver­sus Mid­dle­town. Kirby gave up three runs on four hits with one strike­out and a walk.

La Plata’s Quinn Krahling pumps his fist to the sky af­ter his lead­off dou­ble to start an even­tual three-run fourth in­ning in Tues­day’s Class 2A state semi­fi­nals ver­sus Mid­dle­town at Har­ford Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Bel Air. The War­riors fell 6-4 to the Knights.

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