La Plata cruises past St. Mary’s in Legion baseball
Win keyed by 8-run 2nd inning
On a day when both teams were asked to battle the elements, La Plata Post 82 squad had less trouble with its opposition than the oppressive heat and humidity as it rolled to a 13-1, five-inning victory over visiting St. Mary’s Ridge Post 255 on Wednesday evening in an American Legion baseball contest at La Plata High School.
La Plata (12-4-2 overall, 8-0 Frank Riley League) scored eight runs in the second and added five more in the third and pitchers Dylan Bell and Zach Harris limited St. Mary’s to one run over five innings. Bell made it through the first two innings unscathed, but after walking the first St. Mary’s batter in the third he departed on his own bequest after feeling dizzy from the heat.
“When we started this team, we wanted to build it around pitching,” said La Plata head coach Dave Harris, whose son, Zach garnered the win after tossing three innings of scoreless relief. “We probably have seven guys that can pitch and two of them weren’t even here tonight. Dylan has pitched very well for us this summer. He did not win a game [at St. Charles] last spring, but he’s 3-0 for me.”
St. Mary’s longtime head coach Don DeGraves used three pitchers to get through the contest and two of them actually threw well. But starting pitcher Hunter Rooney could not get through the second, allowing eight runs in that frame and he was chased when Ryan Calvert crushed Rooney firstpitch fastball over the fence in right field for a three-run homer that staked La Plata to an 8-0 lead.
La Plata’s Trevor Drummond led off the second with a single, then Nicholas Steury was hit by a pitch. La Plata shortstop Brett Pilkerton then laid down a sacrifice bunt that Rooney fielded cleanly but sailed past first base, enabling Drummond and Steury to come around and score and Pilkerton to reach second easily.
After Pilkerton was erased attempting to advance on a wild pitch, Seth Morrison and Bell both singled, then Patrick Estevez delivered a tworun triple to right-center field.
After Dean Kirby reached on an error that allowed Estevez to score, Peyton Myers worked Rooney for a walk, then Calvert greeted him by belting a three-run shot over the right-field fence.
“I was just looking for something good to hit,” Calvert said. “He tried to come inside on me with a fastball and left it up and out over the plate. Being part of this team has been fun. They’re some guys who I face in the spring, but it’s great having them as teammates in the summer.”
Staked to an 8-0 lead heading to the third, Bell could not get past the first batter. He walked Zach Stanford on four pitches and was hooked in favor of Harris, who walked the first St. Mary’s batter he faced and two others in three complete innings of work. Stanford scored St. Mary’s lone run on a throwing error and Gunther and Andrew Dameron had the only two hits for St. Mary’s in a losing cause.
La Plata added five unearned runs in the third, the first four charged to Gunther and the last one to Connor Cox, who started the game at shortstop. Harris led off the inning with a single, took second on a wild pitch and scored on an error by Cox at short.
After Calvert was hit by a pitch and Drummond reached on another error, Steury delivered a tworun single off Cox then later scored on another St. Mary’s miscue.
“I guess the heat just got to me,” said Bell, a rising senior at St. Charles High School who plans to attend the College of Southern Maryland. “I got through the first two innings OK, but then I really started to feel dizzy out there. Zach came in and did a great job. We scored a lot of runs and played good defense.”