Turner’s 2-run hit in 8th lifts Senators to 3-1 baseball victory over Newark Charter

WILMINGTON — Nate Turner wanted to reward his pitchers for a well-pitched game.

And when the Dover High senior got the pitch he wanted, he didn’t miss it.

Turner’s two-RBI single in the top of the eighth inning gave the Senators a 3-1 extra-inning victory over Newark Charter in a matchup of two of the state’s top baseball teams at Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium on Tuesday night.

Dom Velazquez pitched 6.1 innings of shutout ball for the Senators. Mike Carrington got the last five outs as Dover improved to 8-1 thanks to its seventh win in a row.

“I just really wanted to come through for my team,” Turner said. “We fought hard, Dom threw a great game and Mike came in and shut them down too. I really wanted to come through in the clutch for our guys.”

Neither team scored a run during the first seven innings, sending the contest to extras.

Keon Malone led off the top of the eighth with a walk. The next batter, Hiram Davis was asked to bunt and he sent a perfect one down the third-base line.

Davis beat the bunt out and pinch-runner Dylan Jacobs noticed no one was covering third and sprinted to the bag. After a late throw to third, Davis took second base.

“That’s two kids making a play,” said Dover coach Dave Gordon. “It had nothing to do with me. I put bunt on but the base-running they did was all on them. They got themselves in scoring position for the big hit.”

Dover followed with a shallow flyout before Alec Rodriguez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Turner soon found himself with two strikes on him but the left-handed hitter pulled a fastball down the first base line to score two.

“I was really excited for Nate,” Carrington said. “He’s having a really big year and he really came up clutch when we needed him.”

Velazquez added a sacrifice fly to score Rodriguez as an insurance run.

Carrington did have to tiptoe out of trouble in the bottom half. Newark Charter loaded the bases after two infield hits and a grounder through the hole between third and short.

Newark Charter got one of those runs home on an error but Carrington, relying almost exclusively on curveballs low and away, struck out three of the next four batters to seal it.

“In the bullpen the curveball wasn’t there at all,” Carrington said. “I had to keep working on it. When I got into the game, I really felt it and it boosted me so much. I was able to throw it whenever I needed it.”

Velazquez finished with another dominant outing.

The junior struck out nine and scattered just three hits. He had to be removed due to the 105 pitch count limit in the bottom of the seventh.

Velazquez only found himself in trouble twice and found a way out of it both times.

He loaded the bases in the first inning before striking out the side. Then in the sixth Newark Charter had the first two batters reach on walks.

Velazquez got the first out of the inning on a sacrifice bunt before the Patriots popped up a squeeze attempt right to Jacobs, who was playing near the mound from his second-base position. Velazquez retired the final batter of the inning on a fly to right.

Newark Charter entered the game with a 6-1 record including wins over Salesianum, Caravel and Caesar Rodney.

“It’s big because they’re top-five in the state,” Velazquez said. “I was trusting my fastball, trying to get ahead. This is what we play for. This is what we want to do.”

It was the first time Dover won a game at Frawley Stadium, home of the Wilmington Blue Rocks of the Carolina League, since a regular season game against Milford in 2015. The Senators had lost three-straight at Frawley Stadium, all semifinal state tournament contests (2015, 2016, 2018).

“It definitely had a state tournament atmosphere,” Gordon said. “The kids (Gene) Matthews and (Brett) Callahan (Newark Charter’s two pitchers Tuesday) are two of the top arms in the state. … It feels good to get the W and it feels real good to get a win at Frawley Stadium.”

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