Baseball Opens Road Trip With Win at Apprentice

Baseball Opens Road Trip With Win at Apprentice

HAMPTON, Va. – Joe Gratton fired six strong innings in his first career start and the Castleton baseball team pounded 15 hits en route to an 8-3 victory over Apprentice on Thursday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium.

Six Spartans recorded multi-hit performances in the win. Davis Mikell and Mitchell Caron each finished with three hits to lead the Spartans offensively, while Matt Braman, Deagan Poland, Dillon Benham, and Alex Borsari picked up two hits apiece.

Gratton earned his second win of the season after scattering seven hits and three earned runs with eight strikeouts over six innings.

Apprentice (13-7) struck first with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. James Willia led off with a single, before Mike Brumfield and Maxwell Burcham worked back-to-back walks to load the bases with no outs. After Gratton picked up a big strikeout, Gevin Nixon singled up the middle to drive in two runs and give the Builders a 2-0 advantage. Gratton induced a pair of groundouts to prevent further damage.

After the Builders added a run on two hits in the second to take a 3-0 lead, Gratton settled in and Castleton's bats came alive to produce eight unanswered runs.

Pat Mumford sparked Castleton in the top of the third with a leadoff single to right field. Braman laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Mumford into scoring position, and Poland lined an RBI single up the middle before later coming around to score on an RBI single by Benham as the Spartans cut the deficit to 3-2.

Castleton (3-4) continued its pressure with three runs on the strength of four hits in the top of the fifth. Poland started things up with a triple to right field and Mikell followed with an RBI double into right center to draw level with Apprentice at 3-3. After Benham doubled down the right field line, Caron came through with a two-run single to right center to give the Spartans a 5-3 lead. 

Gratton was in cruise control on the mound, allowing just three hits with five strikeouts over his final four innings. Aaron Smith tossed three scoreless innings of relief to pick up the save and the Spartans tacked on three insurance runs over the final two frames to secure the 8-3 victory.

The two squads will meet again on Friday at 10 a.m. The Spartans will face Tufts in the afternoon at 1 p.m. as the other end of a doubleheader at War Memorial Stadium.