HAMPTON, Va. – The Castleton baseball team came away with a pair of one-run victories over Apprentice on Friday afternoon, defeating the Builders 3-2 in the opener and 5-4 in the nightcap at War Memorial Stadium. With the wins, Castleton improved to 9-3 on the season, while Apprentice fell to 18-14.
Steven Jurkiewicz was strong on the mound for Castleton, working out of jams throughout the opening contest. The senior allowed two earned runs while striking out three over 6.0 innings pitched to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Apprentice struck first with a run on two hits in the bottom of the first. Jake Countiss singled to left field before advancing to third on a double by Robbie Watkins. Cody Hendrickson followed with an RBI-groundout to give the Builders an early 1-0 lead.
Castleton took advantage of two defensive miscues to tie the game in the top of the third. Dylan Bailey reached on a fielding error by the third baseman and advanced to third one batter later after Pat Mumford reached on a miscue. With runners on the corners, the double steal prevailed as Mumford took second and Bailey raced home to draw the score even at 1-1.
The Spartans took the lead for good with their next at-bats. Zach Bahan led off the top of the fourth with a single through the left side and later scored on an RBI-triple to center by Mitchell Caron. Bailey followed with a sacrifice bunt to score Caron and give the Spartans a 3-1 lead.
Apprentice chipped away with a run in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Countiss, but Jurkiewicz escaped with no further damage as an inning-ending strikeout kept the game 3-2 in favor of the Spartans. Jurkiewicz worked out of another jam in the sixth after stranding the tying run on second with a flyout and a groundout to preserve the one-run lead.
Scott Michaels closed the game out with a perfect seventh inning for his second save of the season as the Spartans came away with the 3-2 victory.
Caron and Bailey each had a hit with an RBI and a run scored, while Bahan went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Luke Salerno pitched his way to victory in the nightcap, improving to 2-0 on the mound after allowing two earned runs on four hits with five strikeouts over 6.0 innings.
Castleton jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the top of the first. Deagan Poland led the game off with a single to right field and later stole second. After advancing to third on a throwing error, Davis Mikell got the Spartans on the board with a sacrifice fly to left field. Jonathan Lindau restarted the inning with a two-out single to left field. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, Lindau stole third and then scored after the catcher's ensuing throw down sailed past the third baseman.
After each team traded runs in the third inning, Castleton plated two more in the top of the sixth to take a 5-1 lead. Nick Patierne walked to start the inning and Mumford followed with an infield single. After Patierne was erased on a fielder's choice by Poland, Dillon Benham laced an RBI-single into center field. Poland advanced to third on the base hit and scored on a wild pitch one batter later.
Apprentice closed the gap to 5-2 on a sacrifice fly by Mike Brumfield in the sixth, before putting the winning run on base in the seventh. After a strikeout began the seventh, the Builders loaded the bases with two singles and a hit-by-pitch. Cody Hendrickson followed with an RBI-single to right field to make the score 5-3, before a fielder's choice made it a one-run game. With the tying run at third and the winning run at first, Michaels came away with a pivotal strikeout to end the game, 5-4.
Michaels allowed two runs on three hits in the seventh, but picked up two key strikeouts to earn his second save of the day and third of the season. Poland led the offense with a 2-for-4 effort and two runs scored, while Mumford added two hits and a run scored. Mikell, Benham, and Patierne each added an RBI in the win.
Castleton is scheduled to make its long-awaited return home on Tuesday, when it is slated to host Norwich in a non-conference matchup at Spartan Field at 4 p.m.