Young Senators rally in 8th to beat Panthers 7-3

Dover pinch-runner Dylan Jacobs steals second in the sixth inning with a late tag by Miguel Rivera of Polytech. Jacobs wasted no time stealing third and scored on a wild pitch to put the Senators ahead 3-2. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

WOODSIDE — The Dover High baseball team might be almost all new faces but the Senators sent a message Thursday they aren’t going anywhere.

Dover scored four runs in the top of the eighth to edge Polytech 7-3 in an extra-inning Henlopen Conference Northern Division contest. With the win the Senators improved to 3-0 on the young season while the Panthers suffered their first loss to fall to 2-1.

Seven of Dover’s nine starters in Thursday’s lineup are in their first year as varsity starters.

Dover’s Hiram Davis showed bunt but pulled back from an inside pitch against Polytech Thursday afternoon.

“We do have a young team yes, but we’re all ready to play,” said sophomore Andrew Carney who had a RBI-single in the eighth. “We didn’t get down when adversity came.”

“All we’ve heard in the beginning of this year is how Dover lost everybody. It feels good to prove those people wrong.”

“Yeah I got a young team but I got a lot of baseball players here,” said Dover coach Dave Gordon. “A lot of kids play Legion, Big League and travel ball. They play all the way up to Thanksgiving. … I didn’t think they looked too nervous. It was a tight game, but we showed up and I’m proud of them.”

Dylan Jacobs of Dover celebrates after he scores the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the sixth inning against Polytech on Thursday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

One of those young players is freshman Dom Velazquez who played a pivotal part in the Dover victory.

Velazquez reached base in all four of his at-bats and finished 2-for-2. He also pitched the final three innings where he twice stranded a Polytech runner on second.

Velazquez recorded a pair of strikeouts to start the bottom of the eighth before he induced a grounder to third for the final out of the game.

“We have a lot of heart and we play together as a team,” Velazquez said. “We’re never down in a game. We’re always in it.”

Another youngster, sophomore Hiram Davis started the game on the mound for the Senators and pitched into the fifth inning. Combined, Velazquez and Davis struck out nine.

“It’s little bit of a coming out party for a freshman but lets not lose the

Andrew Gardner of Polytech starts for home on an overthrow from Dover’s catcher but stumbled and had to return to third as Dover’s Dominic Velazquez tries to get back on his feet.

fact that Hiram also pitched excellent,” Gordon said. “That was his first start in a big Henlopen North game. I thought he pitched great.”

Dover trailed 1-0 early but took a one-run lead twice later on only to have Polytech battle back to tie. The Senators led 3-2 going into the bottom of the seventh but Cole Garey’s RBI-double sent the game in extra innings.

In the eighth, the Senators loaded the bases with back-to-back walks followed by a fielder’s choice where all runners were safe. Velazquez drew a walk to force in a run before Dover scored again on a wild pitch.

Dover head coach Dave Gordon goes over strategy with his infield when Polytech threatened to score in the fifth inning.

The next two runs in the inning came off a sacrifice fly by Noah Lanouette and on Carney’s single. Lanouette finished with a pair of RBI.

“That’s just how we play,” Lanouette said. “We don’t give up and always make sure we do our best. We all play our roles and worked together to get a team win.”

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