WILMINGTON – Conrad smacked 14 hits and scored in each of the last five innings to defeat Saint Mark’s, 10-4, in the DIAA baseball semifinal on June 1 at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington. The fourth-seeded Red Wolves, who fell to the top-seeded Spartans during the regular season, will play No. 2 Delaware Military Academy at Frawley on Saturday at 8 p.m. for the title.
The Red Wolves had runners on base all day, loading them in the second but not scoring. The Spartans had a chance to open up a lead in their half of the first, loading the bases on walks, but Conrad rightfielder Pat Blanch likely saved three runs with a diving catch of a James Baffone fly ball to end the threat.
Saint Mark’s put the offense to work again in the second against Red Wolves starter Riley DeLuca, and this time they cashed in. John Klepacki led off with a walk, and Dillon Thomas and Todd Gilardi loaded the bases again. Tyler Mosier brought home one run with a sacrifice fly, and Garrett Quinn reloaded the bases with a single. Another sac fly, this one off the bat of Zach Frame, made it 2-0. With runners at the corners, Quinn took off for second and got caught in a rundown, and Gilardi scored before Quinn was tagged out.
Saint Mark’s would score just once more until the seventh, and in the interim, the Red Wolves’ bats came alive. Conrad answered the Spartans’ outburst immediately in the top of the third. Two walks and a single loaded the bases with one out. Spartans starter Brad Marks got the second out on a strikeout, but Elijah Myers singled to right to score Seth Strecker and Solomon Abdullah. Next, Dylan Pirrung tied the game with a single to left. Myers and Pirrung both scored on a double to right field by Kaden Netta.
Conrad added a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth. Saint Mark’s loaded the bases once more in the fifth with one out. Thomas moved everyone up 90 feet with a run-scoring single, but Conrad third baseman Netta started an inning-ending 5-3 double play with a nice play on a Gilardi grounder.
Speaking of loaded bases, Conrad did that in the sixth. Netta scored Abdullah with a two-out single. Spartans rightfielder Frame cut down another run at the plate to end the inning.
Facing a six-run deficit entering the last of the seventh, the Spartans responded. Baffone walked, and Klepacki followed with an opposite-field home run to the corner in left. Blanch came in to pitch for the Red Wolves, and he retired the first two batters he faced. A walk to Mosier and two consecutive singles, the second by Frame, scored Mosier. A fielder’s choice, however, resulted in an out at third base, bringing the Spartans’ season to an end.
Myers had four hits, knocked in two and scored two. Abdullah, Netta and A.J. Shute also had multiple hits for the Red Wolves. Shute earned the win in relief. Conrad improved to 17-4.
For the Spartans, Quinn (two singles and a walk), Frame (two walks and a single), and Klepacki (two walks and a home run) are reached base three times, and five others were on base twice. Klepacki scored twice and drove in a pair. Saint Mark’s ended the season 18-3.
All photos by Mike Lang.