Oliphant shines for Gold in 6-5 baseball All-Star loss to Blue

WILMINGTON — As a leadoff hitter, Luke Oliphant wants to reach base whenever he can.

Oliphant did just that for the Gold team in the Blue-Gold senior baseball all-star game on Monday night.

Oliphant, of Sussex Tech, won the team Most Valuable player award for the Gold, after he reached base all three times up, scored twice and stole one base.

“I just tried to set the table for my team,” Oliphant said. “I tried to get on to score runs and steal bases. That’s my game. It definitely feels great.”

The Gold team came up just short, falling to the Blue 6-5 despite a late rally in the annual all-star game for seniors hosted at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington.

Carter Chasanov of Polytech connects with the ball in the 2017 Blue-Gold All Star baseball game at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington on Monday. (Special to The Delaware State News / Doug Curran)

The Gold outhit the Blue, 13-8 but were hampered by five errors. Gold represented Kent and Sussex counties along with Middletown-area schools. The Blue was made up of the rest of the New Castle County teams.

The Gold trailed 6-2 entering the ninth inning but was able to bring the potential winning run to the plate in the inning. The contest ended with two runners left on base.

Evan Nibblett of Seaford pitches in the 2017 Blue-Gold All Star baseball game at Frawley Stadium.

Polytech’s Joey Haass had a RBI-double in the ninth to make it a 6-3 game. Haass’ teammate from Polytech, Cole Garey then drove him in with an infield hit.

Sussex Central’s Trey Toppin followed with a double to score a courtesy runner to make it a 6-5 game, but that would be the final run of the night.

Haass also led the Gold on the mound tossing a pair of shutout innings with two strikeouts.

Gold team players stand ready on the field after introductions.

The Gold did lead 1-0 after the first inning when Oliphant singled and eventually came home on a base hit by Appoquinimink’s Ryan Steckline. The Blue answered with three runs in the second inning highlighted by a two-RBI double by Chris Ludman of St. Mark’s.

Oliphant scored again on a Steckline single in the fifth.

“It’s definitely a big honor to play in this game,” Oliphant said. “I’m just humbled to be out here.”

Dover’s Avery Tunnell stole a base while Milford’s Ethan Hurd had a single. Woodbridge’s Doug Avery pitched one scoreless inning with two strikeouts to round out the top downstate performers.

Carter Casanova of Polytech scoops up a ball.

For some of the Gold players, this isn’t their last time representing their high school baseball teams.

Several are on the Delaware South roster for the Carpenter Cup tournament this week in Philadelphia, featuring teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Delaware South’s first game is Friday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. at the Urban Youth Academy Showcase Field in Philadelphia’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park. If Delaware South wins, it will advance to the quarterfinals on Monday, June 19 at 2 p.m.

The semifinals are Friday, June 23 and the finals are Saturday, June 24. Both will be hosted at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

So there’s still been plenty of baseball to concentrate on since the season ended.

“We graduated two weeks ago so since then I’ve tried to stay focused and in the game of baseball,” Oliphant said. “Carpenter Cup is coming up so I’ve been trying to get out and hit and throw. It’s nice to be here and play with my friends I know from downstate and upstate.”

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