With a win finally under their belt, the 1-8 Spartans are just looking to get on the field consistently — New England weather permitting of course.”We expect that once we can get out and play on a somewhat regular basis, we will begin to improve,” said head coach Ted Shipley. “By us playing once a week, like we basically have in the early part of this season, we have struggled to develop our comfort zone.”
Castleton looked comfortable enough in game one of its doubleheader against Coast Guard last Sunday as the Spartans strung together a seven-run fifth inning to claim its first victory of the season, 8-5.
Ahead 1-0 after four innings, Castleton catcher Mathew Pause led off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then the rally ensued. With bases loaded, left fielder Matt Eisenhuth walked to make it 2-0 and Zak Mayo followed with an RBI single to push the score to 3-0. Ben Schoeneberger and Pause capped the rally as Schoeneberger notched a two-run single and Pause brought home a run with a double for an 8-0 score.
The Bears responded in the sixth with a five-run inning as Eddie Kalankiewicz, Cameron Carroll and Eric Gerken all had RBI singles in the frame. Ed Sella made it 8-5 with a pinch hit sacrifice fly to center field, but that’s where Coast Guard’s rally ended.
Senior pitcher Seth Harrington closed the door in the ninth inning for his first save of the season allowing two hits while striking out one batter. Tyler Erickson picked up his first win of the season for the Spartans on the bump going six innings, yielding six hits, five earned runs, one walk and nine punchouts.
“For the most part we played pretty good in game one,” said Shipley. “[We] got a good pitching performance out of Tyler Erickson and we strung together some hits for the first time all season, so that was a plus.”
In game two tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth, the Bears used a leadoff walk from Kalankiewicz to steal a split with Castleton.
“The old leadoff walk came back to hurt us as that guy [Kalankiewicz] ended up scoring,” said Shipley. “We also helped them with an error to allow them to score two runs.”
After Kalankiewicz walked and advanced to second on a sacrifice groundout, Mike Salerno smacked a double to plate Kalankiewicz for the eventual game-winning run. Sella added an insurance run with an RBI single to make it 4-2.
Castleton threatened in the top of the seventh with the tying run at second base with two outs, but first baseman Joe Borowski ripped a comebacker to pitcher Tyler Vieira to end the game.
“If we can get to a point where we are playing regularly and everyone is healthy, this team can become a good one,” said Shipley after splitting with Coast Guard. “We have some big regional games this weekend with Worcester State and Johnson and Wales, hopefully the weather will cooperate because we need to play.”
The Spartans play the Lancers on Saturday, March 26 with game one at 12 p.m. and the Wildcats on Sunday, March 27 at noon.