Dover repeats in Junior League baseball

WYOMING — Their plan all along was to win this title again.

And why not?

Dover returned seven players from the squad that captured last year’s District I championship in Junior League baseball.

So nobody was too surprised when Dover won its second straight Junior banner after blanking Felton-Harrington, 10-0, in six innings on Friday night.

The title puts Dover back in the state tournament, which starts on Wednesday night at Millsboro.

“That’s been our whole mantra this year — ‘Repeat,’” said manager Michael Davis, who was a coach for last year’s Dover team. “We’ve always broke the huddle to that. Every time we’re taking fielding, every time we go to hit. … They’re confident but they’re not arrogant.

“They’re very good kids. They’ve been playing together for a long time now.”

Dover is especially confident when pitcher Michael Carrington is on the mound.

On Friday, the 14-year-old right hander pitched a one-hitter with eight strikeouts and only three walks. Carrington also retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

“It’s a championship game and, if we win it, we go to states for the second year in a row so it’s just exciting to pitch it,” said Carrington, who threw the maximum 86 pitches. “The first couple batters I was a little nervous. But then when I started getting in a grove, I calmed down.

“It means a lot to win it a second year. We’ve been together so long and won so much stuff together. We’re hoping to get much farther in states this year.”

Carrington did get off to a slow start on Friday. He walked two of the first four batters he faced and threw 30 pitches in the first inning.

But Davis, who said the youngster was the unanimous choice to be Dover’s team captain, wasn’t worried.

“We said, ‘Here’s our ace, we have full faith in him,’” said Davis. “‘We’re going to ride it out.’ … He’s undoubtedly our leader.”

Offensively, Dover led only 4-0 after four innings. But it broke the game open in the fifth with five runs on six hits while sending 10 batters to the plate.

Dover then finished off the game in the sixth when Nathan Turner lined a single to right that scored Michael Baker from second base.

“They’ve got a lot of pitching and a lot of hitters,” Felton-Harrington manager Cody Lahman said about Dover. “They’re a really good team.”

In the fifth. second baseman Dominic Vasquez had a two-run single for Dover while Gabriel Skay and Daevon Stratton also had RBI singles in the inning. Vasquez finished with three RBI, Turner had two while Carrington and Andrew Carney singled home one each.

Dover collected 16 hits in the contest, getting three each from Turner and Vasquez and two apiece from Carrington and Stratton.

Felton-Harrington’s lone hit came from left fielder Cameron Beulah in the third inning. The loss didn’t make manager Cody Lahman any less proud of his team, though.

Felton-Harrington went 2-2 in the tournament, with both losses coming against Dover.

“I’m always going to be proud of them,” said Lahman, “They’re going to fight no matter what. That’s why it’s a great group of kids.”

Dover, on the other hand, wants to prove itself in the state tournament after falling short there last year. Dover will face District II champion Brandywine on Wednesday night with District III champion Lower Sussex playing the winner on Thursday.

“We learned you can’t anything for granted,” said Davis. “They’re very anxious. They’ve been hungry since last year. I’ve been thinking about the state tournament since last year.

“I’m very passionate about this team. These kids are great. You couldn’t ask for a better experience.”

“Last year we were all really nervous,” said Carrington. “This year we won’t be nervous.”

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 and walter@newszap.com.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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