NEWARK — The Cape Senior League All-Stars began this year’s state baseball tournament the same way it ended last year’s event — as winners.
The defending state champions opened their title defense with a 10-0 victory on Wednesday night over Smyrna-Clayton, the District I representative, in five innings at Newark National Little League.
“Our pitchers came in and threw strikes and we played well defensively,” said shortstop Zach Gelof. “We did an all-around good job hitting and we got some base hits. We were sitting on fastballs and trying to hit them and we did a pretty good job tonight.”
Cape, the District III winner, will face Newark American of District II tonight at 7 p.m. The loser will face Smyrna-Clayton on Friday night at 7 p.m. in an elimination game.
The championship game is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. If another is needed for the double-elimination tournament it will be at Sunday at 7 p.m.
All games are hosted by Newark National at Gallagher Field.
Noah Clifton pitched four scoreless innings for Cape with four strikeouts as he scattered three hits. Sam Johnson finished the game off with a hitless top of the fifth.
Cape took a 3-0 lead after the second when it sent nine batters to the plate. It bettered that total in the third when 10 players came to bat for five runs.
Gelof paced the offense with a 3-for-4 day and a pair of RBI. He plated the first run of the game with a liner into the outfield with the bases loaded in the second inning.
Richard Carey then walked before Kyle Lux also singled home a run. Tommy Heffernan sparked the rally in the third with a RBI-single that turned out to be the first of seven consecutive hits by Cape.
Gelof earned his second RBI of the day in the inning with a single before Carey pulled a double down the third base line that scored a pair. Lux then singled again to bring home Carey.
Carey finished with three RBI while J.J. Dominick and Zach Savage each scored twice.
“It was a total team effort,” said manager Rich Carey. “It was the same thing in districts too. No matter who I put out there, these guys step up and do their jobs.”
Will Jarrell got the final hit of the game to drive in Cape’s 10th run in the bottom of the fifth.
Billy Graham reached base in all three of his at bats to lead Smyrna-Clayton. He went 1-for-1 with two walks and a stolen base.
Dylan Snow and Dylan Leaguer each had a single for Smyrna-Clayton.