HAMPTON., VA. – The Apprentice School baseball team took on its third nationally-ranked opponent this year facing NCAA Division III 16th-ranked Tufts University and lost a doubleheader on Saturday falling 4-3 and 6-4 in a school-record 17-inning game.
The previous record for the longest game was a 16-inning contest in 1980 against Chowan University. Since Bryan Cave took the head coaching reign in 1990, the longest was 12-innings done three times including twice this year.
In game one, Tufts jumped on the board in the third inning on a Sam Sager single. Apprentice School answered with a run in its half of the inning as Chris Aldridge started with a single and advanced to second on as Ryan Wagner was hit with a pitch. Chris Kennedy singled to right-center to score Aldridge to tie the game.
Tufts scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh to lead 4-1, but the Builders had one last push as they scored twice in the seventh and left the bases loaded. Kennedy drove Andrew Hooper who started the inning with a single on a force out to make it 4-2. Josh Tuck followed with a single to score Chris Scarola to make it 4-3.
Aldridge was 2-for-3 to lead the Builders at the plate, while Kennedy drove in two of the three runs. Daniel Lutz took the loss throwing five innings with four strikeouts and six hits.
In game two, which took over four hours and 15 minutes to complete, the Builders scored in the bottom of the first. Wagner started with a single and advanced to second as Kennedy reached on an error. Josh Tuck also reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases before Andrew Yonta followed with a fielder's choice to force Kennedy and score Wagner.
Tufts answered with single runs in the second and third before the Builders responded with a run in the fourth. Tuck started with a double and following a pair of infield singles from Devorn Lake and Hooper, Aldridge followed with a fielder's choice to force out Lake and score Tuck to tie the game at 2-all.
From there, the pitchers threw shutout innings until the 11th when Tufts scored on a throwing error. In the Builders half of the inning, Yonta reached on an error with two outs and Lake followed with a double to right-center to score pinch-runner David Sebera to tie the game.
The teams matched runs again in the 12th as Eric Weikert homer to right gave Tufts a 4-3 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Aldridge started with a single and stole second before scoring on a pair of wild pitches.
Four more innings of scoreless ball ensued before Tufts scored a pair in the top of the 17th to take the 6-4 victory.
Tuck and Lake had three hits apiece while Aldridge and Scarola added a pair apiece as Apprentice School outhit Tufts 13-9. Will Miller took the loss throwing five hitless innings with one walk which unfortunately lead to the first run of the 17th inning.
Kennedy, Lake and Tuck all broke the single-game at bats record as each had eight plate appearances. As a team, the Builders set records for putouts (51), assists (23), at bats (64), batters faced (72), chances (76) and innings pitched (17).
Apprentice School (16-8) now hits the road for six games starting with a pair against Danville CC on Wednesday at Dan Daniels Park in Danville, Va. starting at noon.