Winter Haven, FL – The D'Youville baseball team won their first game of the season on Monday afternoon in grand fashion as they defeated the Principia Panthers 17-5.
Principia looked to take control of the game early as they pounced in the first inning. Two Panther batters reached base with one out in the inning and were driven home by the cleanup hitter for Prinicipia, giving them a quick 2-0 lead. The Spartan defense then stepped up as Dylan Haak (Depew, NY/Depew) gunned a runner out at home from left field, keeping the score 2-0 and D'Youville got out of the top half of the inning with minimal damage.
The bottom half of the inning set the tone for the remainder of the game. Mitchell Mason (Eden, NY/Eden) singled to left center with one out, followed by a single from Justin Brackna (Cheektowaga, NY/Maryvale). Travis Macrides (Manlius, NY/Fayetteville-Manlius) then singled to left field, but an error from the Principia left fielder allowed Mason to score for the Spartan's first run.
That run opened the flood gates for D'Youville as Patrick Mulligan (Buffalo, NY/Hutch Tech) walked in the next at-bat to load the bases. Three consecutive RBI singles from Braden Bova (Buffalo, NY/Saint Mary's), Louis Reynolds (Batavia, NY/Notre Dame) and Josh Hammer (Amherst, NY/Sweet Home) made the score 4-1 D'Youville in a hurry. Devon Kelly (Rochester, NY/Olympia) then drove in a run on a fielder's choice, followed by a single from Haak that scored another run and the inning ended with D'Youville up big at 6-2.
D'Youville once again had a multi-run inning in the bottom of the fourth. Kelly led off the inning with a single, then stole second and advanced to third on an error. Haak then drove in Kelly for a 7-2 lead, then stole second and moved to third on a Mason ground out. A single to right from Brackna then scored Haak and the team increased their lead to 8-2.
Just an inning later, the Spartans had their second six-run inning of the game. Reynolds led off with a walk and then scored in the next at-bat on a triple from Hammer. Kelly then singled to left, scoring Hammer. Three batters later, Brackna came up again and drilled a triple that scored Kelly and Haak, who had coaxed a walk two batters prior. A single from Macrides then scored Brackna, and Mulligan followed that with an RBI double, scoring Macrides and making it a 14-2 lead.
The Panthers answered in the top of the sixth with three runs to cut the deficit to 14-5, but the Spartan bats would again come to life in the bottom half of the inning to regain their 12-run advantage.
Kelly again reached base to start the inning with a walk, followed by Haak getting hit by a pitch. Khaled Numan-Ali (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) pinch ran for Haak and would score two batters later. Macrides came to the plate with two outs and hit a shot to the deep right field corner. Both Kelly and Numan-Ali scored, followed by Macrides who rounded the bases for an inside the park home run. The three runs increased the score to 17-5 and D'Youville would go on to win by the same score.
D'Youville had a complete team win on Monday, led by their offense. Each player that had a plate appearance recorded at least one hit, with seven players recording double-digit hits. Leading the way for the team was Macrides, who led the team with three runs and four RBI. The three-four-five hitters in Brackna, Macrides and Mulligan each had three hits in the game.
The team's speed also played a big role in the game. Haak, Hammer and Kelly each had two hits, with Haak and Kelly scoring at least two runs. Numan-Ali and Michael LiPani (Irondequoit, NY/Irondequoit) each played strong defense in the outfield along with Brackna, who made an exceptional diving catch in the late innings.
On the mound, sophomore Will Pack (Pendleton, NY/Starpoint) picked up his first career win by pitching a complete game, allowing three earned runs and striking out four.
The men have off on Tuesday, but will rematch with Principia on Wednesday, March 22 as they face the Panthers at 10:30am and 1pm.