Fox Post-2 makes American Legion state title game

PIKE CREEK — Dom Velazquez hopped back onto the mound for the first time in nearly a month and picked up right where he left off.

His Fox Post-2 teammates made sure to help him out too, giving him all the run support he would need in their first turn at-bat.

The Dover-area squad defeated top-seed Delvets Post-2, 10-2, in the winner bracket finals of the American Legion baseball state tournament on Wednesday afternoon at St. Mark’s High School.

Fox Post-2, the tournament’s second seed, advanced to Friday’s championship round at noon, also at St. Mark’s. It will face the winner of today’s matchup between Delvets and Canal Post 25 — the two remaining one-loss teams in the double elimination tournament.

If Fox Post-2 loses on Friday, a second championship game will be played immediately after. Fox Post-2 has not won the American Legion state crown since 2003.

Velazquez, a rising senior at Dover High, had only made one start this American Legion season as he recovers from a long high school season and playing with Delaware South in the Carpenter Cup.

He shook off whatever rust he had to throw 6.2 innings with eight strikeouts.

“It’s been a month really,” Velazquez said. “This was my second start all summer. The first couple of innings, I was really just throwing all fastballs because I couldn’t really find my off-speed stuff. But the third inning came around and I started to find it and I was fine.”

Fox Post-2 took the early lead on a two-run single by recent Dover grad Mike Carrington in the first inning. It added four more runs in the top of the second as Tre Jones, Alec Rodriguez, Carrington and Brandon Hatch each knocked in a run.

The quick start helped deal Delvets its first loss of the summer.

“Scoring early against that team is really important, we know they’re a good-hitting team,” Carrington said. “To score early and take that lead was big for us.”

Delvets threatened in the bottom half of the second when it loaded the bases with one out but Velazquez escaped with a strikeout looking and a soft grounder. He set down the side in order in the third, thanks to a diving catch in left field by Rodriguez.

Five of Velazquez’s final eight outs came on strikeouts.

“I really thought from the end of the second to about the fifth inning his curveball was as good as I’ve ever seen it,” said Fox Post-2 coach Kevin Turner. “He really spun some good ones. It had to be really tough to hit him today.”

Velazquez wasn’t able to go the distance though thanks to the pitch-count limit. He had to be pulled with two out and one on in the seventh inning.

Joe Carpenter came on to retire the final batter on a come-backer.

Carrington went 2-for-5 with three RBI to lead the offense and his Dover teammate Rodriguez also drove in three runs and scored twice. Mason Brewer, from Caesar Rodney, finished 2-for-5 and chipped in a pair of RBI.

Brent Buckson (Polytech), Velazquez and Hiram Davis (Dover) each doubled and scored once.

“The mindset was there,” Turner said. “We didn’t waste ourselves on bad pitches and when we got something to hit, we hit it. We kept producing base-runners which put us in a lot of good situations.”

“We make a lot of jokes about the Dover boys and CR kids but this group is so tight overall,” Velazquez said. “This is probably the tightest Fox Post team I’ve been apart of.”

Jake Dunion was 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored to lead Delvets. Matt Phillips also knocked in a run while Michael Pagliei was 2-for-2.

Turner credited Fox Post-2’s tournament performance to the players commitment throughout the summer. This year was some of the highest participation numbers for Fox Post-2 in several seasons.

“Summer baseball, you got to be a warrior,” Turner said. “It’ll be 100 degrees some days, you’ll have rain delays, you’ll have cancellations and a bunch of other stuff. The kids here just love to play.”

Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at tmastro@newszap.com or 741-8224.

Follow @TimMastroDSN on Twitter.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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