MILLTOWN – St. Mark’s scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning, and the Spartans’ pitching made sure that was enough in a 3-2 win over St. Elizabeth on March 28. The Spartans improved to 2-0 with the win.
St. Mark’s starting pitcher Matt Phillips retired the Vikings in order in the first, but he would not be as fortunate in the second. Chris Strickland earned a walk to open the inning, and Vikings freshman Jaden Dickerson followed with a two-run homer that just cleared the fence in left field. It was Dickerson’s first hit at the high school level, although he reached base four times in St. Elizabeth’s opener Tuesday against A.I. duPont.
The Spartans answered in their half of the frame against St. Elizabeth starter Hayden Trimarco, getting some help from the Vikings’ defense. With one out, Austin Warrington reached on a walk and took second on an errant pickoff attempt a few pitches later. Matt Sinko then grounded to shortstop Nate Thomas, who threw to third to get Warrington for the second out. Pinch runner Lance Ralsten took second on another errant pickoff, and he scored on Shane Lougheed’s double into the gap in right-center.
Lougheed stole third and came home when the throw sailed into left field. Dominic Catalano then reached on a bases on balls, took second on Seth Bialecki’s single and scored the Spartans’ third run on a pair of wild pitches.
St. Elizabeth had a chance to tie in the seventh against Spartans reliever Brian Gilardi, who took over for Phillips to start the fifth. Craig Small singled to start the inning, and he was sacrificed to second. Thomas walked, but a fly ball and a groundout later, St. Mark’s had secured the victory.
Offensive opportunities were limited for both teams. The Spartans’ Phillips allowed just one more hit and a walk before leaving, and Gilardi gave up just two singles and a pair of walks. The combined for nine strikeouts. For St. Elizabeth, Trimarco went four and a third, surrendering three hits and walking five. Thomas came in with the bases loaded with one out in the fifth, but the senior ended the threat with a strikeout and a groundout. Trimarco and Thomas struck out a total of eight Spartans.
Thomas reached base three times with two singles and a walk. The Vikings (1-1) will host Concord over the Easter break on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Canby Park.
Lougheed was on base three times for the Spartans, and he and Bialecki each had two hits. St. Mark’s travels to Archmere next Wednesday at 4 p.m., beginning a stretch of three games in four days.