La Plata Post 82 claims state Legion baseball title
La Plata Post 82 wins first state Legion crown
In the unscheduled break between the semifinals on Thursday and Sunday’s championship game of American Legion state tournament, La Plata Legion Post 82 opted to return home for two days rather than stay in Cumberland for the finale.
On Sunday afternoon, La Plata’s patience paid off in a big way as it upended defending champion Funkstown Post 11, 18-6, to claim the state title and advance to the American Legion Mid-Atlantic Tournament. On Sunday afternoon, La Plata won thanks to a perfect storm of pitching, defense and ample hitting.
“We really hit the ball really well,” La Plata head coach Dave Harris said. “The wait was pretty anxious because I probably changed the lineup four or five times in my head. But we stayed with the same lineup that we would have used on Friday. The bats were really, really strong during the whole tournament.”
La Plata (27-7-2) scored at least one run in every inning except the second and broke open the contest by scoring four runs in the third and four more in the fourth. Trevor Drummond went 4 for 4 with seven runs batted in, Patrick Estevez reached base safely five times and Brant Butler and Ryan Calvert each had two hits.
Butler, who hit for the cycle in Thursday’s victory over Cecil Post 15, was named the tournament’s top offensive player. Drummond, who tossed a complete game against Cecil, was named the tournament’s top pitcher. Calvert, a rising sophomore at La Plata High School, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Calvert started Sunday’s game, but Dylan Bell collected the win after tossing six shutout innings in relief.
La Plata, which garnered its first state Legion title, will next head to
Purcellville, Va., for the regional tournament beginning today, a double-elimination event that will include teams from Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. They will play Wesleyville Post 571 (Pa.) at 11:30 a.m. The regional tournament winner will advance to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C.
“We had a long weekend, so we won’t be practicing before we leave,” Harris said. “We’re taking 14 players and three coaches. We’re all looking forward to going down there. We played really well up in Cumberland. Our bats really came to life out there. It should be a fun trip to Virginia. These kids just keep getting better with each game.”
La Plata opened the tournament by edging Talbot Post 70, 6-5, behind a solid effort
from Calvert, who tossed five scoreless innings and reliever Dean Kirby entered with two on and two out in the ninth and earned the save. Drummond went 2 for 4 and drove in two runs that and Calvert helped his own cause with a two-run single.
“Ryan pitched extremely well for us in the opening game,” Harris said. “He tossed five scoreless and then things got a little exciting in the last two innings after we took him out.
But Dean Kirby came into the game and closed the door in a tough spot in the ninth. Trevor had a good game swinging the bat.”
One day later, La Plata made quick work of Cecil County with a 12-2, eight-inning victory. Drummond tossed a complete game, allowing just one earned run in eight innings of work and Butler hit for the cycle, belting a two-run home run in his last at-bat. Calvert, Drummond and Zach Harris
each had two hits for La Plata.
“The final score was really deceiving,” Harris said. “Cecil has a good team. We just broke it open in the fifth. Trevor had an outstanding outing, allowing just two runs and only one of them was earned. Brant Butler hit for the cycle. He needed a home run for the cycle going into his last at-bat and he hit a two-run shot to get it. We probably had 16, 17 hits that game.”
Players and coaches of the La Plata American Legion Post 82 baseball team proudly display the team trophy and their individual plaques after capturing the state American Legion Baseball title on Sunday afternoon in Cumberland, defeating the defending champion Funkstown Post 11, 18-6. The team opens play in the Mid-Atlantic Tournament today in Purcellville, Va.