La Plata Post 82 claims state Le­gion base­ball ti­tle

La Plata Post 82 wins first state Le­gion crown

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

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.”

SUBMITTED PHOTO

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.

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