The Eagles baseball team defeated the visiting Lexington Minutemen by the final score of 11-1 in a run-rule shortened contest during Holden’s Senior Night game on Thursday, March 30.
Holden seniors Carson Gard, Eddie Bartkoski, Garrett Smith, and Bryce Faust started in the game as they, senior baseball team manager Riley Naumann, and baseball players Dom Sizemore and Alessio Martinolli were honored on the night.
The game also marked the final competition on the natural turf field at Holden High School baseball stadium as the process to install all-weather turf on the field began the next day.
“It was a nice win for senior night, and our last true home game of the season,” said Holden baseball coach Charlie Castle, on the verge of the remainder of the season being played away at opponents’ field sites, or at neutral locations.
With Eagles senior starting pitcher Garrett Smith holding the Minutemen off the scoreboard through three innings, Holden senior catcher Carson Gard sparked a three-run bottom half of the third by drawing a leadoff walk.
After Gard moved up to second base on a steal, freshman Wes Brown drove Gard in to crack the zeros on the scoreboard, though Brown would be put out on the base paths after the RBI.
Smith followed Brown with a single. Junior shortstop Aiden Morarity plated Smith on a base hit. Two batters later, junior second baseman Lane Siemer scored Morarity on a ground ball fielder’s choice.
Lexington would score its lone run of the game in the top of the fourth inning.
“I felt good about getting the start,” said Smith after the game. “Castle told me…he kind of told me all season I was going to start senior night. I knew Lexington was going to be able to hit the ball a little bit, but I knew a lot of fastballs, a lot of strikes were going to do it for me. I knew we would start hitting the ball. We had to. I mean, it’s not like the pitcher was blowing the catcher’s mitt off or anything.”
Holden seniors Bryce Faust and Eddie Bartkoski sparked the Eagles’ second surge of the game with Faust drawing a walk to open the bottom of the fourth, and Bartkoski laying down a sacrifice bunt to put Faust in scoring position at second base.
Two miscues by the Lexington catcher allowed Faust to score as Gard drew a walk to put another runner on the path to home plate.
Back-to-back walks issued by Lexington left Eagles Gard, Brown, and Smith perched on all three bags before a hit by Morarity brought two runners home to the nest.
Sophomore Kale Tryon singled behind Morarity to plate two more runs. Siemer scored Tryon on a single for the final of six runs scored by Holden in the frame.
“It was nice to get our offense going a little bit,” said coach Castle. “It was taking a little while, but I felt like the guys were relaxing a little after we got a few runs. Hopefully, that will continue to carry over for us.”
Bartkoski and Gard singled to open the bottom of the fifth inning. After Brown walked to load the bases, Smith hit safely to plate Bartkoski and courtesy runner Justin Brown, ending the game by the 10-run rule.
Coach Castle tipped his cap to the seniors who missed out on the chance to play during their freshman season, and who now will take to the road for the remainder of their senior season.
“They’ve been through a lot here, so it’s good to see…they didn’t get to play their freshman year which was awful, because of Covid,” said coach Castle. “They got to play the last couple years. Now they’re going to get their season on their home field abbreviated, but we’re still getting to play so it’s a lot of fun. We still want to make a lot of memories so this isn’t over, but it’s a nice way to honor them. It’s pretty short and simple tonight. We’ll honor them a lot more at our banquet.”
Gard took in the moment after the win which featured the senior catcher scoring the first run of the game after two scoreless innings, and putting pressure on the visiting team with his presence on the base paths.
“I’m not going to say I got a little bit nervous, but it’s just an honor coming out here, not having a freshman season with these boys…coming out here senior night, having a blast in our last home game on the dirt field,” said Gard. “It’s an honor to catch Garrett. I’ve played with him my whole life, basically, so it’s just…come out here, and have fun. It was senior night. It was just all about having fun today.”
“The four seniors in the game played well – Eddie Bartkoski, Bryce Faust, Carson Gard, and Garrett Smith,” summarized coach Castle. “Garrett did what he does. He goes and throws strikes. Garrett picked up the win on the mound by going four innings, and not giving up an earned run on two hits with 10 strikeouts. He also had a two-run single to end the game.
“Carson Gard had three walks, and a single. Bryce Faust had a walk with a run scored. Eddie Bartkoski had a single and a sac bunt. Eddie did a good job. He got us really going with that bunt, and then he got a nice hit,” noted coach Castle. “Freshman Cohen Drake pitched the fifth inning. He recorded two strikeouts while giving up a hit. I thought Cohen Drake came in, and threw the ball like we thought he would.”
At the end of last week, the Holden baseball team held an overall record of 4-2, and stood at 2-0 in MRVC-East play.
For an up-to-date Holden Eagles baseball schedule, visit the calendar section on the Holden R-3 website at holdenschools.org.