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St. Mark's baseball holds off archrival Salesianum, 3-2, to remain undefeated

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WILMINGTON – Calvin Scott’s two-run single in the second inning gave St. Mark’s a lead it would not relinquish in the Spartans’ 3-2 win over rival Salesianum Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington.

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The true stars on the night, however, were St. Mark’s pitchers Tom Spagnolo and Billy Phillips, who combined to hold the Sals to four hits on the evening while striking out 12. Spagnolo went five innings, while Phillips picked up a two-inning save. With the win, St. Mark’s – the state’s top-ranked team – improves to 9-0, while Salesianum falls to 4-4.

St. Mark’s threatened to score in the first, but after putting runners on second and third with no one out, the Spartans could not bring them home. They changed that, however, after Spagnolo struck out the side in the second.

With one out, St. Mark’s loaded the bases on a walk to Ethan Brancato and singles by David Gibb and Peter Berardi. Scott chopped a single high over the head of Salesianum third baseman Sean Mazzio, scoring Brancato and Gibb.

The Sals cut the deficit in half in the next inning. Matthew Taylor became the team’s first base runner with a one-out single. Joe Buoni then reached on an error. Taylor advanced on a fielder’s choice by Chad Harbaugh and scored on a wild pitch.

It was about this time that ominous storm clouds rolled in over the stadium from the south, but the rain held off for a bit. A drizzle started a little later in the game, progressing to a light rain before the night was through. By the end of the game, however, the rain had passed.

The game remained 2-1 into the fifth, when St. Mark’s tacked on an important insurance run. Dominic DiSabatino opened the frame with a single, took second on a wild pitch and third when Thomas Freeland grounded out to the pitcher, Joseph Coyle. With two outs, the Sals could see their way out of the inning, but an errant throw on a ground ball went off the first baseman’s glove as DiSabatino crossed the plate.

Phillips came in to relieve Spagnolo to start the sixth, and Salesianum’s offense went to work. Buoni singled, and after a fly ball and strikeout, Kyle Hinton doubled over the head of the leftfielder. As Buoni reached the plate, the relay throw from the shortstop hit him in the leg and rolled up the third-base line. St. Mark’s first baseman John Perry picked up the ball and shuffled it to third, where a sliding Hinton was called out on a close play.

Phillips shut the Sals down in the seventh, sandwiching two strikeouts around a popup to second.

St. Mark’s faces a stiff test Friday when the Spartans travel to Dover for a 4:15 p.m. date with the Senators, who are 8-0 heading into Wednesday’s game at Appoquinimink. Salesianum is back in action Thursday at 3:45 p.m. at Glasgow in a game rescheduled from March 29.

The Spartans and Sals will meet again at Frawley Stadium on May 7 at 7 p.m.

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