Senators head to quarterfinals following 10-3 win against Red Lion

 

DOVER — The results may be the same.

But this isn’t the same Dover High baseball team that’s reached the DIAA state semifinals three years in a row.

Indeed, after graduating a big senior class last spring, the Senators were hardly a lock to even get back to the state tournament this season.

Fourth-seeded Dover continued to roll along, however, downing No. 13 Red Lion Christian, 10-3, in its state tourney opener on Tuesday afternoon.

The victory sends the Senators (17-2) to a quarterfinal matchup with No. 12 Archmere (13-6) on Thursday at a site and time TBA.

Dover, which has won 11 games in a row, is now 7-3 in the state tourney over the last four seasons.

“I guarantee you, everybody in the state thought we weren’t going to be here at this point right now,” said senior Garrett Lawson, the winning pitcher on Tuesday. “No one thought we would go 16-2.

“But our team has a bond. Our team connected really well, even in the weight room before the season. That translated onto the field. We have each other’s back.”

Red Lion (17-3) started the afternoon with a 6-5 victory over No. 20 Milford. The contest was resumed at Dover with the score 5-5 in the 10th inning after being suspended on Monday.

After scoring a quick run in the bottom of the 10th to beat the Buccaneers, the Lions started out with a run in the top of the first against the Senators.

It was a tough start for Lawson, who struck out the side but also walked a batter, threw a couple wild pitches and allowed the run on an infield single.

But the tall left-hander quickly got the chance to redeem himself in the bottom of the first.

After a single from shortstop Jordan Hutchins, Lawson belted a two-run home run over the right field fence. The homer gave Dover the lead for good and sparked a seven-run outburst in the first that put the Senators in control.

It was Lawson’s first home run of the season.

“I just really wanted to get him (Hutchins) over to third in scoring position so we can get a run back,” he said. “I just put a good swing on it. It felt good. That was the first solid ball I probably hit all year to be honest with you.”

“We’ve been working on his swing and he absolutely hit a laser beam out of here,” said Dover coach Dave Gordon. “It definitely picked us up right away. That’s what a senior does. He was ready to carry us.”

The Senators sent 13 batters to the plate in the first, collecting five hits but also taking advantage of one walk, two hit batters and three errors in the inning. Red Lion misplayed two infield popups in the first.

Semaj Kelly had a two-run single before sophomore Jarvis Worthy smacked an RBI double to left center. Worthy later had a triple as the Senators finished with 10 hits in the contest.

Dover gradually added to its lead, going up 10-2 after five innings. Along with committing four errors, Red Lion’s pitchers also walked two and hit six batters.

The comfortable early lead allowed Gordon to use four pitchers in the game. Lawson struck out six in three innings.

Jared Hickox, Hiram Davis and Hutchins completed the combined six-hitter with 10 strikeouts.

Like Lawson, Gordon said there’s something different about this Dover squad. He said the Senators do a pretty good job of taking everything in stride.

Now they’re one victory away from getting back to the state semifinals for the fourth straight year.

“They love showing up,” said Gordon. “They’re already excited about practice tomorrow. We’re going to put together a good plan and we’re going to fix some things we need to work on. I’m pretty sure they’re going to show up again on Thursday.”

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