MILLTOWN – The start of St. Mark’s baseball game against Wilmington Charter in the opening round of the DIAA state tournament went about as well as it could for the Spartans, as starting pitcher Christian Colmery retired the Force with three striketouts. The rest of the game would not be that easy, but St. Mark’s advanced to the second round with a 7-2 win on May 23.
Colmery gave his team a very welcome gift. He scattered four hits and allowed just the two runs while striking out eight. Nearly as important as the win, by throwing a 96-pitch complete game, he ensured that every other arm on the Spartans’ roster will be available to throw when the 13th seed travels to No. 4 Dover on Saturday afternoon.
The Spartans opened the scoring in the first inning without a hit. Ricky Gannett – more about him later – led off with a walk. He took second on a passed ball and third on a groundout before coming home on a wild pitch.
Charter tied the score in their half of the third. Eli Cartwright opened with a single to left and was sacrificed to second. He moved another 90 feet on a single to right, as a good play by rightfielder Matt Sinko kept Cartwright from scoring. Alex Zhu picked up the run batted in by singling to left, and the Force had runners on first and second with one out. But Colmery escaped further damage by inducing a fielder’s choice groundout, followed by a strikeout of Dylan Craig.
Mother Nature made her presence felt a few pitches into the home half of the third. The scattered showers that forced the postponement of two of the eight opening-round games and the suspension of a third reached the Pike Creek area, causing a delay of approximately 20 minutes. Force pitcher Daniel Kennan got Jaden Todd looking at strike three for the first out, but Gannett restored the Spartans’ lead with a home run to left-center field.
St. Mark’s was not done scoring in the inning. J.J. Psenicska singled, and Eric Ludman was hit by a pitch. Matt Phillips followed with a double to the fence in left-center, scoring Psenicska and putting runners at second and third. Sinko picked up an RBI with a groundout, and Phillips took third. He nearly scored on a wild pitch, but Dennan was able to tag him out after a nice throw from catcher Michael Esposito.
Colmery retired Charter in order in both the fourth and fifth innings before they got to him for a run in the sixth. It didn’t matter, however, as the Spartans had added two more in the fifth and would score their final run in the sixth.
Gannett was on base four times with three hits and the walk. The Spartans improved to 13-6. They meet Dover, which is 15-3, at 1 p.m. Saturday in the state capital.
The Force ended their season at 10-9.