By Kevin Eickman
In their first game of the season, the Milford baseball team was far from spectacular. In a game that saw the Buccaneers trailing Caesar Rodney 3-0 after five innings of play, it would be constant grinding away that would finally earn the victory for Milford.
While Rider’s pitcher Noah DeAtley had stymied the Milford offense, his pitch count was steadily rising “Our batters kept at it today, it wasn’t easy but they kept themselves focused and were finally able to push some runs across,” coach Nick Brannan stated. Milford would finally push across a pair of runs in the fifth, breathing life into the Bucs.
Having closed the gap to 3-2, the Buccaneers would give a run right back in the top of the sixth, as it looked as if the chances of Milford coming back were slipping away. In the bottom of the inning however, DeAtley had difficulty finding the strike zone. With timely hitting Milford would tie the game, before finally taking the lead as senior Daniel Burgos pushed across the go ahead run. Milford would plate five in the inning and junior Aaron Thornely would pitch a scoreless seventh inning as Milford would emerge with a 7-4 victory.
Speaking with Brannan after the game, it was clear that while he was happy with the win, he knew that there is a lot of work yet to be done “We really needed to have intensity from the very beginning, because this game could have easily gotten away from us,” Brannan said. “We were very fortunate that our pitching kept us around until our bats finally woke up.”
One of the problems Milford had at the plate was lack of contact for a large portion of the game “While it’s early in the year, and there is going to be some jitters and rust, we really needed to hit the ball,” commented Brannan. “We have to put the ball in play to put pressure on the other team, make them have to make plays.”
Junior Abraham Mow started on the hill for the Bucs, eventually giving way to freshman Brock Hilligoss in the middle innings. While the pitching was not spectacular, it was quite serviceable, although Milford would have like to have worked from the front of the count more “We have a very good defense, so we need to throw strikes, so they can keep themselves in games,” stated Brannan. “We need to be ahead in the count to be effective.”
On Thursday Milford would travel to Cape, falling to the Vikings by a score of 10-5. Milford had taken the lead in the top of the fourth inning4-2, but Cape exploded for 6 runs in the bottom of the frame, as they would never trail again.
On Saturday Milford would win a thriller against Tower Hill, as junior William Kimmel provided a bases clearing triple in the bottom of the fifth inning. Milford would enter the top of the seventh leading the game 5-1 and would have to survive a scare as Tower Hill mounted a comeback. Senior Tommy Jordan would step up in relief, earning his first save in the eventual 5-4 victory.
Milford will travel to Archmere this Tuesday, before hosting Lake Forest on Thursday in the annual Battle of the Bat. Thursday’s game will start at 6 pm and be played at the Milford Little League Complex.