Lo­cal play­ers fin­ish up sea­son in Rip­ken league

La Plata grad­u­ate Calvert on the cham­pion Big Train ros­ter

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

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.

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