ABERDEEN, Md. — La Plata pitcher Ryan Calvert turned toward Ripken Stadium’s outfield from the mound, pumped his fists and let out one final yell.
Calvert had just spearheaded La Plata’s 4-2 win over Middletown in the Maryland 2A baseball championship. The junior was locked in all game, but his attention shifted after walking off the mound.
“Don’t get killed in the dogpile,” Calvert thought.
“I got hit in the head a few times.” he later said. “But it was worth it.”
Calvert earned his spot at the bottom of that dogpile. He led the Warriors on the mound and at the plate Saturday afternoon, propelling La Plata to its first state championship since 2016 and third in program history.
“Honestly, that wasn’t one of his best outings, but he’s still great,” eighth-year La Plata coach John Childers said. “Once he got that lead, he was a pit bull. He pitched better in the sixth and seventh innings.”
A year ago, La Plata (20-5) fell to Century in the state championship with an inexperienced team that committed costly errors. Players said they were more composed Saturday, having experienced the stage last season.
The Warriors entered their game against Frederick County’s Middletown (18-7) having not allowed a run in the postseason, but they committed a miscue in the fifth as the Knights scored two runs.
Then, with two outs in the bottom of the inning, Calvert knocked a two-run double that tied the score.
Senior Austin Brown then drove in a run with a single before infielder Zach Harris provided the Warriors a two-run edge with an RBI double.
Calvert, who pitched a complete game, took control the final two innings with his fastball and cutter.
“We were a little worried,” Calvert said, “and then we got a couple kids on base and all of that went away.”
Calvert played for Childers on La Plata’s Post 82 American Legion team before high school and has started for La Plata since his freshman year. The right-hander finished this season 8-1 and helped the Warriors overcome a slow start to end the year on a 12-game winning streak.
Calvert will return next year, with hopes of making the trip back to Ripken Stadium.
“Ryan Calvert showed up and balled out,” Harris said. “He’s come out to play every single game he’s pitched in. That’s a pretty good way to go out.”