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Dunning brings second World Series ring home

Randy Lefko
Sports Editor
Posted 12/31/69

GREEN COVE SPRINGS - The city of Green Cove Springs offered up a key to the city to World Series baseball champion Dane Dunning at Thursday's council meeting, but the humble Dunning gave some credit …

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Dunning brings second World Series ring home


GREEN COVE SPRINGS - The city of Green Cove Springs offered up a key to the city to World Series baseball champion Dane Dunning at Thursday's council meeting, but the humble Dunning gave some credit to big brother Jake, also a World Series champion in his early days as a Major League Baseball player.

"I would say it was a big advantage for me to have Jake go through the rigors of college ball, the minor leagues and his two years in the big leagues," said Dunning, 29, who recently earned his first World Series championship ring as a relief pitcher for the Texas Rangers, who defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in five games (4-1) in November. "Jake never got a key for his ring, but I'm glad he's here to share mine."

Jake Dunning was a San Francisco Giants pitcher in the 2013-2014 seasons, with the Giants winning the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Dunning is listed on the 2014 Giants as a pitcher.

Dane Dunning (Clay High Class of 2013), was with his wife Rachel Castelli, 26, (Ridgeview High Class of 2015) and son Mack Anthony at the Green Cove Springs City Council meeting just a day before Dane's birthday.

"We started dating in 2017, and got married in 2021," said Castelli. "He's just a dad when he comes home. I'm a baseball fan now, but we are about family when he's home."

Also on hand for Dunning were parents John and Misu Dunning plus a large cadre of Clay High baseball fans, including Green Cove Springs Junior High baseball coach Dan Slater.

"We just wanted them to get scholarships, go play in college, get a degree and be successful," said John Dunning. "All this was nice to watch and they both worked their butts off to keep playing. I can't be more proud or to ask for more of my sons."

Dunning, with the Rangers for three seasons, started the 2023 season after an injury and after the Rangers had signed a handful of quality pitchers.

"I felt really good about making the team and I made the team (the 25-team Major League) as a relief pitcher," said Dunning. "I was fortunate enough to make the team, but in a different role. I was the long guy out of the bullpen."

As his season progressed, Dunning got back into a starter's role due to injuries to other guys.

"It wasn't the way I wanted to earn my spot, but that's the nature of the sport and I had to be ready," said Dunning, noting brother Jake had a similar fate with his elbow in his time in the "Big Show."

As his season progressed as a starter, Dunning revamped his daily routine to prepare.

"I had the starting experiences the previous two seasons and I just jumped back into my normal routines," said Dunning. "To be honest, during the whole post-season run, the entire team kind of supports each other. It was, top to bottom, one of the best team atmospheres to be a part of."

In the World Series itself, Dunning, who did pitch for one inning in game four (a 10-1 Rangers win) recalled that up 3-1 going to game five, the Rangers' starter Nathan Eovaldi was able to avoid a couple of tense innings; first and third innings with Arizona stealing an extra bases hit in the fourth to keep the game locked at 0-0 through five innings. Dunning was pulled in game four after 16 pitches to be ready as a closer if needed in game five.

"I was available to come in and warmed up twice but Eovaldi got out of the jams and the guys kept saying, we were going to win and then we exploded in the seventh with a double to Evan Carter and a run-scoring single from Mitch Garver," said Dunning, 28, 29 the following day. "In the ninth, we scored five off a two-run hit and a two-run homer from Marcus (Semien) and we broke a cardinal rule by lining up in the dugout for the finish which you don't want to jinx things at that point."

From there, Dunning ran out with the team at the finish for the celebration.

"I was actually trying to get guys to make a dog pile, but it didn't happen," said Dunning, who returns to his home in Charlotte to train, play golf and hang out with Mack. "Unfortunately, the dog pile never happened."