Senators hang on, edge Spartans 6-5 in baseball opener

Dover’s Hiram Davis chases down a pop fly against Lake Forest in the first inning during Tuesday’s game at Dover. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Dave Gordon needed to find someone who could record three more outs.

The Dover High baseball coach picked Andrew Carney.

Carney came in with the bases loaded and no outs to set down three straight Lake Forest High batters as the Senators earned a 6-5 victory on Tuesday afternoon in the season opener for both teams.

Carney was the third pitcher of the inning for Dover. The senior struck out the first batter he faced then got a popout followed by a flyout to strand the tying run at third base.

“That’s a big step in his career, honestly,” Gordon said. “If this was last year, I don’t know if we call him there. He’s been having a great couple weeks of practice and has been throwing the ball well. He’s more comfortable out there and trusts in himself. The talent is there, 100 percent. I’m a big fan of him and he’s going to throw a lot of innings for us this year.”

Lake Forest’s Wade Brooks pitches against Dover in the second inning.

The final inning was not expected to be that challenging.

Dover took a 6-1 lead behind the strength of junior ace Dom Velazquez. Velazquez struck out eight and pitched into the sixth inning before he had to be removed due to the pitch-count limit.

But Lake Forest’s first seven batters reached base to start the top of the seventh. That’s when Gordon called in Carney from centerfield with four runs already in and three runners on base.

“I just got to come through for my team nothing else was going through my mind,” Carney said. “We didn’t have the best game but we still fought all game and it was my duty.

Carney’s first three pitches were balls before he rebounded from the 3-0 with three strikes in a row for the first out.

“That got me into the groove,” he said.

He forced a popout to shortstop to get the second out and again got to three balls on the final batter but induced a flyball to right field.

“The life was sucked out of us at that point,” Gordon said of the seventh. “All of the momentum was over there. He comes in, doesn’t walk anybody and got the job done.

The Dover offense only had two hits on the day but earned enough walks and made enough happen on the base-paths to scratch out the six runs.

Nate Turner led the Senators with three RBI despite not having a hit. Turner had a pair of RBI groundouts, including a pivotal one in the bottom of the sixth, and a bases-loaded walk.

Dover’s Dominic Velazquez pitches against Lake Forest at Dover.

“I just love hitting when guys are on,” Turner said. “It’s fun to drive guys in. I feel like I hit better when guys are on. I’m always trying to square the ball up and hit it hard.”

Lake Forest starter Wade Brooks did not allow a hit in four innings of work until he reached the 85-pitch limit. The Senators were held hitless until the fifth when Velazquez roped a single into right.

Sam Courtney picked up the other single for Dover. He knocked in a pair of runs during the fifth inning and reached base in all three of his plate appearances.

Jaden Rivera recorded two RBI for Lake Forest and Tyler Noell had two hits. Rivera, Noell, Cameron Beulah and Adam Schiff each had a RBI-single during Lake Forest’s rally during the final inning.

“They’re going to be a tough club this year,” Gordon said. “They’re scrappy and they’re going to win some games. We might see them again, you never know.”

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