By Kevin Eickman
On Thursday of Last week, the Milford Buccaneers played a game they are becoming quite familiar with. Never giving up and never giving in has been the mantra for this young team that keeps on finding a way to win. Down to their last out on Thursday, while visiting a Lake Forest team that had taken a one run lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, Milford had runners on first and second with two out in the seventh. Junior Jason Parker appeared to strike out to end the game but unfortunately, for the Lake Forest, the ball got lost in the dirt and Parker sprinted to first as the other runners advanced to give the Buccaneers new life.
With the bases loaded, the next two batters would walk to give Milford the lead. Parker would score the final run for Milford to make it 14-12 as the game entered the bottom of the seventh. On the mound for the Bucs was junior Johnny Valdez, who had surrendered the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Given a second opportunity to close out the Spartans, Valdez earned the victory.
The victory came on top of an even bigger win on Tuesday, as Milford hosted a then 8-2 Smyrna team. The game featured the top two teams in the Henlopen North, and could go a long way in determining the eventual division and conference champions.
Coach Nick Brannan sent senior Philip Berry to the hill, as Milford looked to take the next step on what is turning out to be a very interesting journey this season. All game long, the visiting Eagles tried to score on Berry. Inning after inning they had runners in scoring position and each time Berry would find a way to pitch his way out of trouble.
“I had a hard time getting ahead of hitters, and had to work from back in the count most of the game,” commented Berry.“I just had to stay relaxed, I know I have a good defense behind me, so it made my job a lot easier.”
Milford had jumped out early, putting three runs across in the first and all but settled the issue by scoring four more runs in the fifth inning to give the Bucs a 7-0 advantage. This marked one of the few times all season Milford maintained a comfortable advantage throughout the game. It was something that Brannan had been waiting for the Bucs to do.
“It was real nice to get out in front and stay there, this is something we have been wanting to do,” stated Coach Bannan. “Smyrna had some chances but each time Philip and the defense came up big when they needed to.”
Berry wasn’t able to keep Smyrna off the board however, giving up two runs in the sixth inning as Smyrna made it 7-2. Milford would score two more in the bottom of the sixth, making it 9-2, as Johnny Valdez closed out the game on the mound for the Buccaneers in the seventh inning. Milford has been looking to hit on all cylinders and the offense has begun to be very hot of late.
“We are starting to get other guys hitting too, that’s great to see.” Brannan said. The win moved Milford to 9-3 on the season, but more importantly 7-1 in the Henlopen North. The Buccaneers will have a lot of work ahead of them, as their next three games are on the road.