Vikings power past CR 11-1, take first place in North

Cape’s Zach Dale (10) is congratulated by his teammates after he hit a two run homer in Tuesday afternoon’s victory over CR. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

CAMDEN — Mason Fluharty left Caesar Rodney High with ice wrapped around his elbow.

The Cape Henlopen High junior was hit with a fastball on his left elbow, which he admitted hurt quite a bit.

But the thing hit the hardest on Tuesday was the ball Fluharty smoked into the woods in his final at-bat.

Fluharty led a four-homer barrage as the Vikings earned a 11-1 win in six innings over Caesar Rodney in a matchup between the final two teams unbeaten in Henlopen Conference play.

The Vikings’ Zach Gelof pitches against CR.

With the win, Cape Henlopen moved into sole possession of first-place in the Henlopen Conference Northern Division. The Vikings are 9-0 in the Henlopen Conference and 11-2 overall.

Fluharty made sure the game did not go the full seven innings with a three-run home run in the top of the sixth. It provided some temporary relief for his aching elbow.

“I didn’t feel it when it I was rounding the bases,” Fluharty said. “It felt pretty good. Then I got out in the field again and it hurt bad.”

Zach Dale, Lucas Johnson and Zach Gelof also homered for the Vikings.

Dale broke the game open with a two-run shot to the opposite field. The Riders had just cut the lead to 3-1 heading to the top of the fifth but Dale parked one over the fence in right.

“The coaches put some pressure on me to get a nice little rally started for us and luckily I did,” Dale said. “I always have the same approach every time, I just try to get the fat part of the bat to the ball.”

Johnson followed with a solo-homer of his own over the fence in left for a 6-1 lead midway through the fifth inning.

Gelof hit his home run to the opposite field as well, lining a hard solo-shot over the fence in right in the sixth. After a run scored on an error Fluharty’s homer made the lead 10 runs.

Caesar Rodney first baseman Samuel Ervin reaches for a pickoff attempt against Cape’s Zachary Gelof in the first inning at CR.

Fluharty drove in four on the day with a pair of hits. Johnson drove in two while Austin Elliot recorded two hits and two runs. Tim Vitella and Jakob Gelof also had a RBI.

The hard-hit balls are something the Vikings have been emphasizing this season. They have what they call a “mash chart” in the dugout to keep track of that.

“If you hit the ball hard, it’s a mash,” Dale said. “If you hit the ball hard, good things will happen.”

Brnadon Hatch paced the CR offense with a 2-for-3 performance and a double. The Riders (8-1 Henlopen North, 10-3 overall) scored their lone run when Chris Friend singled and eventually scored on an error in the bottom of the fourth.

Zach Gelof threw a complete game to record the win on the mound. He struggled with his control early, loading the bases in the third without allowing a hit, but rebounded and did not surrender an earned run.

“Very much so,” he said of experiencing some control problems early. “It was tough but I knew at the end of the day if I could throw strikes my teammates had my back and they did this game.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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