- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Having coached Waldorf Little League teams in the postseason for 10 years, Dale Schnoor knows when he has a special mix of talent on his hand. The Waldorf Senior League Division baseball manager praises his current 13-16-year-old club as having no weaknesses among the 14 players on the roster.
“It’s the fastest team I’ve ever coached, the best defensive team I’ve ever coached and we hit a lot,” Schnoor said. “Top to bottom, everybody hits. Just a great team.”
Ask Calvert American Little League manager Dylan Kletter, whose club fell to Schnoor’s team in Tuesday’s District 7 championship by a 13-3 mercy-rule outcome in five innings, what makes the Waldorf outfit so difficult to contend with and the Calvert American frontman will tell you it’s all about response.
“They’re a responsive team. They do a very good job of responding,” Kletter said of Waldorf. “They have four very good pitchers. We knew they were deep in the bullpen.
“But the strongest characteristic that team has is responsiveness. When they get down, they come right back in the next inning. There is no delay. They do not get down at all, which is a scrappy trait that will take them very far.”
The repeat senior baseball district title advances Waldorf to the state tournament, slated for July 19-24. What’s especially nice for Waldorf is the team will remain at home for the state gathering, hosted by Robert D. Stethem Memorial Park in Waldorf just like the district tournament.
Waldorf never lost in the double-elimination district tournament, while Calvert American would have needed to beat the host team twice to win the district title.
“We never stop, never slowed down; just kept putting up runs,” said Waldorf catcher Joey Bryner, who finally got on base in the fifth after producing the hardest-hit balls of the game in the first and second that found the gloves of Calvert American fielders for hard-luck outs. “I knew we were going to [win the district title] after that [first inning], because I knew we weren’t going to stop.”
Waldorf fully supported Kletter’s claim of seemingly always having a response against his own team — and even the weather in Tuesday’s district final.
Calvert American jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, only to see the upper hand quickly dissipate in the bottom of the frame when Waldorf sent 12 batters to the plate and scored eight runs to take firm control of the game.
All but one player in Waldorf’s starting lineup crossed the plate in the opening inning alone.
Then, with an ominous storm and menacing dark clouds quickly approaching as the game was in its latter stages, producing heavy wind gusts that kicked up major amounts of dirt from the infield, another major response was produced by Waldorf.
Waldorf reserve Tyler Wood sent a high fly ball to right field with runners on first and second and two down in the bottom of the fifth. Instead of being a routine flyout, the wind kept pushing the ball deeper and deeper and just beyond the outstretched glove of Calvert America right fielder Bryce Callis, resulting in a game-ending, two-run double to enact the 10-run mercy rule.
Had Wood not come through in that situation, the game would have most likely been delayed by the approaching storm and could have resulted in a long night involved for both teams, District 7 administrators and fans.
Instead, Waldorf’s response allowed it to end the game just in the nick of time. And the District 7 champion even had enough time for a quick postgame celebration and banner presentation, complete with photos, amidst all the threatening conditions.
“It kind of scared me because [the sky] got real black,” Bryner said, initially feeling as if the win was going to be delayed by weather. “Tyler came through clutch at the end with the two-run RBI to get the run rule.”
Starting pitcher Brandon Logan, Waldorf’s top arm on the mound, went the distance to get the victory with three runs allowed, two of them earned, on five hits with four strikeouts and four walks.
Offense in bunches for Waldorf
Logan received a plethora of support. He helped himself by reaching twice as Waldorf’s leadoff hitter, resulting in two scores and an RBI.
But it was the bottom half of Waldorf’s lineup that was especially productive. The hitters in the Nos. 5-9 spots of the lineup were responsible for 10 of Waldorf’s 15 hits while scoring 10 runs and boasting 8 RBIs.
Cody Bottorf, Nick Russell and Logan Parker led Waldorf by scoring twice each.
Parker Deatley and Tommy Willey, batting eighth and ninth in the Waldorf lineup respectively, combined to reach base in all six of their at-bats.
Deatley was 2 for 2 with a walk, having a game-high three RBIs while scoring once himself. Willey had a clutch, back-breaking single that scored a pair of runs in the first to highlight his 2-for-3 display. He also scored in that opening frame.
“It was good. We just got the momentum going and stuck to it,” Deatley said of his team’s big opening inning. “[Calvert American] threw their ace the first time they faced us [in the tournament on Sunday] so we knew they were struggling with pitching coming into this game.
“It feels good to go to states.”
Waldorf has no shortage of confidence heading into the state tournament.
“Hopefully we’ll win it,” Willey said.
Waldorf defeated Calvert American, 7-2, Sunday during the district tournament. Calvert American threw its top pitcher in that contest and he was not available Tuesday due to Little League rules concerning pitch count.
Waldorf thus capitalized on Calvert American’s pitching woes from the start in the rematch, drawing four walks in the first. Two of those walks came with the bases loaded. A Calvert American error in the first also proved costly.
“I had a feeling we were going to come out [strong],” Schnoor said. “We had a day off yesterday. There was no pressure on them. We hit, we’re a hitting team.”
Calvert American also used up some arms Monday in the loser’s bracket final against St. Mary’s National. That game went down to the wire.
Leadoff batter Jared Thurber led Calvert American’s offense, going 2 for 3 with a run scored. He was the starting pitcher before moving to play third and shortstop.
Dustin Kletter reached base in all three of his at-bats for Calvert American, going 2 for 2 with a walk.
“A few timely hits when we had guys on second and third, and we’re right back in that ball game,” the Calvert American manager said.