Sussex East Legion team overcomes rain, opponents


The heavy rains have passed and the water left behind has subsided, leaving American Legion baseball coaches scrambling to reschedule games. With exactly two weeks remaining in the regular season, a number of teams will be stacking games one on top of another like Lincoln Logs, in a flurry of play that might be bad for pitching but will definitely impact teams’ hitting.

Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT: Josh Dean congratulates teammate D.J. Clark after hitting back-to-back solo homeruns in the bottom of the fifth inning. Sussex East defeated Sussex West 7-1 and holds a 2-0 season record.Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT
Josh Dean congratulates teammate D.J. Clark after hitting back-to-back solo homeruns in the bottom of the fifth inning. Sussex East defeated Sussex West 7-1 and holds a 2-0 season record.
Sussex East won its last three games, bringing the team’s record to 11-4 overall, after beating Post 1 by a combined 11-5 in a July 8 doubleheader and, more recently, Sussex West 7-1 on July 11.

Sussex East had nine different batters score multiple-hit games over that timespan.

Cody Jensen pitched a complete game in the first, 3-1 win over Post 1 and helped out his team’s cause by belting two of their three runs in the seventh inning on 2-4 hitting He allowed six hits and one walk, and fanned seven.

Sussex East was patient and received timely hitting in the first game, but the second was a runaway.

Outfielder Brian Scott, utility infielder Zac Spece, catcher D.J. Clark and first baseman Colin Warner combined for nine of Sussex East’s 10 hits, which gave starting pitcher Mike Casale (2-0) enough of a cushion for the win.

Casale allowed three runs over his four innings pitched before making way for Spece (2-0-1), who came on to preserve the victory with a save.

The Warriors followed up their double-header wins with another impressive day at the plate against their cross-county rivals, the Sussex West Patriots.

They tacked starting pitcher Justin Bailey and reliever Wade Eskridge for nine hits, yielding seven runs — including back-to-back solo homeruns in the bottom of the fifth inning by Josh Dean and Clark.

Jensen gave the Warriors a 4-0 lead with a solo homerun of his own in the third inning.

Warner pitched the entire game, giving up just five hits and four walks. That included walking the first two batters of the game. But he struck out seven before eventually giving up a run to Eskridge on a RBI single in the seventh inning.

Three of the Patriots’ five hits came in the seventh inning.

Sussex East won’t have to worry about their bats cooling, because they tentatively have seven games scheduled from July 12 to July 19. They will host a pair of doubleheaders — the first of which is against Newark on July 15 and the second against Delvets the next day. Both games start at noon.

Sussex East’s next game is on July 19 at Seaford High School, against Sussex West.