NAC Baseball Weekly Honors (Week Ending May 7)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Davis Mikell, Castleton (So., P/1B - Williston, Vt.)
Mikell batted .579 (11-for-19) with a .704 on-base percentage and 1.000 slugging percentage in five games to help lead the Spartans to their fifth consecutive conference title. The NAC Tournament MVP recorded at least one hit in every game, including three multi-hit performances, with three doubles, a triple, one home run, eight runs scored, and nine RBI. In the conference championship against NEC, he blasted a grand slam in the first inning and finished 4-for-5 with three extra base hits and six RBI. Mikell heads into the NCAA Tournament riding an eight-game hitting streak and leads the team in batting average (.376), on-base percentage (.526), and slugging percentage (.586).
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Joe Gratton, Castleton (Jr., P - Pittsfield, Mass.)
Gratton fired 11 innings without yielding an earned run on the week while allowing just eight hits and one walk with 12 strikeouts en route to two victories. The junior got the nod in the opening game of the NAC Tournament and set the tone for the Spartan squad, hurling a complete game against UMaine-Farmington and allowing two unearned runs on just six hits with eight strikeouts in the victory. Gratton is tied for first place in the NAC in wins with eight and owns a 2.63 ERA in 51.1 innings of work on the season.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Andy Kenosh, Castleton (Fr., P - Rutland, Vt.)
Kenosh came through in the clutch on the mound for Castleton, tossing four important innings against Lyndon during the conference tournament. After Lyndon scored three runs in the fifth and the Spartans were clinging to a 6-5 lead in the sixth, the freshman came out of the bullpen and halted the Hornets' momentum with four scoreless innings in relief to pick up the save. He allowed just two hits and induced a double play in the eighth as the Spartans ran away with seven unanswered runs down the stretch to earn the victory.
Castleton Claims Fifth-Straight NAC Baseball Title
For the Printable Tournament Bracket - click HERE.
The Castleton baseball team was firing on all cylinders in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Championship on Monday afternoon, belting a season-high 19 hits en route to a 22-5 victory over New England College to sweep the conference tournament and win its fifth consecutive title.
With the win, Castleton reached the 30-win mark for the fourth straight year, finished a perfect 13-0 at home, and improved to 30-10 overall. New England College saw its season come to an end with a 26-15 overall record.
Six Spartans recorded multi-hit performances, led by Davis Mikell, who went 4-for-5 with six RBI and three runs scored behind his fifth home run of the season. Pat Mumford finished with two hits and five RBI, while everybody in the starting lineup reached safely in the win.
Castleton wasted little time to open a comfortable lead, sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring nine runs – all with two outs -- in the bottom of the first. Mikell started it up with a double down the left field line and Jonathan Lindau followed with an infield single. After NEC recorded the second out of the inning, Dillon Benham was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Dylan Bailey brought every home with a bases-clearing triple.
Matt Braman, Steven Walsh, and Mumford continued the inning with back-to-back walks and a hit-by-pitch, before Mikell belted a grand slam well over the wall in right field to open a 9-0 lead for the Spartans.
The Spartans batted around the order again and added five runs in the second frame. Once again with the bases loaded and two outs, Mumford drove a two-run single into left, Deagan Poland singled to left field, and Lindau doubled down the left field line to score two more as Castleton opened a 14-0 lead with every run crossing the plate with two outs.
NEC struck for four runs in the top of the fourth. Xavier Nunez and Jameson Carey singled around a walk by Jeam Castillo to load the bases. Luis Atiles and Manuel Alejandro each reached base via an error before Manuel Andujar lifted a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 14-4.
Castleton kept the pedal down with two runs in the fourth before adding three runs apiece in the seventh and eighth innings apiece. Aaron Smith worked around a leadoff single in the ninth by inducing a double play and ending the game with a fly out as the Spartans secured their fifth straight title by a final score of 22-5.
Garrett Moran fired seven strong innings and improved to 5-0 on the mound, allowing five runs (two earned) on five hits with five strikeouts. Smith tossed two scoreless innings of relief and picked up two strikeouts.
Justin Carey and Nunez led the Pilgrims offensively with two hits apiece. Stanley Vargas started on the mound for the Pilgrims and took the loss, allowing seven runs over 0.2 innings of work.
Castleton earns the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship and will find out its destination when the NCAA releases the entire bracket on Sunday, May 13, at 11:59 p.m.
2018 All-Tournament Team
Chase Malloy - UMaine-Farmington
Jake Bessey - UMaine-Farmington
Ryan Cordeiro - Lyndon
Andre Eason Jr. - Lyndon
Justin Carey - NEC
Jameson Carey - NEC
Shayne Audet - NEC
Deagan Poland - Castleton
Joe Gratton - Castleton
Garrett Moran - Castleton
Davis Mikell - Castleton (MVP)
2018 NAC BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Hosted by Castleton University
Saturday, May 5
Game 1: No. 1 Castleton 9, No. 4 UMaine-Farmington 2 - Boxscore
Game 2: No. 2 Lyndon 6, No. 3 New England College 5 - Boxscore
Game 3: No. 3 New England College 12, No. 4 UMaine-Farmington 0 - Boxscore
Monday, May 7
Game 6: No. 1 Castleton 22, No. 3 New England College 5 - Boxscore