Dover Junior state baseball champs eye regional tourney

Dover’s Andrew Carney circles the bases after blasting a solo home run in Saturday’s state title win over Lower Sussex. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

Dover’s Andrew Carney circles the bases after blasting a solo home run in Saturday’s state title win over Lower Sussex. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — By Saturday night, when his Dover Junior baseball team had captured the state title, Michael Davis was a pretty happy Little League coach.
He was a pretty tired one, too.

Dover had to play two games against Lower Sussex — losing by one and then winning by one — on Saturday. It was the third straight one-run game between the two teams in the state tournament.

“I just went home and rested,” said Davis. “It’s been a long run so far. It was just nice to actually catch up on some sleep — even though I still barely got some sleep, I was so excited.”

By now, though, Davis and his Dover players are ready to go again with the Eastern Regional starting on Friday in Freehold, N.J.

The team will have a sendoff on Thursday at 1 p.m. when it boards the bus at Dover Little League Park. Dover opens the 10-team, double-elimination tournament with a 1 p.m, game against Rhode Island on Friday.

“We’re very excited, we can’t wait,” said Davis. “Not many kids get the opportunity to get this far and play for such a big title.

“I know from personal experience, when I played in it. it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I still have great memories from it today.”

Davis made it to an Eastern Regional in Senior League as a player.

Making a trip like this isn’t cheap, of course. The team has been working on fundraising, including setting up a team page on gofundme.com, to offset their expenses.

“We have busted our tails since Sunday,” said Davis. “Everyone’s pooling their resources together and we’re sticking together as a community. It’s really something special, it’s touching.”

If Dover’s players get their wish, they’ll be doing some more travelling this summer. Their goal is to win the Eastern Regional and earn a trip to the Junior League World Series in Taylor, Mich.

On the other hand, there’s nine other squads heading for New Jersey who have the same dream.

Davis likes the focus of Dover’s players, who won back-to-back Junior League District I titles.

“They’re so focused on winning this tournament,” he said. “That’s our only goal right now.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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