College notes: Delaware State baseball enjoying win streak; Delaware adds basketball transfer

By Andy Walter
Posted 4/23/24

DOVER — Usually, there is no one reason why a team gets hot.

But, once their players start believing, coaches know better than to analyze it too much.

That’s the way it’s …

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College notes: Delaware State baseball enjoying win streak; Delaware adds basketball transfer


DOVER — Usually, there is no one reason why a team gets hot.

But, once their players start believing, coaches know better than to analyze it too much.

That’s the way it’s been for Delaware State coach J.P. Blandin, whose baseball team just had a seven-game winning streak snapped on Sunday.

“I don’t know, the guys are just really enjoying the game and playing together, knowing that everyone has each other’s backs,” he said. “Wow, it’s been just awesome.”

Indeed, the Hornets were only 6-7 in the Northeast Conference before the winning streak started. Now they’re 13-8 and in fourth place in the 12-team league standings.

Last weekend, DelState took two out of three games from Sacred Heart, which is now in a three-way tie for first place atop the NEC.

On Saturday, the Hornets pulled out a memorable 8-5 victory over the Pioneers by erupting for six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Chris Amparo’s grand slam gave DSU the walk-off victory.

Amparo also had a highlight-reel catch at the fence to take away a Sacred Heart home run on Friday.

“We were talking to the athletic training staff,” said Blandin. “They’re like, ‘Man, I just have the feeling ... it doesn’t matter how much we’re down. We can get a ‘W’ at any time. We can just turn it on.’

“They just believe and they’re playing great baseball. I can barely speak any more it’s been so much fun. My voice is gone — in a good way.”

DelState started its winning streak on the weekend that Blandin officially announced that he’s stepping down as head coach after the season.

The Hornets would love to extend Blandin’s 24-season run by making the NEC Tournament. They have to finish in the top six during the regular season to qualify.

DelState still has 12 NEC games left to play, starting with another big series at Long Island this weekend.

“We know it’s still a tough road,” said Blandin. “It’s college baseball, every team is good no matter where they are in the standings. On any day, somebody can get hot like we started getting hot. It’s a challenge.”

A number of players have delivered for the Hornets this spring.

Sophomore left-hander Kieran Etwaru is 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA. Amparo has put up 42 RBI — 20 more than anyone else on the team — with 10 home runs.

Jaryn Sample, a freshman from Sussex Tech High, is batting a team-leading .390 with 18 runs scored. Dover’s Hiram Davis is 2-0.

“It just gets contagious,” said Blandin.

“We just want to keep this thing going as long as we can,” he added, “because we’re having a blast.”

Portal realities

There was a time when a college football team’s roster was largely set after spring practice.

Rosters have always fluctuated but nothing like they are now in the transfer portal era,

Both Delaware State and Delaware made that clear after they played their spring games this past weekend.

Hornet coach Lee Hull has signed nine transfers — so far — eight of whom weren’t on campus for spring practice. He expects to bring at least another four or five.

“It will change,” the second-year coach said about his roster on Saturday. “What you see out here right now, when we come back in the fall, it will be totally different.

“With the transfer portal and all that, every team is changing these days. You go through spring ball and two or three guys can jump in the portal. Its’ ever-changing. You never know.”

Blue Hen linebacker Dillon Trainer had a pretty blunt opinion about the portal climate on Friday.

“It’s all about reloading,” he said. “We’ve got guys coming in. .... It’s like a revolving door at this point. Come in, give us your all and get on out.

“I think the biggest thing we’re trying to accomplish is having everybody buy into the culture rather than having our culture change for the guys that we have coming into the locker room.”

Hens’ Hess tosses no-hitter

Delaware’s Morgan Hess was named CAA Pitcher of the Week in softball after throwing back-to-back shutouts, including a no-hitter, against Hoftrsa.

She allowed just three hits and held the Pride to a .065 average in 14 innings pitched. Hess also doubled and scored a run on Sunday, helping Delaware to a 4-0 victory.

Hess’ no-hitter was the first of her career and 17th in program history, and first since last May when Emily Winburn no-hit Hampton. She has now won nine straight decisions and has a 2.36 ERA in 106.2 innings pitched and has allowed just 30 walks with 58 strikeouts.

At the plate, she is hitting .295 with 14 doubles and three home runs. A transfer from Presbyterian, Hess has helped Delaware to a 33-9 overall record and an 18-3 mark in the CAA — tied for the program’s most conference wins in a season.

Delaware UFL update

A handful of former Delaware football players are seeing action in the UFL.

  • Quarterback Nolan Henderson (Smyrna) has played in two games for the UFL’s Houston Roughnecks, completing 3-of-4 passes for 12 yards.
  •  Safety Kedrick Whitehead (Middletown) has 11 tackles and a blocked punt in four games for the Michigan Panthers.
  • Receiver Vinny Papale, Jr. has a team-high three touchdown catches for the Memphis Showboats.
  • Extra points
    Erik Timko, a 6-foot-5 wing player from Division II Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia, has committed to the Delaware men’s basketball team. He averaged 21.1 points in three seasons, shot 43.6 percent from three-point range and has one season of eligibility remaining.
  • DelState basketball guard Deywilk Tavarez, who is in the transfer portal, reportedly has visits scheduled to Charleston and UAB.
  • Sussex Central High baseball player Joaquin Rodriguez-Costa has verbally committed to Delaware. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound junior is a pitcher/first baseman.
  • The DSU women’s golf team tied for sixth in the NEC Championships..

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