Cal Ripken league season continues for local graduates
Calvert, Remalia on teams near top of divisions
A handful of Southern Maryland residents are currently competing in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League and a trio of them are on the roster for the same team.
Leonardtown High School graduate Bowen Plagge, a rising sophomore at Towson University, Huntingtown High School graduate and Towson rising sophomore Braydyn Vogtsberger and Mechanicsville native Kyle Benjamin, a graduate of Bishop McNamara in Prince George’s County and a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, are on the roster for the Herndon Braves (12-14), currently nine games back of the front-running Alexandria Aces in the league’s South Division.
On Monday evening in the Braves’ 11-1 loss to host Silver Spring/ Takoma Thunderbolts at Montgomery Blair High School in Wheaton, Plagge, who had pitched three innings one night earlier in a relief role against the Aces, went 1 for 3 as the designated hitter. Vogtsberger pitched two-thirds of an inning, but was touched for four earned runs on five hits, while Benjamin handled the duties as the first base coach on Monday.
“Normally I play right field, but I pitched last night so they just had me DH,” said Plagge, who is now batting .241 (13 for 54) with one double and one run batted in. Plagge was one of only four Braves to get a hit on Monday in the lopsided setback. “I’ve been working on a new swing that’s more along the same lines of how Josh Johnson swings now. I used to be a lot more about the hands, but now I’ve been more into coming through with my hips and going the opposite way.”
Plagge’s recent new batting approach paid off in a small way on Monday. After he struck out looking at a 3-ball, 2-strike pitch in his first at-bat and then flew out to right in his second, Plagge had the Braves’ lone hit in the top of the seventh when he delivered an opposite field single to right. Plagge advanced to second on a grounder but was stranded there when Conner Hall flew out to center.
“I’ve been taking a lot more relaxed approach up there,” said Plagge, who has also appeared in four games on the mound, allowing one earned run in six innings of work (1.50 ERA) while walking eight batters and fanning three others. “My coaches at Towson want me to be able to drive the ball to the opposite field, so that’s what I’ve been working on. I’m not up there just trying to pull everything anymore. I’m waiting for a pitch away that I can drive to right field. It’s been working out for me this summer.”
While Plagge had some success at the plate on Monday, Vogtsberger struggled in his first appearance in two weeks.
Vogstberger (1-0) came into the game with one out in the bottom of the sixth and runners on first and third and the Braves already trailing, 3-1, and retired Brodie Leftridge — who belted a titanic home run into the adjacent fire department parking lot beyond left field in the third inning — on a fly ball to left for the second out.
But Vogstberger could not escape trouble. He promptly hit Tommy Gardner with a pitch that loaded the bases then surrendered a two-run double to right-center by Jimmy Cain that made it 5-1. Vogtsberger got ahead of Garrett Stonehouse quickly, but after he fouled off two straight pitches with two strikes, Stonehouse delivered a two-run single to left that extended the T-Bolts lead to 7-1. Vogtsberger then allowed consecutive singles to Carl Cobert, Cooper Williams and Carson Klepzig, the late two of which each produced a run, before the former Huntingtown ace fanned pinch-hitter Michael Fitzsimmons looking to end the inning.
Vogtsberger allowed both inherited runners to score and then allowed four more runs of his own. He had picked up his lone win on June 14 in a relief appearance when the Braves defeated the Baltimore Dodgers 6-5.
Benjamin is hitting .302 (13 for 43) with one home run, eight runs scored and six RBIs.
Alex Calvert, a La Plata High School graduate who attends Erskine College (S.C.), has made one appearance for the Bethesda Big Train (216), currently in second place behind the Aces in the South Division. Calvert allowed two runs on two walks in one-third of an inning for a 54.00 ERA.
Cam Remalia, a rising sophomore at Coastal Carolina University after graduating from St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., who also plays for Bumpy Oak in the Coors Charles-St. Mary’s Baseball League during the summer, has appeared in 12 games with the Gaithersburg Giants (14-12), who are one game out of first place in the North Division behind the Baltimore Redbirds (15-11).
Remalia is batting .229 (8 for 35) with two doubles, two homers, six RBIs and nine runs scored. He has also appeared in two games for the Giants on the mound, walking four batters and fanning three while yet to allow a run in three innings of work.