Velazquez strikes out 14, Dover baseball defeats Polytech 5-0

WOODSIDE – All that stood between Dominic Velazquez and a no-hitter was a bloop single to shallow right field and the pitch count.

The Dover High junior starting pitcher shut down Polytech High on the road Thursday night, striking out 14 batters and allowing just one base hit in the Senators’ 5-0 Henlopen North baseball win.

“The mentality coming in was just one pitch at a time, use the fastball to get ahead and just keep throwing it,” Velazquez said.

“He was very composed,” said Dover coach Dave Gordon. “His fastball command was there, and he mixed in a couple of nice sliders that froze them up. Hats off to him.”

Velazquez, who didn’t even realize he had accumulated 14 strikeouts, had one-two-three innings on two separate occasions with the help of his fastball and the defense behind him.

“I didn’t even realize it,” he said. “I just got in a groove and kept on going.”

During the first six games of the season pitchers can’t throw more than 85 pitches, so after hitting the 85-pitch mark with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning senior Michael Carrington took over on the mound and used just 10 pitches to record the last two outs.

“He was very composed, he got ahead of hitters,” Gordon said of Velazquez. “Something that we really talked to him about with the pitch count is you have to get ahead.

“Unfortunately, I still had to take him out, but he had 85 pitches and went into the seventh, so that’s pretty good. We were happy about that.”

Offensively, Dover collected seven hits and used a three-run fourth inning fueled by a two-run single from Andrew Carney to improve to 4-1 on the season.

Carrington finished 3-for-4 with one run batted in at the plate.

The loss dropped the Panthers to 2-2 on the year.

After beginning the season 3-1 and blowing a lead against Polytech in the fifth game of the season last year, Gordon didn’t want his team to make the same mistake twice.

“Last year we were in the same position, we were 3-1 and playing Polytech and we lost. We blew a lead late,” he explained. “It’s a Northern Division game, so for us to come on the road – [coach] George Eilers has a great club and a great coaching staff – it’s big, we’re happy to come out of here with a W.”

“We were in the same position last year and we just let it slip away,” added Velazquez. “It feels good, we’re just taking it one day at a time. We have to come out and have a good day of practice tomorrow.”

Dover struck early, plating a run in the top half of the first inning after shortstop Hiram Davis was hit by a pitch in the first at bat and came around to score on a Velazquez fielder’s choice.

Carrington nearly drove in another run with a single to left field, but Polytech gunned down the baserunner at the plate to end the half inning and prevent any further damage.

Velazquez struck out the side in the bottom half of the first inning and struck out four more batters in the second and third innings.

“That kid can pitch,” Carney said. “We know that whenever he’s on the mound he’s going to pitch his butt off.”

Sophomore left fielder Alec Rodriguez led off the top of the fourth with a single to right field and Velazquez reached base on a Polytech fielding error.

With two on and no outs, Carrington drove in Rodriguez with an RBI single to left field. Carney followed it up with his two-RBI single, scoring courtesy runner Gabriel Skay and Carrington and breaking the game open.

“The first pitch was right down the middle and I missed it, so I told myself if he threw it there again, I was going to piece it up and get some runners in,” Carney explained. “That’s something we’re working on, hitting with runners in scoring position.”

The three-run inning put the Senators ahead 4-0 as Velazquez continued his dominant performance on the mound.

“We’re all seeing the ball really well, so it’s really great for the team,” said Carney.

Austin Biddle recorded Polytech’s lone hit of the night, dropping a bloop single down the right field line with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Junior Nathan Turner drove in courtesy runner Jeremy Steele in the top of the sixth inning to add an insurance run and cap the scoring for the Senators.

Turner finished the game 2-for-4 with the one RBI at the plate.

Freshman Connor Bartlett tossed 5 2/3 innings and struck out a pair of batters for the Panthers. Bartlett retired the side in order in the second and third innings.

Junior Christian Roberts pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief for the Panthers, retiring all four batters he faced and striking out one.

“Andrew had a big hit, Michael had a big hit, we misread a home run ball that we got thrown out in the first inning, but they’re all mistakes that we can learn from and get better at,” Gordon said. “I still feel like we haven’t fully had a complete hitting game yet, but I hope that’s still to come.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@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.
Facebook Comment