By Kevin Eickman
Time is growing short for the 7-5 Milford Buccaneers baseball team if they plan on making a run at a State Tournament birth. From the start of the season, it has been a roller coaster ride for the Buccaneers, as they have been locked into a pattern of win one, lose one. As a result, Milford entered this Friday’s game against the visiting 8-1 Hawks in desperate need of winning back to back games, for the first time this season.
The game would see Milford get out to an early lead as the Buccaneers would score four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Taking advantage of a few walks, along with some timely hitting, the Buccaneers would play with the lead the entire game. “We took advantage of our early opportunities and that was real important today,” coach Nick Brannan stated. “When you are going against a tough team like theirs, you have to score runs when you have the chance.”
The lead would appear to be tenuous as the Hawks would respond with three runs of their own in the top of the the third inning. Before matters could get out of hand, freshman pitcher Brock Hillgoss would give way to senior Mike Saxon. Saxon would get a pair of key outs, in the beginning of what was a theme for the victory. “Today was a total staff effort. The guys all went out and did their jobs when we needed them to,” commented Brannan. “It is the type of effort we need, where everyone chips in and we can end up with the win.”
Junior Aaron Thornley would relieve Saxon in the top of the fifth inning, with the bases full of Hawks and just one out. Thornley would deliver just what the Buccaneers needed as he succeeded in an inning-ending double play. “We brought Aaron in there in a big spot and he delivered,” Brannan stated. “He knew exactly what we needed and got the job done.”
Milford would add a single run in the fifth inning and would score three runs in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to the tiring of the Hawk’s defense. With nobody out and runners on first and second, Milford would lay down a sacrifice bunt attempt. Saint Georges would throw the ball into right field allowing Milford to score two runs on the play. After taking on the third run, Brannan would hand the ball to junior Abraham Mow to close out the affair.
Saint Georges would work their way back into the game, one pitch at a time, one base at a time. In the inning, Mow would actually strike out four batters in the inning, with two passed balls extending the affair. “The weather played a factor in the game, but the guys didn’t let it get the best of them,” Brannan said. “Mow just dug a little deeper and was able to close out the game.” The fourth strikeout would prove to be the charm, as Milford would walk away with an 8-6 victory.
Milford is attempting to catch Lake Forest for the Henlopen South Championship, having beaten them earlier in the season. The Buccaneers 5-4 in the Henlopen, hold the tie breaker advantage over the Spartans, who have a 6-3 Henlopen record. There is still a lot of baseball to be played and Brannan is hopeful the Buccaneers can erase the one game deficit and earn the title. “Lake has been on a tear lately, but we have remained within striking distance.” Brannan added “No matter what, we just have to keep on winning if we want to make the playoffs.”
Milford will host 11-2 Dover this Tuesday at 4:15.
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