Doubles help CR roll to 12-3 win over Smyrna

SMYRNA — The Caesar Rodney High baseball team quadrupled up on doubles on Tuesday afternoon.

The Riders hit four doubles in a row in the first inning to highlight a 12-3 win at Smyrna High in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division contest. Caesar Rodney improved to 9-6 overall with the victory.

The Riders plated five runs in the first thanks to the doubles by Ryan Rigby, Brandon Hatch, Chris Friend and Mason Brewer,

“It got us going,” Hatch said. “We’re starting to get hot at the right time. This is the right time to be peaking. We’re doing that and it feels great.”

Caesar Rodney scored all five of those runs before it made an out.

The Riders then added three more runs in the top of the second. They led 8-0 until Smyrna pulled three runs back but CR ended the game with five runs in the final two innings.

Caesar Rodney has scored 10 runs or more in each of its last five victories.

“We’re on a roll now,” Rigby said. “I think if we keep playing like this we can be in the state tournament. I think this puts us in a good position.”

Hatch led the way on Tuesday with a 3-for-5 day at the plate and three RBI. Rigby and Nicholas Sipe each knocked in a pair of runs while Friend scored three times.

The Riders finished with six doubles as Hatch hit another in the later innings followed by one from Dwayne Graham. Jackson Rall, Andrew Rigby and Jayden Wolford knocked in a run apiece.

“Our team has really been hitting the ball well the last month,” said CR coach Jeff Gravatt. “We’ve relied a lot on that. Our pitching has done well too but our offense has just exploded recently.”

Caesar Rodney recorded 14 hits on the day.

Smyrna was led by Hunter Barr’s two-hit game and Trevor Dickinson who doubled. Barr, Layne Bell and Logan Unterreiner each drove in a run during a three-run second inning for the Eagles.

Caesar Rodney avenged a 8-5 loss to the Eagles from a year ago. The Riders have now won four of their last five games this season.

It has put them in position to likely qualify for the DIAA state tournament for the second year in a row if the Riders can string a few more wins together.

Their 9-6 record looks even better considering the Riders began the season with only one win through their first four matchups. The 1-3 start served as a wakeup call Rigby said.

“I think it helped us out a lot,” Rigby said. “It showed what happens if we don’t play right. We knew we had to step it up so we could get into the state tournament.”

Caesar Rodney has eight victories since that start and two of its three losses were by just one run.

“We’ve played great baseball since then even in our losses,” Gravatt said. “We’re getting better as the season goes on and that’s what you want to do. I think the intensity has picked up and the guys are working really hard. Every game at the varsity level is hard, especially in the Henlopen North. You have to respect every opponent.”

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