Senators clinch Henlopen Conference title

Sussex Tech’s Connor Ellingsworth tried to score from third on an infield grounder and was tagged out by Dover catcher Christopher Dabney. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

GEORGETOWN — When it left his bat there wasn’t any doubt it would clear the fence.

Michael Carrington smashed a solo home run to put Dover High’s first run on the board in the top of the fourth inning.

He took a second or two to soak it in as he watched it sail over the left field fence.

“I’ve been in a struggle lately, I haven’t been hitting the ball too well,” Carrington explained. “It felt really great to just get a hit. It’s been a while, so it felt good.”

The senior Carrington’s three-hit, four RBI performance helped his Senators squad defeat Sussex Tech High, 9-6, in a nine-inning game Wednesday to clinch the Henlopen Conference title.

“It feels good. We came out here and both teams were fighting hard, we just found a way,” said junior Dominic Velazquez.

The victory, which took three hours and 25 minutes to complete, was Dover’s first win over the Ravens since April 10, 2014, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Dover head coach Dave Gordon goes to the mound to have a conference with pitcher Dominic Velazquez (right) in game with Sussex Tech Wednesday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

It improves Dover’s record to 15-1, rounding out its conference schedule with a 12-1 mark. The lone loss was a 10-9 defeat to Indian River High March 28.

“I’m just proud of the kids,” said Dover coach Dave Gordon. “We’ve been working since October, in the weight room, and battling through adversity. It’s a great group of kids, they’re 15-1 and conference champs again, so I’m just proud of them. I really am.”

Velazquez pitched 5.1 innings, striking out five Ravens before being relieved by Carrington and senior Hiram Davis.

Carrington tossed two innings, while Davis threw 1.2 innings of relief to close it out.

“We knew coming in that they were going to swing the bat, and that’s what they did,” Velazquez said of Tech. “I was just trying to get ahead, making sure everything mixed well – fastball, curveball, changeup – just let them put it in play and get some outs.”

Dover’s Michael Carrington rounds third base after blasting a two-out solo home run to tie the game against Sussex Tech. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

Senior Matt Warrington started on the mound for the Ravens (13-3), tossing 6.2 innings and striking out six. Senior Noah Covington threw 2.1 innings of relief with three strikeouts.

Tech collected 11 hits, led by two hit performances from sophomore Jason Shockley, senior Braydan Graham, junior Jalen Snead and senior Bobby Locklear.

Junior Jordan Harper and Locklear each drove in two runs, which includes a two-run homer from Harper.

Dover recorded seven hits, led by Carrington’s homer and pair of doubles.

The Ravens put up a run in the bottom of the first inning on a Shockley RBI double, scoring Ward to put Tech ahead early, 1-0.

Warrington mowed through Dover’s lineup in the first three innings, retiring nine straight at one point before Carrington’s fourth-inning homer gave the Senators its first hit.

The Senators took its first lead two innings later when Davis scored on a throwing error and Turner drove in Velazquez on a sacrifice fly to centerfield, handing Dover a 3-1 advantage.

The Ravens had an answer in the bottom of the inning as Harper drove a two-run home run over the right field fence to knot the game, 3-3, and send it to extra innings.

Dover third baseman Sam Courtney fields a slow roller but was unable to throw to first in time to get the Sussex Tech batter. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

Dover appeared to be in control in the top of the eighth inning, plating three runs with a Velazquez RBI single and a Carrington two-run double.

Tech answered once again in the bottom half, plating three of its own runs as Graham scored on a passed ball and Locklear drove a two-run single to right field.

Turner’s RBI single, a sacrifice fly from sophomore Alec Rodriguez and another RBI double from Carrington in the ninth put the game out of reach for the Senators.

“They’re a great team over there,” Carrington said. “Every time we took the lead, they came right back and punched us in the mouth. It was just a hard-fought game between both teams.”

“It’s nice to get this one, it’s a big one for seeding as far as the points and stuff, but we have to find a way to get back on the bus and play a tough Caravel squad tomorrow,” said Gordon.

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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