Dave Gordon has seen a lot of good baseball players pass through Dover High.
Center fielder Dakota Graham is right near the top of the list says Gordon, a former Dover pitcher himself who just recently completed his fifth season as head coach.
“Dakota Graham, in my eyes, will go down as one of best outfielders in Dover baseball history.” Gordon said. “He can beat you with his bat, legs, glove and arm. That is why he is a Division 1 player.”
And the Delaware Baseball Coaches Association saw what Gordon saw as Graham, who is bound for Eastern Kentucky University on a baseball scholarship in the fall, was named a first-team All-State player.
Two other Kent County players also made the first team — Smyrna High junior second baseman Ryan Seymour and Caesar Rodney High junior outfielder Quintin Ivy. Cape Henlopen High senior shortstop Kai Vitella was the only other representative on the first team from the Henlopen Conference.
Graham was a four-year starter for the Senators and batted .426 this season out of the leadoff spot where he scored 28 runs. He also had 11 doubles, 14 stolen bases and one home run with an on-base percentage of .519.
This came after a junior season where he led Dover in RBI.
“Dakota developed so much in the four years with the program and I believe his game will improve even more at the next level,” Gordon said. “This year he focused more on using the whole field and that’s the reason for the high average and hits this year.
“He brings it every game and his energy and tenacity will be missed. We wish Dakota the best at EKU and he’ll always be welcomed back to help out with the young guys.”
Seymour is the first Smyrna player named to the first team in baseball since Matt Jacobs in 2002. Seymour batted .508 for the Eagles this year, including a 3-for-3 performance in the first round of the state tournament, and was even better in Henlopen Conference games, batting .550 with an on-base percentage of .647.
Smyrna coach Mike Henderson called Seymour a contact, line drive, gap hitter. That’s backed up by the fact that Seymour struck out just twice in 19 games this year.
At one point this season. Seymour recorded 10 hits in 10 at-bats. After he finally made an out to end the streak, he reeled off another five hits in his next five at-bats.
“Ryan had no idea he was compiling numbers like this,” Henderson said. “His stats only tell half the story. Ryan’s aggressive play and desire to win are second to none. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played and I’m glad he’s on our side.”
Ivy belted a pair of home runs this season while batting .414 with an on-base percentage of .507 and a slugging percentage of .793. He knocked in 15 runs, had six triples and was 11-for-12 in stolen base attempts.
“Quintin has been a big part of our offense this past season,” said CR coach Rich Szvitich. “Both Brennen Brown and Jake Williams did a great job of getting on base which gave Quintin a number of opportunities to drive in runs for the team. This help produce the high slugging percentage. Once on, he has done a good job of stealing bases to put himself into scoring position for the middle of the order.”
Ivy has been a starter since his freshman year for the Riders.
“Quintin has shown tremendous growth, both as a player and a team leader,” Szvitich said. “We constantly speak about adjustments he will need to make to move to the next level. He has worked hard to improve all aspects of his game.
Dover had two more honorees. Graham’s senior classmates Kendall Small (utility) and Jared Rowley (pitcher) were named to the second team and honorable mention lis, respectively. Small batted .381 with seven doubles and 24 RBI while going 4-1 on the mound with an ERA of 2.20. Rowley was 6-1 as a pitcher with 60 strikeouts in 46 innings and an ERA of 2.50 while holding opponents to a .160 batting average.
Small will play next season for Wilmington University, who made the Division II World Series this year, and Rowley is headed for Potomac State.
That Senator senior class went a combined 60-22 overall with one conference championship and three-straight appearances in the DIAA state semifinals.
Cape Henlopen first baseman David Kwan made the second team, as did Sussex Tech catcher Colin Bergh and Milford outfielder Tom Saxon was the second-team’s lone representative from the Henlopen South.
The Henlopen South had plenty of players on the honorable mention list though with Milford’s Cole Davis (pitcher), Phil Herber (catcher), Lake Forest’s Tyler Cauthren (second base), Delmar’s Kavon Trader (outfielder) and Woodbridge’s Logan Wescott (designated hitter)
Also on the second team were CR’s Tim Haugh, a senior designated hitter, and Smyrna’s Jared Gillis, a junior third baseman. Sussex Central’s Brody Grove was named as an honorable mention as a pitcher.
Haugh recorded 19 RBI for the Riders and batted .500. He hit two home runs, four doubles and slugged .579.
Gillis batted .406 in the regular season with a team-high three home runs. He slugged .656, scored 19 runs and led the Eagles with 21 RBI.
“Jared is one of the hardest working players I’ve ever coached,” Henderson said. “His quick hands at the plate and work ethic will continue to pay dividends as Jared reaches his full potential. The state has only seen a taste of his talents as he continues to mature and get innings under his belt. We’re lucky to have Jared and Ryan on the diamond for another season.”
Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 741-8224.
Follow @TimMastroDSN on Twitter.