FELTON — Terren Yanero had waited patiently until his senior season to start on the Dover High baseball team.
And when his first big moment arrived, Yanero wasn’t going to let it go to waste.
Yanero sparked a six-run top of the seventh for the Senators with a leadoff single and added a two-RBI single later in the inning to help Dover rally for a 7-3 season-opening victory at Lake Forest High on Tuesday afternoon.
With the Senators trailing 3-1 entering their final at-bat, Yanero smacked the first pitch he saw for an opposite-field hit to right. Junior Dwight Wilson, another player making his first varsity start, beat out a bunt single and Triston Harris worked a walk to bring up leadoff batter Jordan Hutchins with the bases loaded and no one out.
Hutchins, a senior an University of Delaware baseball commit, ripped a liner to left to score Yanero and Wilson to tie the game.
“For a big inning to happen someone has to step up, and that was Terren,” Hutchins said. “This is one of his first times starting, and he hasn’t had much experience, but he came up big today.”
Two batters later, after a popout and a walk by Garrett Lawson, the bases were loaded again, this time for junior catcher Dmitri Floyd, who was hit in the back with a pitch, allowing Harris to trot home for the go-ahead run.
Avery Tunnell drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to left, which plated Hutchins. Freshman Hiram Davis beat out an infield single before Yanero stepped in for his second at-bat of the inning, and he finished what he started by ripping a ball through the left side of the infield, which scored a pair of runs.
“I just knew we were down and I had to get it started,” Yanero said of the final inning. “I knew this team needs one thing to get going; when we can get it going you can’t stop us.”
Hutchins retired the Spartans in order for the final three outs, helped out by a diving catch from Wilson for the first out. Hutchins, who started the game at shortstop, worked the last four innings, struck out seven and surrendered only one hit.
Hutchins hadn’t thrown more than one inning in a game for Dover in his career before Tuesday.
“Jordan was awesome,” said Dover assistant coach Dan Bunnion, acting as head coach for the contest. “He filled the zone up, threw strikes and guys made plays for him. You couldn’t ask for a better guy to come in like that.”
Lake Forest had scored a run in each of the first three innings for its two-run lead. Tyler Collins and Dylan Martin had one RBI apiece for the Spartans, while Eric Berardicelli recorded a pair of hits and stole two bases.
The Senators threatened often, but weren’t able to push across another run until the final inning. Dover had a runner thrown out at the plate to end the second, and also stranded a pair of runners a few innings later, as Lawson smoked a fly ball to left, but it was tracked down in the gap.
“I just felt like we had something in us,” Bunnion said. “We were hitting the ball hard, but right at people. I was close to making changes to the lineup, but thankfully I didn’t because all those guys came through. Everybody produced in the lineup in the seventh.”
Lawson gave Dover a 1-0 advantage in the first with a single up the middle to score Hutchins, before Lake tied it in the bottom half.
Dover was starting five players who are expected to be first-time starters this year, after the Senators graduated 12 seniors from last year’s squad, which made the state semifinals for the third straight year.
“We don’t know how good we are yet, and it took us until the seventh inning to finally jumpstart something,” Hutchins said.
“I think the past couple years we haven’t really had a game where we had to come back like this,” Bunnion said. “We did it with all these young players in there. It’s good for them to get this first game out of the way and I think we’ll get better as the season goes on.”