WILMINGTON – It wasn’t particularly pretty or polished, but St. Mark’s isn’t trying to win a beauty contest.
The Spartans are aiming to regain the championship of the DIAA Baseball Tournament, and they proved quite adept Thursday of remaining on the proper path.
More than anything else, St. Mark’s had a knack for seizing opportunity in a 12-6 quarterfinal conquest of Cape Henlopen in a quarterfinal game at Frawley Stadium.
St. Mark’s runs came on Matt Theodorakis’ two-run double in the second inning, Jeremy Vogel’s two-run single in the fourth and on four wild pitches, three walks and an error.
“Both teams have good pitchers but I don’t think any pitcher was on their best stuff, so we definitely took advantage of any errors or passed balls that happened,” said Theodorakis. “We always like to get guys on and move them over with either a sacrifice or errors or anything they give us. We wanted to capitalize on their mistakes.”
The junior first baseman also tripled and made a clutch defensive snag on Connor Thompson’s shot down the line to end the second inning and thwart a Cape rally.
“He’s been putting some good swings on the ball for us all year,” St. Mark’s coach Matt Smith said of Theodorakis, who played on the 2013 Newark National Little League World Series team.
Top-seeded St. Mark’s (18-2) remained in contention for what would be its 14th state baseball title since 1985.
The Spartans play No. 4-seeded Dover (18-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday in a Frawley Stadium semifinal twinbill.
No. 8-seeded Cape Henlopen, which lost last year in its first state baseball title-game appearance, finished 14-6.
The Vikings actually outhit St. Mark’s 9-6. But St. Mark’s scored twice in the first inning without a hit, then tacked on six second-inning runs aided by three walks and a hit batter.
“[Austin] Elliott struggled with his control today,” Cape coach Ben Evick said of his starter, the first of three pitchers. “First 89-, 90-degree day of the season. Matt and I were talking, saying that was just an ugly game. When you have walks and guys hit by pitch against a team as good as St. Mark’s, it’s going to hurt you in the long run, and we left a bunch of guys on base.
“That’s baseball. These things happen. It’s something for our guys to learn from. We’re still pretty young,” added Evick, who started four sophomores.
Cape stranded runners in every inning and left 12 on in all.
A four-run St. Mark’s fourth inning, in which benefited from a hit batter, error and two walks, made it 12-4.
St. Mark’s starter Bill Sullivan struck out seven in five innings.
“Both teams were a little sloppy, so it kind of came down to trying to take a base when you can,” Smith said. “All those errors and walks were definitely a factor in the game.”
Contact Kevin Tresolini at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @kevintresolini.
St. Mark’s 12, Cape Henlopen 6
Cape Henlopen 020 200 2 – 6 9 4
St. Mark’s 260 400 x – 12 6 2
Elliott, Mulcahy (2), Gelof 4) and Carey, Z.Savage (5). Sullivan, Ludman (5) and Gibb. W—Sullivan. L—Elliott.
2B—CH: Elliott. SM: Theodorakis. 3B—SM: Theodorakis.