By Kevin Eickman
Following a trip to the DIAA State title game in 2012, the Milford Buccaneers baseball team posted a 12-6 record in their 2013 campaign, earning the Henlopen North title in the process. After advancing to the second round, they were eliminated by Saint Elizabeth’s. While making the tournament is always the goal, coach Nick Brannan has consistently looked for the team to always continue to improve. This was evident as the Bucs hosted a pair of scrimmages this past Saturday.
Over the tenure of Brannan, Milford has consistently worked on improving the little things, attention to detail and baseball savvy. This was evident on Saturday as the offense looked smart and confident, with batters hitting behind the runner when it was called for, as well as heads up running on the base paths. “We continue to strive to improve, when theses guys take the proper approach at the plate they make good things happen,” Brannan said.
Baseball starts with pitching and with Philip Berry graduated, senior Garrett Coverdale will be expected to provide a lot of innings. “Garrett was big for us last season and we expect him to continue in his role as a starter,” Brannan stated. Milford will also benefit from the return of senior Johnny Valdez, a do everything player who always seemed to rise to the occasion when called upon in crucial situations. A newcomer to the team will be will be junior Cole Davis who moves up from Junior Varsity last season. Davis is expected to see action as a starter. Another player who should provide innings for the Bucs is junior Dustin Reeder, who will see a lot of action behind the plate as well.
One of the strengths of the team is the versatility of the squad. “We are very lucky this year in that we have a lot of players that can play multiple positions,” commented Brannan. “The fact that we can move people around and utilized their assets is very important.”
Milford will be looking for contributions from other players moving up from JV as well. Sophomore Tommy Jordan is expected to log major innings at shortstop as sophomore Shawn Snowden has been getting looks at first base.
The Milford lineup is full of players that can be productive at the plate as well. “All of our guys can hit, the key for them is to remain disciplined at the plate,” stated Brannan. “It is really going to come down to making every at bat a productive one, and I think these guys can do that.”
Besides Coverdale and Valdez, Brannan is looking for some other players to provide leadership. Seniors Jason Parker and Dalton Pikus are expected to provide a steadying influence. “Those guys are all good players and now we are looking for them to be good leaders as well,” said Brannan.
Milford will open their season on the road this Saturday as they visit North Caroline, before their home opener on March 25 as they host Seaford at 4:15 pm.