Zach Candeloro and his fellow seniors on the Caesar Rodney baseball team spent the first three years of their careers wondering what an appearance in the DIAA state tournament would be like.


Zach Candeloro and his fellow seniors on the Caesar Rodney baseball team spent the first three years of their careers wondering what an appearance in the DIAA state tournament would be like.
The Riders no longer have to wonder, as 10th-seeded CR crashed the post-season party and shook up the DIAA brackets with upset wins on the road at seventh-seeded Tatnall and Milford, the tournament's number two overall seed.
A huge reason for that is Candeloro, who pitched a two-hit gem as Caesar Rodney dusted the host Tatnall Hornets 12-1 in six innings on Tuesday, followed by another offensive explosion by the Riders in a 16-8 win over the county rival Buccaneers Thursday afternoon.
After the huge win, Candeloro, who will play baseball and major in physical education at Delaware State University next year, sat down with the Dover Post to talk about he and his teammates making the most of this experience.

Q After waiting three years to make the tournament, what was the key to the team’s success in beating Tatnall and Milford?
A Coach stressed to us that it could be one and done, so we’ve been practicing for this all season. The nerves were there, but we treated it like it was just another game.

Q You pitched a great game against Tatnall and your bats have come alive, especially Thursday against Milford, what worked so well for you guys in those two games?
A We just came together as a team. We gelled as a team, got hits on top of hits, we had a hard time doing that this year and Zach Mawson pitched a great game for us.

Q What has this ride been like for you and your teammates, knowing this was your first time in the state tournament as seniors?
A It’s exciting. We didn't want it to end, we just wanted to keep playing another day and represent CR. It's been awesome.

Q Did you guys have a feeling that you were going to be able to make the tournament when the season began?
A At the beginning of the season, we felt real confident in our abilities and the young players coming up were ready to play on varsity. There have been little surprises, like Aaron Briggs who has been playing really well, but other than that, we're not surprised.

Q Considering the journey the seniors have been on to get to the tournament, have you told the young guys to enjoy this while they can?
A Yes, we told them to soak it up and after losses, we’d tell them to remember this feeling – you don’t want to feel it again. We lost to Milford 6-0 earlier this year, we just remembered that feeling, banged out some hits and got the win.

Q What are you going to remember most about this season?
A That we were fighters. This is the closest team I’ve ever been on. We all get along, we’re all friends and we’re headed to a team dinner right now. We were fighters and we gelled as a team, that’s the big thing.

E-mail Chris Stevens at chris.stevens@doverpost.com