Dover delivers with Senior League baseball title

By Andy Walter
Posted 7/7/22

DOVER — Jeremy Drago likes to think he’s a pretty straight-forward guy.

So when he said he thought the Dover Senior League baseball all-stars had a chance to do well in the District I …

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Dover delivers with Senior League baseball title

Posted

DOVER — Jeremy Drago likes to think he’s a pretty straight-forward guy.

So when he said he thought the Dover Senior League baseball all-stars had a chance to do well in the District I tournament, he meant it.

“I don’t think anybody else even realized the potential,” said the Dover manager.

Dover lived up to Drago’s expectations, though, capturing the District I championship on Tuesday night with a 5-2 win over host MOT.

Dover went 4-0 in the tourney in Little League’s age division for 14-16 year olds.

The District I champions move on to the three-team state tournament, which starts on Saturday night in Sussex County. At stake is a spot in the East Regional in Bangor, Maine.

After Dover started the district tourney with a pair of one-run wins, Drago said people started to believe the squad had a chance at the title.

“The kids, I think, surprised themselves,” he said. “After that first game against Camden (an 8-7 win), I think they all started to believe after that. People started rearranging plans that they originally had thinking we might not be around long. And look where we’re at now.”

In Tuesday’s game, the start of which was delayed over an hour by rain, Dover pitcher Jeremy Drago, Jr. struck out 13 and gave up just two hits in five 2/3 innings. Aidan Durham got the last four outs — including three by strikeout — without allowing a hit.

Drago also doubled and was driven in by Durham to tie the contest at 1-1 in the first. Preston Lyon (2 RBI), Greyson Smith (1 RBI) and William Burgos (1 hit) also sparked Dover.

For MOT, Kyle Jones doubled with reliever Adam McDowell striking out three in two innings.

Dover has a fairly young roster. Five of its 13 players are only 14 year olds.

Drago, though, said he likes the way everyone seems to have accepted their roles.

“They gelled really well, really fast,” he said. “I knew some kids probably weren’t going to get as much playing time as others. No one made it an issue. Everyone played their role.

“When guys had to show up late, guys stepped up into their spots and did the job. And when it was time for them to come out, they were good teammates. ... Everybody was committed to the team aspect.”

While it’s been a team effort, Drago said that Smith‘s play has really stood out. The 15-year-old has played both third and first base.

Drago said Smith has not only hit the ball well — he had six RBI in an earlier 10-0 win over MOT — but made some big defensive plays.

“He’s a great kid,” said Drago.

In the state tourney, Dover will be facing two other district championship teams. Winning another title won’t be easy.

On the other hand, Dover’s players have some confidence that they didn’t have a week ago.

“It’s good to see this team going into the states believing in themselves,” said Drago.

Extra innings

In District III, the Senior League title game between Cape and Georgetown was suspended by rain on Tuesday night. It was scheduled to resume on Wednesday with Georgetown leading 1-0 in the bottom of the third. ... The Senior League World Series will be played in Easley, S.C.

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 302-741-8227 or walter@iniusa.org.
Follow on Twitter at @DSNSports.