Local college notebook: Spadafino shines in last Dover game

Senior righthander Nick Spadafino’s final game in his hometown was special when he went seven innings, allowed only one run and five hits while striking out five. The Blue Hens eventually won the game, 3-1, in 13 innings. UD sports information photo

DOVER — Nick Spadafino knows this is the twilight of his playing career.

His baseball future is measured in weeks now, not seasons.

That point wasn’t lost on the Dover High grad when he took the mound for Delaware at Delaware State on Tuesday afternoon.

“I really wanted to make one of my last outings be a good one,” Spadafino was quoted on Bluehens.com. “As the season and my career come to an end, I think it’s important for me to really have fun and enjoy the moment.”

So that made the senior righthander’s final game in his hometown special when he went seven innings, allowed only one run and five hits while striking out five. The Blue Hens eventually won the game, 3-1, in 13 innings.

It’s been a tough spring for Spadafino.

He’s winless in 12 appearances this season and, with some talented young pitchers coming up behind him, he lost his starting spot in Delaware’s weekend rotation.

But that doesn’t mean the Hens aren’t still pulling for the well-liked Spadafino, who was 16-6 in his first three seasons. He’s in his second season as a team captain.

“The best part to me is he has not stopped working and rooting for his teammates,” Delaware coach Jim Sherman said after the DSU game. “We made the tough decision to move him out of the weekend rotation, but today hopefully is a confidence booster for him and exactly what the doctor ordered.

“I keep telling him that somewhere along the line he’s going to play a big role for this team as we head down the stretch of the season. Hopefully, this is the start of that.”

Nick Spadafino

While Tuesday’s game was Spadafino’s last appearance as a college athlete in Dover, it will hardly be the last time he’s seen around the playing fields of his hometown.

A former three-sport athlete for the Senators, Spadafino was recently hired as a phys ed teacher at his alma mater. Nobody would be surprised if he ended up on a Dover coaching staff or two.

Before he’s done pitching, though, Spadafino wants to help the Hens win a second-straight Colonial Athletic Association baseball title.

Delaware made a memorable run through the league tourney last spring. The season ended with Spadafino allowing just one run in 5.1 innings in the NCAA Tournament against No. 15 Arizona.

Spadafino would love to help the Hens get that far again.

“Whenever you have either a really good outing like today or even a good inning like I had against Saint Joe’s … it really brings some confidence back,” he said on Tuesday. “Coach Sherm and Coach (Troy) O’Neal have really been pushing me and have been great in terms of helping me keep my confidence. They told me to keep pushing and that it will come around for me.

“Knowing that they have my back has really helped me keep my confidence up.”

Notes

• As the top seed, Delaware Tech will host the NJCAA Region XIX men’s lacrosse tournament at Wesley College’s Miller Stadium this weekend.

The Hawks will host No. 4 Union County College at 1 p.m. on Saturday with No. 2 Ocean Community College playing No. 3 Brookdale at 4 p.m. The two winners will meet in the championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m.

• Former Dover High quarterback Triston Harris threw two touchdowns in Towson University’s spring football game last Saturday. One of those was a 70-yard completion to former Delmar High standout Shane Leatherbury.

• Caesar Rodney High product Seth Brosius is in his senior year with the York (Pa.) baseball team. Brosius is batting .348 with four home runs, 38 RBI and 39 runs scored. He doubled, drove in a run and scored once on York’s Senior Day on Thursday.

• Through his first 31 games with the Slippery Rock baseball team, Abraham Mow, a Milford High grad, is batting .355 with seven home runs, 30 RBI and 35 runs.

• Pat Matsko (Caesar Rodney) has played in four games for the No. 16-ranked Christopher Newport men’s lacrosse team and has scored two goals.

• Mike Pegues, the former University of Delaware basketball star and assistant coach, is now an assistant coach at Louisville. Pegues was an assistant at Xavier since 2011 and followed head coach Chris Mack to join his staff at Louisville this offseason.

• Former Delaware basketball standout Ryan Daly was officially announced as a St. Joseph’s signee on Wednesday. The 6-foot-4 guard, who scored 1,000 points in two years for the Blue Hens, will have to sit out next season after transferring in the fall.

“I’m excited that Ryan will be joining our team,” Hawks’ coach Phil Martelli said in a press release. “He has a proven ability to score baskets, but it’s his work ethic and desire to improve that is most intriguing.”

• Wins have been difficult to come by for DSU’s 8-30 baseball squad. But the Hornets are 5-6 since snapping a 20-game losing streak.

• The Wilmington University baseball team, which includes a handful of downstate players, was ranked No. 8 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II East Region poll this week.

• A pair of Polytech High student-athletes announced their college destinations this week. A.J. Foster is going to continue his track & field career at Eastern (Pa.) University while Kaylee Williams plays to play volleyball for Elizabeth City State, N.C.

• Wesley College held its year-end athletic awards banquet last week with softball player Ashley Royer named the school’s Female Athlete of the Year and football player Matt Gono earning the award for the Wolverine men.

• Former Polytech High All-Stater Jamie Trabaudo has seen action in five games this spring as a freshman midfielder for the North Carolina women’s lacrosse team. She missed all last season after undergoing knee surgery.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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