By Kevin Eickman
This was the type of week that the Milford softball team needed, the type where they finally put a winning streak together and play at the level they believe they are capable of. The first challenge of the week came on Monday as the Bucs traveled to Camden to take on Polytech. The Panthers entered the game with a 6-2 record, while averaging over eight runs a game. With Haylee Scruggs on the mound for Milford, that was about to change. The Milford junior put together her best start of the season, striking out nine in the game and allowing just four hits.
The game turned out to be a tense contest of wills as Panther junior Shaina Reed put together a monster performance of her own. While striking out just three batters, Reed kept the Buccaneer bats off balance all game long. Reed allowed no hits through the games first seven innings and as the the game entered extra innings, it looked as though Milford would never get to her as she produced a hitless eighth inning as well.
Finally in the ninth inning, Milford was able to get to Reed. Emerging freshman Rajene Bowe recorded the only hit for the Buccaneers as she singled to open the ninth inning. Bowe was able to work her way to third base and Milford finally had a chance to break the scoreless deadlock. Senior Kylie Nelson was able to drive Bowe home with a sacrifice fly, giving Milford a 1-0 lead. With Scruggs able to complete another scoreless inning in the bottom of the inning, the win was Milford’s. With a win against a quality team like Poly, Milford now has seen what they knew in their hearts to be true. They are a quality team, that can beat quality teams.
“We had been looking for a win to hang our hat on, a win where we really played up to good team,” coach Drew Holleger said. “The performance that the team turned in today is what we have been looking for. They never gave up and refused to quit, the result was a big win for us.”
Scruggs echoed her coaches sentiments as well. “This was a game we really wanted, we gave it everything we had and got the win.”
Milford would have a much easier time of it on Wednesday as they hosted Dover. The game was an easy one for the Buccaneers as Scruggs once again was strong on the mound, again allowing no runs. The Buccaneers bats came to life as well, with Milford scoring 15 runs in the mercy shortened five inning contest. It marked the first time since the opening two games of the season that Milford had put together two wins a row. It was a game and a winning streak Holleger had been waiting for.
“This was the first game we really put it all together as a team.,” Holleger commented. “We have been really close, it was great to see us put it all together.”
There was little time for the Bucs to celebrate as they traveled up to Saint Georges the following day. Going into the contest Saint Georges sported an 8-0 record. Things started rough for Milford as they allowed five runs in the bottom of the first inning. However, Scruggs would settle down and slowly Milford began to find their feet, scoring three runs in the top of the fourth inning. Aided by some Saint Georges errors, Milford exploded for eight runs in the fifth inning and five more in the sixth. Giving Milford a 16-5 lead as they entered the bottom of the sixth inning. Scruggs shut down their host and had an improbable three game winning streak to show for it. Milford advanced their record to 7-3 (2-1) in the South. Milford will host Saint Elizabeth’s Tuesday at 3 pm.