Dover rallies past Archmere 9-8, earns 4th straight baseball semifinals

DOVER — If they wanted to quit, Dover High’s baseball players had plenty of chances on Thursday afternoon.

The Senators trailed Archmere by two runs early and by four runs in the fifth inning.

But fourth-seeded Dover just kept battling. And by pulling out a 9-8 victory over the No. 12 Auks, the Senators are heading to the DIAA state semifinals for the fourth year in a row.

Dover (18-2) scored the final five runs of the contest, including two in the bottom of the sixth, to advance to a semifinal date with top-seeded St. Mark’s (18-2) on Saturday at Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium. The time is TBA.

Tyler Rosello grounded an RBI single just over the third-base bag to score Garrett Lawson with the tying run before Avery Tunnell’s sacrifice fly brought home Tevin Thomas with the winning run in the sixth. Lawson then set down the Auks (13-7) in order in the seventh to set off a Dover celebration in the infield.

“We believe in this team right here,” said Thomas. “We’re a family and we’re going to fight to the end. We knew we had two more at-bats and we knew we could put up runs to win this game.”

“This team has heart, we’ve got talent,” said outfielder Jarvis Worthy. “We never give up. We fight until the last inning. … I’m so excited I can’t even speak right now.”

“It stinks that someone had to lose this game,” said Dover coach Dave Gordon. “Both teams battled all the way to the end. But we’re moving on. We don’t give up. That’s like out third comeback win this year.”

The Senators battled back a couple times in the game.

They were down 8-4 before rallying for three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Worthy lined a big two-out, two-run single to center to bring Dover within 8-7.

Trailing 3-1 early in the contest, Dover stormed back in the bottom of the third. The Senators took the lead on one swing when second baseman Thomas launched a bases-loaded double over the right fielder’s head to bring in three runs.

Jordan Hutchins started the inning with a double as Dover sent nine batters to the plate in the inning.

Unfortunately for Dover, however, the Auks did plenty of hitting themselves. Archmere finished with nine hits while the Senators had 10.

Archmere got those three runs right back in the top of the fourth to take a 6-4 lead and knock starting pitcher Hutchins out of the game. The Auks then added two more runs in the fifth to stretch their advantage to 8-4.

Just like in Tuesday’s win over Red Lion, Dover fell behind in the top of the first inning.

This time, Archmere bunched together three hits, including a triple from shortstop Andrew Orzel, to grab a quick 2-0 lead.

The Senators got one back in the bottom of the inning when Hutchins singled and eventually scored on a two-out RBI single from catcher Dmitri Floyd.

The Auks manufactured another run in the third on an infield single, a walk and a pair of flyouts to go up 3-1.

Lawson pitched the final three innings, giving up two runs in the fifth before retiring seven of the last eight Archmere batters he faced. The left-hander struck out six while earning the win.

Getting to the state semifinals again means a lot to the Senators, who weren’t especially highly-touted going into the season. Dover is 0-3 in those three previous trips to the semis.

“People did doubt us,” said Worthy. “We weren’t really supposed to make it this far, people were saying. But I believe in this team. Everyone on this team believes in us, the coaches believe in us. That’s all we need.”

“Man, it feels great — going back to the semis,” said Thomas. “And every year hurts worse and worse. But I believe in this team and I love these kids like brothers. I think we’re going to pull through and be in that final game.”

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