Top-ranked Spalding reignites the flame

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Fochtman homers again as Cavaliers rout No. 5 Gilman, 13-1, in five innings
Kris Burkowski and Evan FochtmanThe fire was raging for top-ranked Archbishop Spalding, after a 5-0 week that extended the team’s winning streak to 12 games and catapulted them to No. 1 in the VSN Baseball Top 20, on Monday. However, the blaze flickered during a visit to unranked Loyola, Monday, afternoon, where the Cavs saw history repeat itself.

Just last year, the Cavs visited the blue and gold and got zapped 14-4 in five innings, and the Dons got them again on Monday, with an 8-5 victory. So, on Wednesday the Cavs desperately needed a victory over visiting and 5th-ranked Gilman, the team that had dealt them their other league loss by 8-5 back in March.

Spalding needed somebody to light the fire again and the likes of three seniors in pitcher Nick Vermillion, left-fielder Evan Fochtman and first baseman Kris Burkowski delivered. The trio provided most of the damage as the Cavs lit up Gilman, 13-1, in five innings to remain in a first place tie with No. 2 Calvert Hall, a 4-2 winner over Mount St. Joseph, also on Wednesday. The Cavs and Cards are each 9-2 in league play.

“This was definitely a huge win,” said Fochtman. “Coach (Joe Palumbo) told us to stay focused and we did.”

Fochtman, who has emerged as a Cavalier igniter in 2017, belted his fourth 3-run dinger of the season to build another fire, a 10-run fourth inning that put the Hounds back in the dog house. Last week Fochtman launched a three-run big fly to seal a 7-2 win at Calvert Hall.

Vermillion pitched the five innings giving up six hits, punching out five and not walking a batter on 77 pitches to improve his overall record to 4-0 and the team’s to 16-3. Gilman fell to 14-8. The Hounds started the A Conference schedule with victories over Calvert Hall, by 4-2, and the afore mentioned 8-5 win over Spalding, before putting it in reverse this week by losing to the Cardinals, 15-7, and getting smoked by the Cavaliers.

Burkowski  displayed his own version of a tri-run producing blow, in the huge fourth inning, when he cleared the bases with a blazer over third base. All in all the Cavs had nine hits with only leadoff batter,  Justin Caesar and Vermillion, who bats third, the only ones in the starting lineup without a hit.

Fochtman, who bats seventh in  the Cavs’ hard-hitting lineup, had two hits and four RBI’s and catcher Jack Triolo had two hits, including one of the team’s three doubles.

Outfielder Alex Slodzinski was 3-for-3 for the Greyhounds and scored the visitors only run after starting the game with a single to left.  Charlie Darby’s knock to right with two outs scored Slodzinski for Gilman’s short-lived lead. Spalding tied it up on Fochtman’s infield hit in the second off Hounds’ starter Max Costes and the Cavs took the lead, 3-1, in the bottom of the third on Matt Palumbo’s two-run, two-bagger.

“Loyola was a wakeup call for us,” said Vermillion, a 5-foot-11 and 260-pounder who has orally committed to Towson University to play football but he has not signed a letter of intent in the event another school gives him a chance to play both football and baseball.

“We know what we have to do (as 3-time defending champs) and I believe this team can also do something special.”

And to “do something special,” as the past three Spalding teams have done, won’t be an easy task when you look at the way the conference is shaping up. The 9-2 leaders Spalding and the Hall are followed by 8-3 Loyola, 7-4 John Carroll, 6-4 Gilman, and 5-4 St. Mary’s, a 5-2 loser to John Carroll on Wednesday.

“It was good to bounce back and good to be back home,” said coach Palumbo. “We were sort of out of our routine being on the road a few games and being out of school for Easter break until next Monday (April 24). I didn’t feel our mental preparation was that good (Monday at Loyola) and in this league, you’ve got to be ready every game.”

NO. 1 ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 13, NO. 5 GILMAN 1 (5 innings)
Gilman (6-4, 14-8)    100    00  —   1   6  4    
Spalding (9-2, 16-3)  012  10x  —  13  9  1 
G – Maxwell Costes,  Joe Melanon (4), Jack Bowmaster (4) and Drew Ehrlich.
AS – Nick Vermillion (4-0) and Jack Triolo.
2B: AS – Matt Palumbo, Jack Triolo, Kris Burkowski.
HR: AS – Evan Fochtman (4th).

Last Updated (Wednesday, 19 April 2017 23:06)



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