Like most seniors, Jared Rowley said his heart sank when he first realized there might not be a baseball season last spring.
The former Dover pitcher was coming back from an injury but had high hopes for himself and his Keystone College teammates.
So when the word finally came that the season was called off by the pandemic, he was crushed.
“Once the news came about, I just felt sick,” Rowley was quoted in an interview on Keystone’s website last spring. “All the hard work that we put in during the fall seemed to just be wasted. But I knew my teammates would come together and we’d get through the hard times together.”
Rowley did indeed get a second chance at a second senior season this spring and made the most of it.
The righthander was named the Pitcher of the Year in the Colonial States Athletic Conference. For the season, Rowley went 6-1 with a 2.39 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 52.2 innings.
The 2015 Dover grad may have saved his best for last. In a 7-1 win over Mitchell in an NCAA Division III regional in Auburn, N.Y., Rowley allowed just one run and six hits in eight innings while striking out a season-high 11 batters and walking only two.
It was the kind of performance Rowley was picturing last year when he decided he’d return for one last season.
“I feel blessed to be able to have the opportunity to come back and play my senior year again,” Rowley said at the time. “For something like that to happen to me, I felt as if I needed to come back stronger and become a teammate that others could look up to and feed off of. ... If I were to walk away from this opportunity, I’m giving up on something that I’ve wanted since I started playing the game of baseball.”
Five Roadrunners honored
After finishing as runner-up in the NJCAA Region 19 baseball tournament, Delaware Tech had five players honored on the Region 19 All-Region team.
Christopher Friend (Caesar Rodney), a designated hitter, and outfielder Jonathan Golebiowski were both named to the first team. Outfielder Mike Pagliei earned second-team honors while third baseman Matt Rodriguez (Delmar) and catcher Ethan Watkinson (Sussex Central) made honorable mention.
Friend hit .286 with 11 home runs, 37 RBI, and 30 hits. Golebiowski finished the season with a .314 batting average, 12 home runs, 37 RBI, and 38 hits.
“Chris can really hit and seemed to find himself in the box in a lot of big spots, and more often than not stepped up and got the job done,” said DelTech coach Stu Madden. “And Johnny really developed his whole game this year. Not only can he just flat out hit, but he also turned himself into a very good outfielder.”
Pagliei batted .298 with 23 RBI and 39 hits. Rodriguez hit .327 with 34 hits and 19 RBI while Watkinson battled an injury for much of the season but still batted .349 with 22 hits, 18 RBI, and four home runs.
Two Hens on ‘Hall’ ballot
A pair of former Delaware football standouts, offensive lineman Gary Kuhlman (‘82) and defensive end Mike Renna (‘90), are on the ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Kuhlman, a two-time first-team All-American, was part of the Blue Hens’ 1979 Division II national championship team. He helped Delaware lead the country in scoring offense (35.5 ppg) and total offense (405.5 ypg) that season.
Renna was also a two-time first-team All-American, finishing his career as the 10th leading tackler in program history with 205.
Cape grad honored
Cape Henlopen High grad Riley Shields, a grad student on the Alvernia softball team, was a second-team Division III All-American pick as a utility player/pitcher.
She was also named the Pitcher of the Year on the All-MAC Commonwealth team.
This past spring, Shields went 12-1 with a 0.60 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings. She gave up only seven earned runs with just 14 walks.
At the plate, Shields was second on the team with a .423 batting average. A three-time, first-team all-conference pick, she collected 33 hits, 24 RBI, and 12 runs scored.
Former Smyrna High football standout Will Knight, who announced over the winter that he was transferring from Delaware, recently posted that he has offers from FCS program Wagner and Garden City Community College. ... Ex-Cape Henlopen High baseball standouts — and brothers — Jake and Zack Gelof both homered for Virginia in the Cavaliers’ 4-3 loss to South Carolina in their opener of the NCAA baseball tournament on Friday. It was the second time in the last three games that the Gelofs homered in the same contest. ... Zack Gelof was an All-ACC selection after batting .294 with six homers and 31 RBI during the regular season. ... Polytech High grad Carter Chasanov led the PSAC-champion Bloomsburg baseball team with a .340 batting average and 41 runs scored this spring. He also had eight homers, nine doubles, 25 RBI and eight stolen bases. ... Sanford standout Nnanna Njoku has been named the Gatorade Delaware Boys Basketball Player of the Year. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound senior center, who is headed for Villanova, averaged 20.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game and converted 72.5 percent of his field-goal attempts for the state champion Warriors. ... Delaware senior Olivia Schuck has been named to the Academic All-District Women’s Soccer Team. The midfielder/defender, who is majoring in occupational therapy, is a two-time All-CAA performer and 2019 CAA Co-Defensive Player of the Year honoree.