By Lori Brown
LOCH SHELDRAKE The Sullivan Spartans hosted the Dutchess Tigers in a Hudson Valley Collegiate Baseball League (HVCBL) doubleheader last Saturday at the Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) field.
The Spartans posted a 14-2 victory in the opener.
The second game of the twinbill was rained out.
Sullivan boosted its record to 7-4-1, while Dutchess fell to 0-3 on the season.
The game was scoreless until the top of the second inning. The Tigers’ Alan Kartholl advanced to third base on a passed ball and then crossed home plate on an error.
The Spartans wasted little time in taking the lead, however.
In the bottom of the second, Lenin Sepluveda hit a single to score teammates Mickey Collins and Brian Aponte.
Because of two Tigers’ errors, Sepluveda was able to score just seconds after hitting the single to give the Spartans a 3-1 advantage.
A great defensive play by the Spartans in the top of the third preserved the their two-run lead. The Tigers’ Joe Panik slammed a single into right field, which Sullivan right fielder George Ban quickly retrieved. Ban then threw a bullet to catcher Marc Mortellaro, who tagged out the Tigers’ Eric Hartling at home plate.
In the bottom of the third, the Spartans loaded the bases with no outs. Vinnie Malzahn scored on a passed ball to give his team a 4-1 lead.
Spartans pitcher Joe Walentin struck out two batters in the top of the fourth to keep it a 4-1 game.
The Spartans added to their advantage in the bottom of the frame as Ban scored on a single by Fernando Peralta and Mortellaro ripped a single to bring Peralta across home plate.
Mickey Collins singled to score Vinnie Malzahn in a close play at the plate. Originally, Malzahn was tagged out, but he was then ruled safe when the ball was knocked out of the catcher’s glove.
Pete Eichner earned an RBI when Mortellaro scored on his single.
Dutchess called a timeout and Joe D'Antonio came in to take over for John Wurster on the mound. D'Antonio struck out the next batter to end the inning, but not before the Spartans had boosted their lead to 8-1.
The Tigers’ Kevin Ruhle safely made it to first base to begin the top of the fifth. He scored moments later when Panik slammed a two-out double to center field.
The Spartans took a 9-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Peralta crossed home plate on a double by Malzahn.
Spartans’ reliever Vinny Matland entered the game in the top of the sixth. He held Dutchess scoreless in the frame by striking out the first batter and then starting an inning-ending double play.
The Spartans’ offense did not let up in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Eichner grounded out, but David Luczyski scored on the play. Moments later, Ban slammed a triple to bring home Brian Aponte and Lenin Sepluveda.
Ban scored on a passed ball to make it a 13-2 game and Peralta scored the final run of the contest thanks to Malzahn’s double.
Walentin earned the win for the Spartans. He struck out five batters, scattered four hits and allowed one earned run.
Matland struck out three batters and gave up one hit during his two innings of work.
The Spartans pounded out 14 hits on their way to victory. Ban led the way by going 3-for-4 with a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored. Malzahn was 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored.
For the Tigers, Panik went 2- for-4 and Mike Carozza was 2-for-3 with a walk.