Player of Year Gelof heads All-State baseball team

Cape’s starting pitcher Zach Gelof in the first inning against Dover at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

Cape Henlopen High shortstop Zack Gelof doesn’t just want to get on base when he leads off the game.

He wants to score.

“If I get on first I’ll try to steal second and maybe third so they can hit me in,” Gelof said. “In the end I’m just trying to get on base for everyone so they can hit me in because if I get on base it’s better for the team.”

Gelof did a lot of that this season and was awarded with the state’s Player of the Year award voted on by the members of the Delaware Baseball Coaches Association.

He was one of four Henlopen Conference players named to the All-State first team along with Dover High’s sophomore pitcher Dom Velazquez, plus two more seniors from Cape Henlopen’s state championship team in pitcher David Erickson and outfielder Austin Elliott.

Gelof batted .493 his senior year with an on-base percentage of .613 in 22 games. He scored 37 runs, stole 28 bases, hit seven home runs, six doubles, two triples and recorded 35 hits for the year.

Cape Henlopen coach Ben Evick said Gelof’s ability to get on base as Cape’s leadoff hitter was one of the keys to Cape’s championship season.

“Whenever he does that it seems to unload for us,” Evick said. “He’s been that guy for us for four years. When he starts the game off with a big hit and we score in the first inning, we’re hard to beat.”

Gelof is signed to play at the University of Virginia. Just this week he was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 38th round of the MLB Amateur Draft. He will play in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League in New England this summer.

Dover’s Dominic Velazquez pitches against Cape at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington.

Velazquez was one of only two sophomores to make the first team.

He helped spark Dover’s run from the No. 17 seed in the state tournament all the way to the state semifinals where the Senators took the eventual champions 10 innings.

For the season, Velazquez went 7-2 and struck out 97 in 59 total innings. He had an earned-run-average of 2.02 and held opponents to a batting average of .170.

Velazquez’s most memorable moment of the year came against Salesianum in the quarterfinals. He took over on the mound in the bottom of the eight with the bases loaded and no outs and proceeded to strike out the side.

All of six outs against Salesianum were strikeouts and he also struck out 11 against top-seeded William Penn in the second round.

Velazquez also struck out eight in six innings on the final day of the regular season when the Senators needed to win at Delaware Military Academy to ensure they would make the playoffs.

“He had a great regular season and I don’t want to take anything away from his regular season but we felt like he turned it up another notch when it became playoff time,” said Dover coach Dave Gordon. “He turned into a beast when our backs were up against the wall. We thought he took his game to another level.”

Velazquez also started the semifinal game against Cape Henlopen and struck out nine in four innings before he needed to be removed due to pitch-count restrictions.

“We’re looking at a kid who wants the ball as much as possible and wants to put his team on his back and will them to victory,” Gordon said. “You saw that in the playoffs. His start at William Penn, what he did in relief at Sallies and then what he gave us against Cape,, you saw a kid who was trying to do whatever it took for his team to advance.”

Velazquez, who has a verbal commitment to the University of Delaware, also was named an honorable mention at third base. He batted .343 on the season with a .477 on-base percentage, 20 runs, two triples, a homer and 12 RBI.

Elliott made the first team as a centerfielder and was on the second team as a pitcher. The University of North Carolina signee batted .417 with seven home runs, 20 RBI, 25 hits, eight doubles and had an on-base percentage of .593.

Erickson, who will pitch at Liberty University next year, started nine games for the Vikings and went 6-1 with an ERA of 1.90. He held opponents to a batting average of .170 and struck out 69 in 48 innings.

He started the state title game and pitched into the seventh inning to help the Vikings earn their first ever baseball state championship.

“These guys had so much pressure on them to do this,” Evick said of his seniors. “They stuck the plan, it didn’t happen the first three years but they just kept pounding and kept pounding and believed in themselves. They deserve everything that happened.”



All-State Team

First team

P-David Erickson, Sr. Cape Henlopen

P-Dominic Velazquez, So. Dover

C-Marshall Awtry, Sr. Conrad

1B-Nick Zegna, Sr. Newark

2B-Ryan Speed, Sr. Hodgson

3B-Kevin Buglio, Sr. Newark Charter

SS-Zack Gelof, Sr. Cape Henlopen

OF-Austin Elliott, Sr. Cape Henlopen

OF-Javon Fields, Sr. Appoquinimink

OF-Nicholas Hertzfeld, Sr. Delaware Military

DH-Noah Finocchiaro, Jr. St. Georges

U-Joey Silan, Sr. Caravel

Player of the Year: Zack Gelof, Sr., Cape Henlopen

Coach of the Year: Marvin Dooley, William Penn

Assistant Coach of the Year: Bill Moore, Newark Charter

Second team

P-Ryan Insley, So. William Penn

P-Austin Elliott, Sr. Cape Henlopen

P-Aaron Holiday, Sr. Caravel

P-Jacques Dubecq, Sr. St. Mark’s

C-Zach Pritchard, So. William Penn

1B-Gabe Rincon, So. Delmar

2B-Luke Johnson, So. Cape Henlopen

3B-Josh Maguire, Sr. Salesianum

SS-Brian Gilardi, Sr. St. Mark’s

OF-Mike Dellose, Jr. Archmere

OF-C.J. Wilkerson, Jr. William Penn

OF-Bruce Greenly, Sr. Milford

DH-Dominic Petrucci, Sr. Delaware Military

U-Matt Warrington, Sr. Sussex Tech

Honorable mention

P-Wyatt Nelson, So. Wilm. Friends

P-Chad Reichold, So. Milford

P-Luke Wootten, Sr. Middletown

P-Jody Mullen, Jr. Wilm. Friends

C-Anthony Frenchette, Sr. Salesianum

C-Cole Hitch, Sr. Indian River

C-Brandon Karpinski, Sr. Brandywine

1B-Brett Brooks, Sr. St. Elizabeth

1B-Jake Hansen, Sr. Conrad

1B-Brady Parks, Sr. Sussex Tech

1B-Brandon Ferrera, Sr. McKean

2B-Colin Smith, Jr. Del. Military

2B-Will Davis, So. Wilm. Friends

3B-Shawn Haut, So. Hodgson

3B-Dominic Velazquez, So. Dover

SS-Nate Thomas, Sr. St. Elizabeth

SS-Matt Hammond, Jr. William Penn

OF-Jake Gelof, So. Cape Henlopen

OF-Jake Walls, Sr. Middletown

OF-Brad Kaden, Sr. Caravel

OF-Zach Dale, Sr. Cape Henlopen

OF-Aiden Riley, Jr. St. Georges

DH-Caden Oplinger, Sr. Milford

DH-Michael Barter, Sr. Polytech

U-J.J. Killen, Jr. Indian River

U-Mason Keene, So. Appoquinimink

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