Reigning North Atlantic Conference Pitcher of the Year Sam Spencer anchors the Castleton baseball team’s strong returning pitching rotation including juniors Devin Hayes, Steven Jurkiewicz and Luke Salerno. The Spartans also added freshman Charles Stapleford who is 3-0 this season and has posted a 1.57 ERA in 23 innings pitched.
Both Stapleford and Spencer pitched in the second game of the two double headers Castleton hosted on Saturday and Sunday. Castleton swept all four games against the University of Maine-Farmington and both Stapleford and Spencer pitched a complete game to record their victories.
Spencer also pitched a complete game in the Spartans’ 2-1 loss against No. 4 Wisconsin-Whitewater in Auburndale, Florida late last month.
“Sam is pitching as well as he’s pitched and, in my opinion, he’s pitching the strongest out of all of our pitchers right now,” said Head Coach Ted Shipley.
When asked about Stapleford, Shipley reiterated that fact that he was a only a freshman and said it was “exciting.”
The catching position was a big question mark coming into this season after graduating captain Nate Swahn.
“Swahn was a big captain. He was very energetic, great at the plate, great defensively, but our catchers so far have done pretty well,” Spencer said.
Nick Patierne and Skylar LaFerriere have been splitting time behind the plate according to Shipley.
“The catching position overall is a brutal position and it’ll wear you down and both of those guys are capable of doing a good job,” he said.
Spencer said there isn’t much of a difference pitching to either player, although he did mention how he was more familiar with Patierne.
“My approach stays the same. I worry about one pitch at a time and what order in the lineup they are,” Spencer said.
Although returning an experienced pitching staff, the Spartans are young in the field positions.
“Our lineup is a little younger this year so it’s really important that we put runs on the board early that way we can come out on top,” said senior Nick Swim.
Swim also said that although they struggled in the field and at the plate earlier in the season, the team is tightening things up and putting up more runs.
But even with a strong pitching rotation it’s hard to win when runs aren’t being scored.
“As a pitcher if you’re pitching a game and your team’s not putting up runs you definitely feel it. You feel like every pitch matters,” Spencer said.
Shipley said with this much youth on a team it’s important to bring those young guys along with strong veteran leadership.
“The best thing that leaders can do on a team is lead by example,” Shipley said.
The Spartans look to continue their momentum at Colby-Sawyer on April 13 followed by a series of conference opponents to finish the season. The Spartans next home game is Saturday, April 23 at 11 a.m. against Husson.