Local players finish up season in Ripken league
La Plata graduate Calvert on the champion Big Train roster
Among the handful of Southern Maryland Athletic Conference products who played this summer in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, La Plata High School graduate Alex Calvert eventually garnered bragging rights of sorts as part of the league champion Bethesda Big Train squad.
On Sunday afternoon in the third game of their championship series with the Baltimore Redbirds, the Big Train prevailed, 4-2, to earn their second straight league title.
Bethesda went 31-9 during the regular season to capture the South Division title by three games over the Alexandria Aces, while Baltimore (26-14) emerged as the North Division champion as the only team with a winning record.
In limited outings this summer, Calvert went 1-0 with an 8.10 ERA in 3 1/3 innings of work. He allowed three earned runs on four hits and one walk and fanned five batters, but only one of the hits he allowed went for extra bases. Bethesda won the opening game of the championship series, 14-3, but Baltimore won the second, 15-4, to force the rubber match.
“I don’t know what to say,” Big Train manager Sal
Colangelo said of his team’s second straight league title. “I’m speechless. Tyler [Smith] tossed a gem. He couldn’t wait to get the baseball. He gave us everything he had. He made pitches when he needed to make pitches and gave us five shutout innings.”
Calvert did not make an appearance in the postseason, but Colangelo was pleased with what he saw from the former La Plata High standout and rising sophomore at Erskine College (S.C.) where he went 6-7 with 111 strikeouts and a 4.11 ERA in 85 innings on the mound last spring for the Flying Fleet.
“I thought he pitched well for us the last three times out,” Colangelo said. “He continued to get better with each outing and he got a win for us one night. He came in and did what we asked of him.”
The Herndon Braves went 16-24 and fourth in the loaded South Division won by the eventual champion Big Train, but a trio of local products got ample playing time for the squad.
Leonardtown High School graduate Bowen Plagge, a rising sophomore at Towson University, Huntingtown High School graduate Bradyn Vogtsberger, another rising sophomore at Towson, and Mechanicsville native Kyle Benjamin, a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland Baltimore County who graduated from Bishop McNamara in Prince George’s County, got plenty of playing time for the Braves.
Benjamin batted .286 (16 for 56) with one home run, nine runs scored and six RBIs, while Plagge hit .235 (19 for 81) with three doubles, 10 runs scored and one RBI. Vogtsberger went 2-0 on the mound with a 4.50 ERA, fanning 14 batters and walking nine in 16 innings of work in 11 appearances. Plagge (00) had a 4.00 ERA with 12 walks and eight strikeouts in nine innings on the mound in six appearances.
“I thought it was a great experience,” Plagge said of his summer with the Braves. “I really liked being part of this team. I changed my hitting approach a little the second half of the season and I thought I did much better. I had a chance to pitch a little bit. Now I am really looking forward to my sophomore season at Towson.”
Cam Remalia, a rising sophomore at Coastal Carolina University after graduating from St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., got a taste of double duty this summer, playing for the Gaithersburg Giants in the Cal Ripken league and for Bumpy Oak in the Coors Charles-St. Mary’s Baseball League.
With the Giants, who went 19-21 and finished in second place in the North Division, Remalia batted .255 (13 for 51) with two doubles and two homers, driving in 11 runs and scoring 11 more.
Coaches and players of the Bethesda Big Train celebrate their victory over the Baltimore Red Birds in the third game of the Cal Ripken Collegiate League championship series on Sunday evening at Shirley Povich Stadium in Montgomery County. La Plata High School graduate Alex Calvert was a member of the Big Train this summer.