La Plata Le­gion baseball wins in ex­tra in­nings

Calvert’s eighth-in­ning hit gives La Plata Le­gion win over St. Mary’s

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

To say Ryan Calvert was due for a hit was a huge un­der­state­ment, but when he did get one it proved to be the dif­fer­ence as his two-run sin­gle helped vis­it­ing La Plata Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 182 come from be­hind and de­feat St. Mary’s Post Ridge Post 255 5-3 in eight in­nings on Wed­nes­day night at Chan­cel­lor’s Run Re­gional Park in Great Mills.

La Plata had earned a 9-4 win over St. Mary’s last week and went 1-11 in a 17-Un­der tour­na­ment held a few weeks ago at Vir­ginia Mil­i­tary In­sti­tute and James Madi­son Univer­sity.

“It was a great game all the way around,” La Plata first-year head coach Kevin Har­ris said. “Like I told [my play­ers], ‘We ripped the ball all night,’ but their de­fense was out­stand­ing. They made sev­eral nice plays and we couldn’t get the ball to fall in.”

With one out in the eighth, La Plata (3-1-1, 2-0 Frank Ri­ley League) loaded the bases on base hits by ris­ing sopho­mores Zachary Har­ris and Pa­trick Estevez and ris­ing fresh­man Dean Kirby — “That’s where our team lies,” Kevin Har­ris said, “in our youth” — and Calvert cashed two of them on his clutch hit.

“I needed to not swing at any off-speed stuff and wait for a fast­ball I liked and I did get one I liked and hit it,” said Calvert, a ris­ing sopho­more at La Plata High School. “It was just good to get a hit again. I haven’t had a hit in a lit­tle bit, so it was good.”

Calvert’s night at the plate to that point was a frus­trat­ing one to that point, but he more than made up for it when he lashed a sin­gle to plate two runs.

The hit was some vin­di­ca­tion as Calvert was hit­less in his pre­vi­ous four at-bats. He should have had at least two sin­gles, but a line drive to left field in the first was caught by a slid­ing St. Mary’s left fielder Chris Reed and a hard shot up the mid­dle in the sixth was knocked down by St. Mary’s sec­ond base­man An­drew Dameron, who scram­bled to his feet and whipped the throw to first.

“I just needed to find a hole,” Calvert said. “I was hit­ting it right to them and they were mak­ing some good plays.”

“He al­ways hits that ball hard,” Har­ris said. “That’s why he’s in that [No.] 3 spot.”

St. Mary’s threat­ened in the bot­tom of the eighth when Kenny Rick­ett sin­gled and Zack Stan­ford sin­gled to put the ty­ing run at first, but pinch-hit­ter Henry Muller went down swing­ing to end the game.

“I’m not frus­trated, and I don’t think the kids are frus­trated,” said St Mary’s head coach Don DeGraves, now in his 27th sea­son. “I think I view it, and they view it, as we’re only a cou­ple games in. This is by far one of the best games we’ve played, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons. I think it was just a good ball­game, I re­ally do.”

Calvert wouldn’t even have had a shot at a well-de­served hit had it not been for team­mate Pey­ton My­ers, whose two-out, pinch-hit RBI dou­ble to right in the top of the sev­enth forced ex­tra in­nings. But­ler sin­gled with one out in the in­ning and scored on My­ers’ smash to right.

“That was huge,” Kevin Har­ris said. “That’s what got us back in the game and tied us up and then we came right back in and picked up right after­ward.”

St. Mary’s had grabbed the lead a half-in­ning ear­lier when Stan­ford lashed a two-out run-scor­ing sin­gle to score Dameron, who had led off the in­ning and reached on an er­ror.

“An­drew made some out­stand­ing plays,” DeGraves said of Dameron, who had two hits, reached base four times and scored a run. “I think that he has quiet lead­er­ship abil­i­ties. He leads by ex­am­ple and his per­for­mance lit­er­ally in every game is top [notch].”

St. Mary’s (0-3, 0-3) opened the scor­ing in the bot­tom of the first when lead­off hit­ter Con­nor Cox sin­gled, ad­vanced to sec­ond on a passed ball, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Dameron’s two-out chop­per up the mid­dle.

La Plata came right back and an­swered with two runs of its own in the sec­ond when the first five bat­ters all reached safely. Seth Mor­ri­son’s sin­gle plated the first run and Zachary Har­ris’ bases-loaded walk scored the sec­ond run.

But St. Mary’s added a run in the third when Cox reached on a fielder’s choice and later scored on an er­ror. Cox sin­gled, dou­bled, reached base three times and scored twice.

La Plata starter Dy­lan Bell sur­ren­dered three runs on eight hits and struck out four in 6 2/3 in­nings. He also walked one.

“I just trusted my team­mates and my catcher and just threw pitches I could do,” said Bell, a ris­ing se­nior at St. Charles High School. “I was try­ing to go out­side with fast­balls and get ahead early [in the count] and then go off-speed af­ter.”

“He’s one of our pri­mary pitch­ers and he did great,” Kevin Har­ris said. “He comes out and he’s kind of like a work­horse pitcher. He doesn’t over­whelm any­body, but he just keeps pound­ing that strike zone. He got ground ball af­ter ground ball af­ter ground ball. We just didn’t make the plays to help him out but he gave us a chance to win the game. That’s what he’s all about.”

Har­ris picked up the win and Kirby, who struck out Muller — the only bat­ter he faced — was cred­ited with the save.

Stan­ford gave up three runs on 10 hits and fanned four in seven in­nings. He also walked four.

“He did a great job,” DeGraves said. “I think La Plata is a hit­ting club,” DeGraves said. “They make con­tact, and I think we’re go­ing to find that re­gard­less of who they play they’re go­ing to put the ball in play, so it’s a mat­ter of whether you’re go­ing to be in po­si­tion to stop it.”

Hunter Rooney threw the eighth and was tagged with the loss.

St. Mary’s was 2 for 10 with run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion and La Plata was 5 for 12. St. Mary’s left 10 base run­ners on and La Plata stranded 12.

“We’re look­ing good, we’re just start­ing [to come] to­gether,” said Har­ris, who had his older play­ers for the first time af­ter Se­nior Week and col­lege vis­its. “I love [what I’ve seen so far].”

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

La Plata’s Brant But­ler swings at a pitch Wed­nes­day night against St. Mary’s. La Plata won in eight in­nings on Wed­nes­day night, 5-3.

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

La Plata starter Dy­lan Bell al­lowed three runs on eight hits and struck out four in 6 2/3 in­nings of work. Bell picked up a no-de­ci­sion as the team won 5-3 in eight in­nings on Wed­nes­day night.

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