WILMINGTON – St. Mark’s did not have its usual dominating baseball season, and the Spartans needed wins in their last two games just to earn a berth in the state tournament. Once there, however, the squad showed why it was not to be taken lightly, and on Wednesday night at Frawley Stadium, they completed their climb to the top with a 3-1 win over Caravel and another state title.
St. Mark’s extended its state record to 13 championships. This was their eighth in the last 11 years. To get there, the Spartans, who came in as the 13th seed, defeated fourth-ranked Archmere, 12th-seeded Appoquinimink, top-ranked St. Elizabeth and No. 2 Caravel.
The Spartans put up a picket fence in the first three innings, scoring on a groundout in the first, a balk in the second, and an error in the third. That was offset by Caravel’s lone run, which scored on a groundout in the second. As the game moved into the later innings, defense was the name of the game for St. Mark’s, which finished the season 15-7.
Caravel (17-5) put runners on base in each of the final four innings, but in every case the Spartans were able to turn a double play to erase the threat. Starting pitcher Matt Frost relied on his middle infielders – second baseman Brad Nowell and shortstop Dominic DiSabatino – to get the job done in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Spartans coach Matt Smith turned to Billy Phillips in the seventh after the Buccaneers’ first two hitters singled, and the sensational sophomore delivered. Phillips induced the first batter to ground to Nowell, who started the 4-6-3 double play. With a runner at third base, the next batter, Hunter Ellis, grounded to first base, and the celebration began.