Cape Henlopen blanks CR 10-0 in baseball state tournament opener

Cape third baseman Hunter Rauch tags out CR’s Wilfredo Mendez as he attempts to steal third base Thursday. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

LEWES — When Jackson Ostroski stepped into the batter’s box, he didn’t even realize the bases were loaded.

He was too busy looking for his pitch to drive.

It wasn’t until the Cape Henlopen High senior was standing on second base following his bases-clearing double that it dawned on him he just drove in three runs.

“I went up there and I was just thinking ‘no pressure, deep breaths,’ just like every other at-bat,” Ostroski explained. “I didn’t even realize the bases were loaded, to be honest. I wasn’t paying attention to that.

“I thought it was just runners on second and third, but then I looked up and was like, ‘dang, three kids just scored, that’s pretty good.’”

Cape’s Luke Johnson slides safely into home plate for one of his two runs scored in Thursday’s state tourney win.

Ostroski’s multi-run scoring double was just half of Cape’s six-run fifth inning.

The 12th-seeded Vikings used the two-out rally to cruise to a 10-0 victory over 21st-seeded Caesar Rodney High in the opening round of the DIAA baseball state tournament Thursday afternoon.

The five-inning game took just 90 minutes to play.

The win sets up the defending champion Vikings (14-5) with a second-round road game at No. 5 Milford High Saturday at noon.

Just six days removed from a rough outing against St. Mark’s High, senior Mason Fluharty bounced back to toss a shutout against the Riders (10-9).

Cape’s ace used just 74 pitches, allowing four hits and striking out seven.

Mason Fluharty pitched a five inning complete game shutout in Thursday’s first round matchup.

“I came into the game a little bit nervous that it was going to happen again, but you have to flush that,” Fluharty said. “When we put up three runs [in the first inning] I got comfortable and started to pound the zone early and just flew by. It felt really good.”

“Coming into today, Mason was excited to get back on the mound,” said Cape coach Ben Evick. “For him to be excited and then to start throwing strikes the way he did early in the game really helped us out a lot.”

Ostroski and Fluharty each had two-hit games, while Luke Smailer, Luke Johnson, Robert Baxley, Grant Evans and Logan Dominick registered one each.

Brandon Hatch started the game on the mound for CR, tossing 4.2 innings with five strikeouts before being relieved by Andrew Rigby.
Hatch, Chris Friend, Wilfredo Mendez and Dwayne Graham collected the four hits for the Riders, with Graham’s ground rule double being the lone extra-base hit for CR.

The Vikings plated three runs in the bottom of the first inning, with two coming off a Baxley ground ball to the second baseman, scoring Johnson and Fluharty.

CR’s Brandon Hatch tossed 4.2 innings in Thursday’s state tournament game.

Baxley later scored on an Ostroski double to right field to extend the early lead to 3-0.

“Whenever you can score in the first inning you can kind of set a tone for how the game may go,” Evick said.

Fluharty blew through the first three innings with minimal issues, collecting four strikeouts, before CR put together a scoring threat in the top of the fourth.

With runners on the corners and two outs, Cape picked a base runner off third base to end CR’s scoring opportunity.

Fluharty drove in Luke Johnson with an RBI single to extend the lead to 4-0 in the third inning.

Ostroski’s bases-clearing double was the highlight of the fifth, but it was Smailer’s RBI double that got things started.

Evans drove in a run on an RBI double, then quickly scored on a game-ending passed ball just three pitches later to cap the scoring in the bottom of the fifth.

“Looking towards Saturday, we’re ready to go,” said Evick. “We’ve got pitchers, we’ve got guys swinging the bat, so we’re pretty excited.”

“We have to go up there and get the job done,” said Ostroski.

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