MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The Manhattanville baseball team started their season off with a big offensive outburst against the Alma Scots by scoring 14 runs over the final six innings to win by a 14-9 score. In the win junior Johnny LoVetere (Southbury, Conn./Canterbury) went 4-for-4 and drove in four runs to lead the way for the Valiants.
After sophomore Elias Tsouristakis (New Rochelle, N.Y./Fordham Prep) singled to start off the season, the Valiants went down in order. In the bottom of the first Alma patched together a run against Manhattanville starter Edwin Aponte (Yonkers, N.Y./Yonkers) to take a 1-0 lead heading into the second.
The Scots added one more run in the second and both sides went quietly in the third. In the fourth, the Valiants bats woke up from their winter hibernation as senior Chris Nardozzi (Poughkeepsie, N.Y./Roy C. Ketcham) started the inning off with a walk. Junior Matt Petrunti (East Granby, Conn./Loomis-Chaffee) singled followed by junior John Bucci (Port Chester, N.Y./Port Chester) getting hit by a pitch to load the bases. LoVetere singled to put the Valiants on the board as Nardozzi crossed the plate to cut the lead in half. Freshman Nick Euvino (Elmsford, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) reached on an error to score two more runs to give the Valiants their first lead. Classmate Bobby Guerra (Bronx, N.Y./Arlington) collected another hit and game Manhattanville a 4-2 lead.
Aponte worked around a pair of walks and a wild pitch in the bottom of the frame. LoVetere collected another RBI in the top of the fifth to extend the lead to 5-2 as he drove in Petrunti. Alma evened up the game with three runs in the bottom of the fifth with the big blow coming off the bat of junior Matthew Creswell who had a two RBI single and later came around to score.
In the top of the sixth, the Valiants came back with three more runs of their own as Tsouristakis hit a one out double followed by walks from senior Dan Fiorito (Yonkers, N.Y./Fordham Prep) and Nardozzi to load the bases. Petrunti grounded into a fielder's choice to put the Valiants back on top at 6-5, two batters later Petrunti singled to right center to score two more runs heading to the bottom of the sixth.
Still going strong, Aponte allowed the first two batters to reach via singles with sophomore Alex Kravet coming around to score after his leadoff base knock. Again, Manhattanville answered back with two more runs with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Tsouristakis walked while Fiorito walked and Nardozzi singled to drive home Tsouristakis and push Fiorito to third. During the next at-bat, Nardozzi stole second which resulted in Fiorito breaking for the plate and stealing home to give Manhattanville a 10-6 lead.
Aponte retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh. The Valiants' bats continued their hitting ways in the top of the eighth as two more runs crossed the plate to expand the lead to 12-6. In the bottom of the inning, Aponte avoided trouble once again while retiring three Scots around a base hit.
Manhattanville put the game out of reach with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth with junior Sean Ferguson (Astoria, N.Y./Xavier), who had come on in the previous inning, hit a two run double to left center field to chase home Bucci and pinch-runner Raul Rodriguez (Bronx, N.Y./DeWitt Clinton).
In the bottom of the ninth Alma threatened to get back into the game as three of the first four batters reached and allowing three runs to cross home plate, but Aponte finished the job and earned his first career complete game while also picking up his first career win for his opening day performance.
Aponte (1-0) allowed nine runs, five of which were earned while surrendering 17 hits and striking out one. Taking the loss was senior Micah Parshall who was the second of the first two pitchers to allow five runs apiece. The only Alma pitcher to go unscathed was junior Ryan Henris who pitched the ninth inning for the Scots.
Manhattanville (1-0) will continue their spring break trip in Myrtle Beach with a double header on Friday against Manchester (Indiana) with first pitch scheduled for 12:00 p.m. Alma (1-2) will play one last game in Myrtle Beach against Penn State-Abington at 3:00 p.m.