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The Imprint

LTown News

The Imprint

LTown News

The Imprint

After 37 Years Your Baseball Raiders are State Champions

Shawn Knott (left) was a outfielder and pitcher on the 87 championship team and Daniel Knott (right) is his son on the 24 championship team.

Picture cred via: Shawn Knott Facebook
Shawn Knott (left) was a outfielder and pitcher on the 87′ championship team and Daniel Knott (right) is his son on the 24′ championship team. Picture cred via: Shawn Knott Facebook

Last Friday, the Leonardtown Raiders Varsity Baseball team competed on the biggest stage, the Maryland public high school baseball class 4A State Championship, hosted at Regency Furniture Stadium. Head Coach Austin Guy describes the season as a “roller coaster ride”, just riding the ups, and the downs, but there was no higher point than being crowned Maryland state champions of the 4A class.


           After finishing the regular season with a record of 9-8, the Raiders would have to overcome doubters and pull off some “upsets” if they wanted to make a playoff run. As a player, you could really feel the energy shift when the season was on the line. To start the playoff run, the Raiders collected a big 17-0 win over Suitland HS, but things wouldn’t be so easy for the rest of the postseason. 


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Moving on, in the Regional semi-finals the Raiders pulled off what was widely considered a massive upset. In March, very early in the season, Leonardtown baseball matched up against Broadneck in a scrimmage game at Blandair field, a game that Broadneck would win 13-0. Things would be very different in “round two” of this matchup, as the Raiders would go up early, and eventually win 7-5 in a dramatic finish. 


The Regional Finals would come shortly after, and because of seeding, the Raiders would match up against North Point HS at Leonardtown. After an early 3-run homerun from North Point, the Raiders would once again push through to make a comeback and give themselves a few runs of cushion, demonstrating the grit and will-to-win of a special team. After 7 innings, the Raiders would find themselves Region champs, and have a bid to the state playoffs, completing an 11-7 win over the North Point Eagles. 


Now, for all of the players, and much of the coaching staff, the rest of the playoffs would be uncharted territory; it had been awhile since the Leonardtown Baseball team competed in the state tournament. In the first round, the Raiders took on Charles H. Flowers High School, which was a favorable matchup. The Raiders took care of business, putting up a staggering 19 runs in a 19-4 win to advance to the state semi finals.


On May 21st, the Raiders would travel up to Shirley Povich field to face off against a well coached Urbana team. The Urbana Hawks had made it all the way to the state championship last year, and this was no easy matchup. In a game that came down to the wire, the Raiders once again came out victorious with a 3-2 win, thanks to a 7th Inning RBI Double by Sophomore Troy Smith. 


This part of the journey seems like it came straight out of a movie. The last time Leonardtown brought home a state championship was in 1987. A player on the team named Shawn Knott pitched and played center field for the Raiders in that season, and he played a key piece in bringing home that title. 37 years later, his son, Daniel, would be in a similar position. Competing for a state title after playing an important role in leading the team as a pitcher and infielder.  


This was it, Friday, May 24th, the state championship was hosted at Regency Furniture Stadium. The Raiders would face a strong Walt Whitman HS team, with a roster of multiple athletes committed to play college baseball. As a player, there was always a belief, and when the team held one final meeting after practice on Thursday the 23rd, the energy in the room reflected the will to win, and the confidence to play loose. Led by an incredible pitching performance by senior Will Buckler, the Raiders edged out the Vikings 2-0 in a dramatic win. A state championship for the seniors, Matthew Guy, Hunter Lee, Will Buckler and Nolan Layman is an achievement they, and the rest of the team, will never forget. In closing, and in the words of Head Coach Austing Guy: “You guys [the team] will all go on to do different things in your life, but this is something that you will forever be connected by, play selfless, and play relentless”.

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