Dover softball earns historic victory at Sussex Central

GEORGETOWN – Freshman starting pitcher Alexis Dowdy has the Dover High softball program in a position it’s never been before.

Following Saturday afternoon’s 25-4 win over Henlopen North opponent Sussex Central High, the Senators are off to its first 3-0 start in program history.

The win is extra special for Senators’ coach Gerald Jester, a 1981 Sussex Central graduate.

“This is my home,” he said. “I’ve been looking forward to coming back here and playing some good ball.”

The Golden Knights (1-2) outscored the Senators by a combined score of 56-5 over the previous five meetings prior to Saturday’s matchup.

“It’s been a long time coming, but we came to play today,” Jester continued. “We had a great practice yesterday, so I told the girls if we came to play like we practiced yesterday then we’d get to where we wanted to go, and they came to play.”

The Dover girls plated 23 runs in the top half of the first inning and collected 19 hits in the five-inning game.

“As far as I know, this is our first win against Sussex Central ever,” said Jester. “I’m tickled to death for every single one of them because they’ve all busted their tails and worked so hard. It’s a young season, we’re going to celebrate this win today and then tomorrow we’re going to get ready for the next game.”

Dowdy, in just the third start of her high school career, struck out five batters in her five innings of work against the Golden Knights (1-2).

“She’s the real deal,” Jester said of Dowdy. “She’s worked hard, it’s not by mistake, she’s done everything you need to do to get to where she is and it’s paying off.”

“They’re a good team,” Dowdy said of Central. “I think I pitched really well and hit my spots, and my ball moved a lot. I think this does a lot for our confidence, but I couldn’t do it without my team.”

Second baseman Chelsea Johnson and catcher Kaila Quick paced the Senators’ offense with first-inning home runs.

“We hit yesterday in practice, so I told everybody if we hit the ball like we did in practice then we were going to have a good day and it was going to be a fun game – and we did,” said Jester.

“I think we played great today, we have a really solid defense and we come out hot every game. If we bring our bats, not many people can stop us,” said Johnson.

The sophomore Johnson’s homer was a first-pitch grand slam.

“I didn’t see anything, I was just swinging,” a laughing Johnson said. “The first pitch is always a strike, so I was looking for a strike.”

After being walked in her first at-bat, Quick hit a three-run home run her second time through the lineup.

“I got a pitch right down the middle, right where you want to hit it, so it went where it needed to go for sure,” she explained. “I definitely think it helped boost our energy even more and it just kept us going.”

After the 23-run first-inning explosion, the Senators plated two more runs in the second inning to cap the team’s scoring.

Sussex Central collected eight hits from five different batters.

Junior Macey Hayes collected two hits, including a solo home run over the outfield wall to break up Dover’s shutout bid in the third inning.

The Golden Knights plated three more runs in the bottom of the fifth, with Hayes, freshman Katelyn Evick and junior Shelby Verosko scoring runs.

Hayes, Evick and senior Devan Hudson each finished with two hits for the Golden Knights.

Dover’s freshman leadoff hitter Emma Crowe finished with two doubles and a triple at the plate in the first inning.

Freshman Alayna Gigliotti finished with three singles and a stolen base for the Senators.

Johnson recorded a game-high four hits at the plate, including her grand slam.

“It being my senior season, that’s a great way to kick off the season,” Quick said. “I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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