Winning 45 games and losing only one over a four-year period leaves fans thinking: dynasty. That a team could top such a fantastic accomplishment is beyond belief to most, but Selbyville Middle School’s baseball team did just that by notching its 46th win in a 3-1 win over long-time rival Sussex Central Middle School.
Players from series past, now in the high-school ranks, littered the baselines at the Pyle Center. They suited up in their old jerseys to add to an already magical atmosphere in support of their brothers, cousins, friends, coaches and community.
“It’s been an honor to coach these guys over the years. All the varsity players and coaches at the game was something great to see,” head coach Jesse Steele said. “That kind of support is big to these kids.”
“We’ve been blessed with great talent from when they started here, playing Little League at the Pyle Center, to AAU. And they’ve had great coaching along the way,” Steele said.
“We’re just trying to get them ready for the next level,” added assistant head coach Tim Clausen.
Prepared might be a good word for the SMS team, because Selbyville came ready to play from the first pitch.
Selbyville jumped on Sussex Central pitcher Trevor Wilkins’ first three pitches, to take the lead on a standup double by catcher Jake Buchler, the only SMS player with multiple hits, at two. That drove in Mike McDowell, who secured a leadoff single. Pitcher Cory Showalter drew a walk on a 3-1 count on a past pitch, which moved Buchler to third. That set up Luis Castro Jr. RBI sac fly, giving Selbyville a 2-0 lead at the end of one inning.
Sussex Central’s Brandon Schultie belted in the team’s only run of the game to score Andrew Parsons from second base following his leadoff double. But that’s as close as they would get.
It was a good thing Selbyville scored early because they had no answer for Wilkins’ curve ball.
“Getting out on top early got them down and gave us momentum,” Buchler said. “He really fooled us with his curve ball.”
“We teach our guys to look for fastball counts and I suppose it’s our fault that they didn’t hit his curve better,” Steele said. “We just didn’t spend that much time on the curve ball.” Wilkins (5 H, 6 K’s, and 3 ER) had three of his six strikeouts on curveballs after the fourth inning but by that time the damage was done.
The momentum gained in the first inning stayed with Showalter and the Indians the whole game, but most of all it was important to get the lead.
“Cory’s a very good pitcher and working with a lead, he’s very hard to hit,” Steele added.
Showalter countered with seven strikeouts, allowed only six base runners (three BB and three H) but worked two 1-2-3 innings, including striking out three batters in the first inning.
Selbyville Middle School defeated Sussex Central Middle School 13-4 earlier this season.