Fox Post 2 advances to American Legion final round today

NEW CASTLE — For the first time since 2011, there will be a different champion in Delaware American Legion baseball.

Fox Post-2’s bats made sure it still has a shot at being that team.

The Dover-area squad pounded out 16 hits for a 13-9 defeat of Middletown Post-25 on Tuesday afternoon at Wilson Field in the state tournament semifinals. If Fox Post-2 had lost, it would have been eliminated.

The final day of the double-elimination tournament is today, with three one-loss teams still alive, Fox Post-2, Middletown Post-25 and Delaware Post-1. Fox Post-2 and Delaware Post-1 will meet at 11 a.m. at Wilson Field with the winner facing Middletown Post-2 at 3 p.m. for the championship and a berth in the Mid-Atlantic Regional.

Delaware Post-1 knocked out Stahl Post-30 earlier on Tuesday. Stahl Post-30 had won the last four state titles.

Fox Post-2’s last state championship came in 2003.

Kendall Small played a big part in keeping the Dover-area team’s championship hopes alive, with three doubles and three-RBI. The former Dover High standout and current Wilmington University player sparked a rally in the sixth when Fox Post trailed 7-5 with a double to score Carter Chasanov before scoring on a single by Jake Williams to tie the game.

Adrian Hill then came home on a double steal and an error to give Fox Post a lead it would never relinquish.

Not only did Fox Post beat Middletown Post, the players had to fight through temperatures of 90 degrees or more for the fourth-straight day.

“It’s hot as hell and everyone works together to get through it,” Small said. “Shoutout to our catcher (Andrew Mace), he’s caught every inning, I don’t know how. We’re all working as one. We know we’re all tired but we’re all joking around and keeping it light in the dugout. Even if we were losing 15-0, we still would have been having fun.”

The one positive about the heat is it leads to more offense.

“When it’s hot, the ball is going to carry more,” Small said. “It doesn’t hurt as much when you hit it as when it’s cold either.”

Miguel Rivera recorded the win, tossing the first five innings. Williams, a Caesar Rodney product who is now at Lebanon Valley College, held Middletown to two runs over the final four innings.

Manager Paul Quirk wasn’t sure how much he would use Williams, considering he pitched seven innings in Fox Post’s first game of the tournament. But Quirk decided to roll with him the rest of the way after Rivera, who also threw 35 pitches on Monday, was nearing a high pitch count.

“Jake said he felt great,” Quirk said. “I planned on using him for a couple of innings. All of a sudden Miguel was looking at 100 pitches in 24 hours so it was time to move on. Jake came in and just did a great job.”

Hill contributed four RBI on the day for Fox Post, including a two-RBI single in the top of the ninth for a pair of insurance runs. Chasanov reached base in five of his six plate appearances and scored three runs with a pair of RBI while Andrew Mace chipped in a two-RBI single.

“Our team batting average is .345 for the season so it’s nothing new,” Quirk said. “They swing the bat well all the time.”

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