Monday, May 8th
CASTLETON, Vt. -- The Castleton baseball team defeated New England College twice to earn its fourth-straight North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Championship Title on Monday afternoon at Spartan Field. The Spartans won the opening contest 9-3, before capturing the title with a 7-6 victory in game two.
Castleton (34-8) earns the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Regionals and will find out its destination on Sunday, May 14. New England College ends its season with 24-20 overall mark.
Castleton induced pressure early in the opening game, scoring two runs in each of the first two innings to open up a 4-0 lead. The Spartans worked four walks in the top of the first, with Matt Jackson's base on balls scoring the game's first run. One batter later, Dillon Benham raced home on a wild pitch to extend the Spartan lead to 2-0.
Castleton took advantage of a defensive miscue in the top of the second, as Poland walked and scored all the way from first after a fielding error allowed Dillon Benham to reach base. After Benham stole second, Bahan recorded the first hit for the Spartans with a double to right center field.
New England College nabbed a run back in the home half of the second, as Evan Delaney reached base via hit-by-pitch, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then scored from there on an RBI single up the middle by Garret Waldron.
Each team plated two runs in the fourth inning, with Castleton's pair coming on the strength of one hit and a defensive error. Pat Mumford led the frame off with a deep triple to center field and Poland worked a walk to put runners on the corners. Mumford then tagged up on a sacrifice fly to left field by Benham, where the throw home was off-target allowing Poland to advance to third. Poland scored one batter later on a wild pitch to give the Spartans a 6-1 lead.
The Pilgrims responded with a pair of runs of their own in the home half, taking advantage of two Spartan errors. Evan Delaney led off with a walk and advanced to second after Jeam Castillo reached on a fielding error at third base. Waldron worked a walk to load the bases, before Manuel Alejandro reached on a fielding error at second base to bring in Delaney. Aneury Lara followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Castillo to make it a 6-3 game.
After a scoreless fifth inning, Lindau provided the final runs of the game with one swing, as he lined a two-out three-run home run over the wall in left center to extend the Spartan lead to 9-3. Neither team was able to plate another run from there, as Castleton secured the opening game victory.
Castleton starting pitcher Mikell fanned two batters in the sixth and seventh innings to finish his day with 10 strikeouts over 7.0 innings pitched. He improved to 6-1 on the season with three runs (one earned) on four hits. Aaron Smith threw the final two scoreless innings in relief, allowing one hit with a strikeout.
Waldron and Alejandro each went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI to lead the Pilgrims offensively. Raymond Rosado struggled to find the strike zone, shouldering the loss on the mound with seven walks and six runs (four earned) in 3.1 innings. Joseph Pascucci was unable to stop the bleeding out of the bullpen, as he allowed three earned runs on five hits over 5.2 innings of relief.
Castleton got off to a hot start in the deciding game for the title, jumping out to an early lead with six runs over the first three innings. Davis Mikell turned to his bat to open the scoring, setting the tone with a solo home run to right field
After Aneury Lara singled to left field in the top of the third, Jameson Carey tied the game at 1-1 with an RBI double to right center.
The level game was brief, however, as Castleton sent 10 batters to the plate en route to a five-run bottom of the third. Pat Mumford led off with a bunt single, advanced to second on a throwing error by the pitcher, and scored on an RBI single by Zach Bahan. Dillon Benham and Mikell each worked walks to load the bases, before Josh Rylant delivered an RBI single to right field. Jonathan Lindau was hit by a pitch to score another run, before Dylan Bailey scored two more on a single to right field to give the Spartans a 6-1 lead.
New England College battled back to score four unanswered runs and make it a 6-5 game. After Jeam Castillo lifted a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth, Andrew Castano parked a three-run home run to left field to make it a one-run game in the top of the sixth.
The Spartans responded with a pivotal run in the home half of the sixth, as Bailey lined a double to right-center and scored on an RBI single by Deagan Poland. The Pilgrims tacked on a run in the top of the seventh, again making it a one-run game. Luis Atiles doubled to right center, scoring Conor Crouse, who earlier walked and advanced to second on a balk.
The back-and-forth scoring ended there, as Michael LaBeau pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth to preserve the 7-6 victory.
Bailey led the Spartan offense with three hits, two RBI, and a run scored. Mikell finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored an RBI. Jurkiewicz earned his sixth win of the season on the mound, striking out three while allowing five runs (four earned) over 6.0 innings. LaBeau allowed one run in the seventh, but settled down over the final two innings to earn the save.
Atiles led the Pilgrims offensively, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Carey took the loss on the mound, throwing all 8.0 innings and allowing seven runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts.
NAC Tournament All-Tournament Team:
Castleton - Jonathan Lindau - MVP
Castleton - Devin Hayes
Castleton - Davis Mikell
Castleton - Zach Bahan
NEC - Jameson Carey
NEC - Stanley Vargas
NEC - Evan Delaney
Husson - Ben Walls
Husson - Conor Maguire
Lyndon - Ryan Cordeiro
Lyndon - Andre Eason Jr.
Courtesy: NAC Sports Information
PO Box 4508