you get momentum and it carries.”
La Plata had started the contest in fine fashion with a pair of runs in the top of the first. Brant Butler’s RBI single drove home Peyton Myers for the game’s first run while Nick Steury followed with a bases-loaded walk to push Trevor Drummond across with the second run.
Albemarle scored one in the inning’s bottom half, but La Plata scored four runs in each of the third and fourth innings to take command. In the third, Ryan Calvert drilled a two-run homer — his first of two on the game — to highlight the four-run outburst. In the fourth, La Plata tacked on four more despite only producing one base hit in the inning.
With the score 12-2 in La Plata’s favor to start the bottom of the fifth, Albemarle started to show some life, scoring five times to cut the deficit to 12-7. A run in the sixth sliced further into La Plata’s edge before La Plata answered with two runs in the seventh and four more in the top of the eighth to seemingly eliminate any drama.
Albemarle had other ideas, putting up the seven-spot in the eighth to pull within three runs. In the ninth, the home team mixed one single with three walks, a hit batter and one La Plata error to score three runs to knot the score. Timmy Stephan’s bases-loaded walk tied the game, bringing Jacob Haney across with the game’s 36th run.
After the teams combined to produce just one completely scoreless inning — the second — the entire game through nine innings, neither team was able to score again until Albemarle finally brought the marathon game to its conclusion in the bottom of the 13th. Jacob Grabeel did the honors, knocking a single down the left-field line to drive Ethan Murray home with the game’s winning run.
The stat sheet was understandably full for La Plata, with six players contributing more than one hit in the game. Butler was 5 for 8 with four runs scored, while Zach Harris was 4 for 7 with five RBIs. Drummond and Steury each had three hits, while Calvert was 2 for 8 with the two round-trippers and three runs driven in.
In all, the teams went down in order just once each in the game. La Plata left 21 on the bases, while Albemarle stranded 17.
It all stood in stark contrast to La Plata’s previous game on Friday morning, when Drummond locked in a pitchers’ duel with Ephrata’s Dillon Good. Drummond went eight innings, allowing just two runs on four hits. But Ephrata got just enough to pull out the 3-2 win. La Plata had the bases full with one away in the bottom of the ninth, but were never able to plate the tying run.
“The first game was an outstanding baseball game,” Dave Harris said. “You can’t ask for any more than the two pitchers. Trevor Drummond was outstanding on the mound, and likewise their pitcher. Both teams played clean baseball and we had every opportunity to finish. We just didn’t get it done at the end, which happens. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose.”
Despite the heartbreaking end, La Plata’s manager was excited about what his group accomplished. With much of the team playing together for the first time, the squad claimed the first state championship ever for the Post and went on to play against a collection of teams in the regional tournament that were primarily comprised of rosters that included a number of college players. La Plata, which capped its season with a 22-8-2 mark, did not have any.
“For us it was an outstanding experience both on and off the field,” Harris said. “I know the guys had a lot of fun. Even after our two one-run losses, all the guys were excited about getting a second chance next year. Getting to come back to try to defend our state championship and trying to make it even further than what we did this year...of course, we’ll always be trying to add a pitcher or two.”
Ryan Calvert is met at the plate by his La Plata Post 82 teammates after his two-run home run in the third inning of the team’s game against Albermarle (Va.) Post 74 on Friday at the American Legion Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament in Purcellville, Virginia. Calvert hit two home runs in the game, but La Plata eventually lost 19-18 in 13 innings.