Three Catholic schools are among the 24 who earned spots in the 2018 baseball state tournament, according to brackets released Tuesday night by the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association. The tournament was expanded from 20 teams in previous years.
St. Mark’s came in as the third seed. The Spartans finished the season with a 15-3 record, winning their final five and 10 of their last 11 games. In their final regular-season game, they defeated Cape Henlopen, a win that may have lifted them above the Vikings for the No. 3 spot.
St. Mark’s, which last won the championship in 2016, Their resume includes wins over tournament teams Delaware Military Academy, Indian River, Archmere, Appoquinimink, Hodgson, Salesianum (twice) and Middletown, in addition to Cape. Two of their three losses came to teams in the postseason, Caravel and Sussex Tech.
The Spartans await the winner of a first-round game between No. 19 Sussex Central and No. 14 Concord, who are scheduled to play on Thursday. The second round is scheduled for Saturday.
The eighth seed in the field is Salesianum, which has a 12-6 mark. The Sals faced a difficult schedule and closed out the season with three consecutive wins.
The Sals have won six state titles, the last coming in 2008. The 2018 edition relied on a veteran lineup to record wins over postseason participants Caravel, Appoquinimink, St. Georges, Indian River and Sussex Tech. Their defeats included two to St. Mark’s and also to Newark Charter, Cape Henlopen, Archmere and Sussex Central.
The winner of the matchup between 24th seed Polytech and No. 9 Wilmington Friends will be the Sals’ first opponent.
Archmere is the third Catholic school in the tournament. The Auks are seeded 13th and will host Newark Charter, the 20th seed, on Thursday. The teams are confreres in the Diamond State Athletic Conference; the Patriots left Claymont with an 11-6 win. Archmere finished 12-6, winning the final five.
The Auks claimed victories against tournament teams Concord, St. Georges, Salesianum and Polytech. In addition to Newark Charter, they lost to St. Mark’s, DMA, Red Lion and Hodgson.
William Penn earned the top seed in the tournament, while Caravel is second. All first-round games on Thursday begin at 4 p.m., and admission is $5.