DOVER — Jared Rowley didn’t want to graduate Dover High without beating Caesar Rodney.
Dover remained unbeaten at 4-0 with all its wins coming over Henlopen Conference opponents so far while CR dropped to 3-2.
“They’re a pretty good team but today I had all my defense behind me and shut them down,” Rowley said. “I just had to relax, focus up and rely on my defense. I was feeling good, real good.”
Rowley, a senior, allowed just two hits as CR’s Jake Williams went 2-for-3.
Rowley finished with five strikeouts. The Riders never had a runner reach third base.
“He was dealing,” said Dover senior center fielder Dakota Graham. “Everything he was throwing looked almost unhittable.”
“I thought he did a really nice job of locating,” said CR coach Rich Szvitich. “He was getting the ball up to get us to pop up and get some easy outs.”
The last time Dover beat Caesar Rodney was exactly six years ago Thursday — April 2, 2009.
The contest was postponed twice last week. It was scheduled for March 26 and 27 but was canceled each time because of rain.
“They didn’t like me texting them telling saying there was no game,” said Dover coach Dave Gordon. “It was hard, them being so fired up and then having to practice. These [seniors] have wanted this their whole life and I’m proud of them. I’m glad they can go out saying they beat CR and you never know, we might see CR again.”
CR’s five-year winning streak included three one-run games. Last year the Riders edged Dover 3-2 and went on to the quarterfinals of the state tournament as the Senators made it to the semifinals.
“It’s awesome,” Graham said. “Last we were a better team but came out a little tight. Today, we were real loose and ready to play hard every play.”
“They’ve won five in a row, but you know those were five great games,” Gordon said. “There’s a lot of talent on the baseball field when we play them. If you look in the paper, you’ll see there’s a lot of CR and Dover kids playing college baseball. They’ve had our number and those games prepare us for states. Today definitely had a state tournament feel to it.”
Rowley got all the run support he needed after the first inning.
Graham led off for Dover with a double down the line in left and scored on a throwing error a few batters later. Zach Stone then drove in Jordan Hutchins with a single.
Hutchins, who had a pair of hits, scored his second run of the game on an error in the third. Rowley supported his own cause in the fifth with a bases-loaded single. Dover added two more in the fifth on Tyler Rosello’s walk with the bases loaded and a fielder’s choice.
Garrett Lawson pitched the final inning for Dover and struck out two.
Caesar Rodney made five errors, including four in the first three innings. The Riders had three errors on Wednesday but still managed to beat Polytech, 9-5.
“Against Polytech we hit the ball well enough to overcome our mistakes but today we didn’t hit the ball well and made mistakes,” Szvitich said. “That’s both the whammies against you. We just talked to the kids about refocusing so we can get the outs that we need to get because we’re giving up outs, easy outs. We’ve got to make the easy outs and if we don’t, we give the other team extra at-bats and we’re probably going to lose.”
“I’m not taking anything away from Dover they did everything they had to do,” Szvitich added. “They were fundamentally sound and I don’t think we were fundamentally sound.”
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