La Plata Legion baseball wins in extra innings
Calvert’s eighth-inning hit gives La Plata Legion win over St. Mary’s
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].”
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.
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.