Smyrna grads play key role for Post 25 title team

Jared Gillis (right) is one of four Smyrna High players on the Middletown Post-25 team, which won the state American Legion championship. (Delaware State News file photos)

Jared Gillis (right) is one of four Smyrna High players on the Middletown Post-25 team, which won the state American Legion championship. (Delaware State News file photos)

Shawn Dulin wasn’t sure how many innings he was going to throw on Wednesday afternoon.

But Dulin kept getting outs and his arm was feeling fine. So he never left the mound.

After nine innings, he was the center of a celebration on that mound as Middletown Post-25 won the state’s American Legion baseball championship with a 6-1 victory over Delaware Post-1 Wednesday afternoon.

Shawn Dulin threw 15 innings and allowed a total of two earned runs, good for an ERA of 1.20. He was named the Most Valuable Pitcher for his efforts.

Shawn Dulin threw 15 innings and allowed a total of two earned runs, good for an ERA of 1.20. He was named the Most Valuable Pitcher for his efforts.

Dulin is one of four recent Smyrna High grads on the Middletown team which draws players from the Middletown and Smyrna areas. Dulin’s complete game five-hitter qualified Post-25 for the Mid-Atlantic Regional in Leesburg, Va. which begins on Wednesday.

Dulin had already thrown six innings in the second round of the state tournament before he started Wednesday’s game on two-days rest. He said he tried to keep his pitch count down as much as possible, sacrificing strikeouts for groundball outs.

He finished with just one strikeout, but 16 groundouts and threw 96 pitches all while battling the intense summer heat.

“It was one of the hottest games I’ve played in,” Dulin said. “It wasn’t expecting nine innings, it was play it by ear. But I told my coach my arm was feeling good. I was just trying to throw strikes and make my defense work.”

For the entire tournament, Dulin threw 15 innings and allowed a total of two earned runs, good for an ERA of 1.20. He was named the Most Valuable Pitcher for his efforts.

Seymour went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the championship game.

Ryan Seymour went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the championship game.

Dulin is joined on the roster by Jared Gillis, Ryan Seymour and John Barkley from Smyrna. The rest of the team is made up of players from Middletown High, Appoquinimink High, St. Elizabeth, Salesianum, Caravel and Ryan Zwier, a Middletown native who used to play at Caravel before attending high school at the Christ School in North Carolina.

In the five-day, double-elimination tournament pitching is always at a premium considering the games are nine innings and Middletown Post-25 was missing one of its aces. Barkley is with the Kent County all-stars at the Big League World Series, who play their final game in South Carolina today.

Barkley’s absence meant players like Dulin needed to go further in games.

“It was pretty tough playing seven all year and knowing the tournament had nine inning games,” Seymour said. “Obviously it’s no fun not having Barkley but we had some key players step up like Ryan Zwier and Trevor Powers to throw some key innings and then you can’t say enough about what Shawn Dulin did.”

Seymour went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the championship game. Gillis meanwhile had a home run in the semifinals and scored a run with a RBI in a victory against Stahl Post-30, who had won the previous four state titles, in the third game of the tournament.

“Stahl always has been a dominant team and it’s always fun playing them,” Seymour said. “It’s great competition and it was great to break that streak up.”

Seymour, typically an infielder, even caught two games in the tournament as the Post-25 staff wanted to give its starting catcher, Zwier, a break from the heat. Zwier ended up winning the Don Kimsey Most Valuable Player in the Tournament Award.

“It was bad (catching) but I didn’t want to have all the pressure on Zwier because that’s too much to ask,” Seymour said. “I said no doubt I could do it when the coaches asked. Yeah it was hot, but the coaches provided multiple jugs of water and towels in the dugout for us.”

The team leaves Tuesday morning for the regional and opens at 7 p.m. Wednesday with a first-round game against hosts Leesburg Post-34 of Virginia.

For the Smyrna contingent, its yet another chance to play together. They’ve all were on varsity for four years of high school and some have played on the same team for even longer.

“Me and Jared have been playing on the same teams since we were nine,” Dulin said. “It feels great going together.”

“It’s special because I haven’t been able to go to a regional” “Seymour said. “To do it with some of your best friends and guys you’ve been playing with for so long, you can’t beat that.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.