MILLTOWN — Seven innings was not enough for Smyrna and Saint Mark’s on the baseball diamond on April 24. The Eagles tied the game in the seventh, but it would take three more innings before the Spartans scratched out a 2-1 walkoff win.
The Spartans scored in the bottom of the first on a groundout, and starting pitcher Garrett Quinn made the run hold up through his six innings. Smyrna plated the tying run in the seventh, however.
Shawn Mannering singled to center field to open the frame. A walk and hit batsman loaded the bases. Spartans hurler Christian Colmery retired the next two batters on strikes, but Connor Strauss worked a run-scoring walk. Colmery prevented further damage with another strikeout.
Both teams had baserunners in the extra innings. The first two Eagles reached base in the ninth, as Jacob Macey walked and Dalton Leager bunted for a single. But Steven Mann, who came in to pitch for the Spartans in the eighth, struck out a batter on a third-strike foul bunt, a popup and another strikeout.
The Spartans took their first good shot in the bottom of the ninth. Ryan Farina and Tyler Satterfield drew walks with one out. But Mason Drummond, who entered the game to pitch for Smyrna in the seventh, got out of trouble.
As close as Smyrna came to scoring in the ninth, they got even closer in the 10th. Drummond flew out to the warning track in left to begin the frame, but the next three batters got on with two walks and an infield single. A missed safety squeeze, however, led to a rundown and an out, and Mann proceeded to strike out the batter as the Spartans escaped once more.
That set up the walkoff. Ben Anderson ripped a double down the left field line, his second two-bagger of the game. Courtesy runner Max O’Neal advanced to third on Reid Dalton’s sacrifice bunt, and he scored on Michael Clarke’s sharply hit single that got through the drawn-in infield. Clarke’s teammates doused him with water and celebrated in shallow right field as O’Neal crossed the plate.
Three Saint Mark’s pitchers held the Eagles to just two hits. Mann picked up the win in relief. The Spartans improved to 12-0 and begin a most challenging week against Delaware Military on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Newark National Little League.
The Eagles (5-7) will travel to Cape Henlopen on Tuesday at 4:15 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.