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Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

SULLIVAN SPARTANS PITCHER Jeremiah Ferris throws a strike in the second inning of the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader versus the Middletown Dirt Dogs.

Home Team
Is Back

By Rob Potter
MOUNTAINDALE — June 16, 2006 – After splitting their first two games of the 2006 Collegiate Baseball League (CBL) season while visiting the Wappingers Yankees on Memorial Day Weekend, the Sullivan Spartans opened their home schedule last Saturday at Baxter Stadium in Mountaindale.
The result of the first home twinbill was the same as the first – one win and one loss.
In the first game of Saturday’s CBL doubleheader, the Middletown Dirt Dogs shut out the Spartans, 7-0. But Sullivan rebounded to defeat the Dirt Dogs in the nightcap by a final score of 8-2.
The Middletown Dirt Dogs (1-1, 1-1 CBL) picked up their first CBL win of the season in the first game. Pitcher Mike Rheel allowed only six hits in recording the complete-game victory.
Ben Becker paced the Middletown offense by stroking two hits and scoring two runs. Corey Booth added two hits and an RBI for the Dirt Dogs.
Spartans’ pitcher Travis Steffens (0-1) took the loss, allowing four earned runs in 4 and 2/3 innings. Sullivan catcher Andrew Haburjak had two hits, including a double.
Sullivan (2-2, 1-1 CBL) grabbed an early lead in the second game and didn’t look back. The Spartans scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning to give starting pitcher Jeremiah Ferris plenty of support.
With one out, Derek Blume and Joey Friedman each used a sharp batter’s eye to draw a walk from Middletown pitcher Mike Ames. Steve Cabarcas then ripped a single to left field, which allowed Blume to cross home plate with the first run of the contest.
Alexander Gil followed with a bloop single to load the bases.
The next batter, David Babcock, walked – which allowed Friedman to jog down the third base line and score the Spartans’ second run of the contest.
Cabarcas and Gil both scored moments later when Randy Ramirez blasted a double into deep center field. Babcock also tried to score on the play, but he was tagged out at the plate by Middletown catcher Ben Becker on an excellent relay throw from the outfield.
But the Spartans had a 4-0 lead, which they maintained until the fifth. In that frame, a solid single by Mike Vicchiariello down the third base line allowed Ramirez to score and give Sullivan a 5-0 advantage.
The Spartans added three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. With Cabarcas and Gil on third base and second base, respectively, Ramirez smacked a single into right center field. Both runners scored easily on the base hit.
Ramirez scored later in the inning thanks to a double by Vinnie Malzahn.
The Dirt Dogs avoided being shut out by scoring two runs off Spartan relief pitcher Kieran Payne in the top of the seventh. With one out, Matt Becker reached base on a walk. Payne then induced a ground ball back to the mound and threw the ball to first base to record the second out of the frame.
The next batter, Kristoff Sherma, walked to keep the inning going. Sherma and Becker moved up to second base and third base, respectively, on a passed ball. Rob Pagon stroked a double to right center field, which brought both Sherma and Becker in to score.
But Payne stuck out the next Middletown batter to end the game and seal the Spartans’ victory.
Randy Ramirez was 2-for-3 with a double and four RBIs. Right fielder Alex Gil was also 2-for-3 with a stolen base and two runs scored.
Middletown Coach Ben Becker credited Rheel for leading the team to victory in the day’s first game.
“He kept his pitches down and pitched very well,” Becker said. “He kept their hitters off balance and off the bases.”
Sullivan Coach Jed Carrier noted that pitching was key for his team on Saturday – and will continue be important the rest of the season.
“The big thing with us is pitching,” he said. “Offensively, we have a great lineup and should be able to hit consistently. But pitching will be the key.”
Carrier praised Ferris for his performance.
“He did a great job,” Carrier commented. “He threw a lot of strikes. I think the biggest thing is that he kept the ball down.”
Carrier added that it was good to finally get back on the field. With several rainy days during the past two weeks, Saturday’s doubleheader was the Spartans’ first chance to return to the diamond since their season opening games versus Wappingers Falls.
Spartans Split with Dawgs
A two-run homer by Vinnie Malzahn in the first inning helped Sullivan jump out to an early 3-0 lead in the first game of Sunday’s CBL doubleheader versus the Diamond Zone Dawgs at Baxter Stadium.
And those three runs proved to be all the support that starting pitcher Kyle Sinclair would need. Sinclair (1-1) picked up the victory by going the distance. He allowed just one hit and struck out six.
Malzahn, whose home run traveled an estimated 395 feet to the left side of light tower in the corner of right field, would later add an RBI single. Third baseman John Tine’s three-run round tripper in the sixth inning put a cap on the scoring for the Spartans as they posted a 10-0 victory.
In game two, Sullivan starting pitcher Jon Kitsos threw six shutout innings before running into trouble in the seventh. Kitsos, who got the no decision, was lifted after a two-out dropped fly ball and his second walk of the inning. The Spartan bullpen was unable to hold the lead or the tie, resulting in a 6-4 loss.
Offensively, the Spartans were led by Joey Friedman, who was 2-for-3 with a stolen base and run scored. Dave Babcock and Derek Blume each drove in a run with a single to cushion the lead before the seventh inning collapse.
The Spartans’ record fell to 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the CBL.
Marlboro Tops Spartans, 6-4
The Spartans dropped a 6-4 decision the Marlboro Cobras in a CBL contest on Tuesday night at Valley Central High School.
Sullivan starting pitcher Everett Saul experienced some early control problems that led to Marlboro scoring five runs in the first two innings. Saul allowed six runs, three of which were earned, over 4 and 1/3 innings. Matt Berger came out of the bullpen and held the Cobras scoreless for 2 and 2/3 innings, allowing one hit and one walk.
Sullivan scored an unearned run in the fifth inning to cut the Marlboro lead to 6-1 and then put three runs on the scoreboard in the sixth to make it a 6-4 game.
Berger and Chris Armstrong, who was 3-for-3, each had an RBI single in the sixth.
Sullivan was able to bring the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh, but Marlboro starter Trevor Purcell was able to get the final out to preserve his team’s two-run victory.
With the loss, Sullivan dropped to 3-4 overall and 2-3 in the CBL.

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