ABERDEEN, Md. — Even with La Plata down three runs to Bel Air entering the sixth inning of Saturday’s Maryland 3A baseball state final, Alex Calvert never doubted that he and his teammates could muster a rally. The mettle of this Warriors squad had been proven four days earlier when it scored two late runs to reach its third title game since 2008.
But even as the Warriors chipped away at the deficit, there was one number, glowing red on the left field scoreboard at Ripken Stadium, that they ultimately couldn’t erase.
Six fielding errors dug an early hole for La Plata, eventually dooming the Warriors in a 3-2 loss to the Bobcats.
“Things just didn’t go our way,” said Calvert, who struck out six batters and recorded an RBI double. “We played our hearts out but I guess we were tense at first because we just couldn’t get things going defensively.”
Calvert came out strong on the mound by striking out four batters in the first two innings, but the Bobcats (20-5) were able to pull ahead in the second. Following a Matt Hoffman single to the outfield, a La Plata throw sailed over home plate, allowing Richard Rivera to put Bel Air ahead, 1-0. The Warriors would commit two more errors in the inning before Calvert struck out two and induced a groundout to end the threat.
The fifth inning played out in a similar manner for the Warriors. First, a fielding error gave John Bruck time to come home from third base. Another fielding error put a Bobcat runner on base before Rivera’s sacrifice fly pushed Bel Air’s lead to 3-0.
But just as they had done in Tuesday’s semifinal win, the Warriors battled back in the late innings. Calvert sparked the Warriors with an RBI double to right field that brought Zach Snell home. Following a Jake Lind base hit, Jake Williams knocked another single to left field to pull the Warriors within one run.
In the ensuing at-bat, Austin Mitchell belted a hard shot down the first-base line, but Bel Air’s Hoffman leaped for the catch before tagging first base for a double play that ended the inning and ultimately, the chances the Warriors (21-6) had at the state crown.
“We just couldn’t execute like we would have liked and some things didn’t bounce our way, but that’s baseball” La Plata Coach John Childers said. “What I’m focusing on is the heart that these kids played with and how they came together strong as a team at the end of this season.”