Castleton University’s Jack Boyle prepares to swing at a pitch during a game with the Spartans against Washington & Lee.

“A piece of my heart will always be in Alabama,” TV personality Hannah Brown said.

All that the Castleton University baseball team wants from the state is several days of warm weather and dry fields.

The Spartans are headed to Montgomery, Alabama, home of Huntingdon College Hawks. Castleton will play all of their games at Huntingdon. The opponents will be Edgewood of Wisconsin on Thursday, Huntingdon on Friday, Friday, Mississippi University for Women on Saturday and Edgewood on Sunday.

The Spartans have already been to North Carolina and Virginia on a previous trip and will look to build on that experience.

“Right now, we can’t do much here outside,” Castleton pitcher Sam Crawford said. “We have done as much as we can indoors.

“It will be good to throw against other hitters. We have been pitching to the same hitters on our team.”

“When we left for Virginia, our field was bare and when we got back, it was covered with snow,” Castleton coach Ted Shipley said.

The Spartans flew out of Albany early on Wednesday for Atlanta where they will get on a bus for Montgomery.

Tyler McLain would love to pick up where he left off through the first six games for Castleton. He is batting .500 (11-for-22) with three triples and two home runs.

“He is solid in the field (second base) but hitting is his strength,” Castleton coach Ted Shipley said.

Jesus Cardenas and Jackson Cardozo are both batting over .400 and Reece de Castro, a Rutland High and Rutland Post 31 American Legion baseball product, is batting .364 with a couple of home runs.

Hartford High’s Hunter Perkins also has two homers.

The Spartans have already hit nine home runs which is more than they had all last season.

“That might not be good,” Shipley said. “We are a much better team when we are hitting line drives.”

Shipley will be looking for the Spartans to put three phases of the game together — hitting, defense and pitching.

“We have yet to put together all three phases. We have had some games where we have had two out of the three. Our defense has been pretty consistent,” the Castleton coach said.

One objective for Shipley in Alabama is to determine which pitchers will be sent to the mound for the more important Little East Conference games and which will throw in the non-conference games.

Aubrey Ramey, Riley Orr and Brayden Howrigan have already stamped themselves as pitchers who will work in LEC games. The compact schedule means that there are still opportunities for many pitchers to earn their way into league rotation.

Ramey was overpowering in beating Mary Washington. He had nine strikeouts with just one walk in five innings.

“Aubrey also could have won the game against Stockton (New Jersey) if we had played better,” Shipley said.

“And Riley Orr is as good as anyone when he is on and he is on more often than he is off.”

Middlebury College made the trip to Alabama and lost 16-12 to Huntingdon last week.

“I think Middlebury is the best team in the region,” Shipley said.

Howrigan is scheduled to get the start on Friday against Edgewood.

Catcher is also an important position and a place where depth is essential with the condensed schedule with a liberal sprinkling of doubleheaders.

Shipley will carry four catchers with Addison Schaub as the top guy.

Shipley likes what Schaub gives him at the plate but loves what the senior gives him behind it.

“We want our catchers to be good receivers and shut down the run game. That’s the goal for our catchers,” Shipley said.

One of the catchers is Green Mountain Union High School’s Jack Boyle, also listed as an outfielder.

NOTES: Otter Valley graduates Nate Hudson, Josh Beayon and Pat McKeighan will get to play for Keene State at Manchester’s gorgeous Delta Dental Stadium, home of the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, on April 23. ... A couple of Vermonters had productive offensive days for Norwich University in the Cadets’ recent 9-8 victory over Houghton College at the Jackie Robinson Training Center in Vero, Beach, Florida. U-32’s Hayden Roberge had three hits including a double and Windsor’s Ryland Richardson added a base hit, scored two runs and drove in another. ... Tuesday, Norwich swept a doubleheader from Monmouth College of Illinois, 7-6 and 3-2. Richardson hit safely in each game on Tuesday and is tied for the team lead in runs scored with six.



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