By Kevin Eickman
While winning is always important when it comes to senior day, when Milford hosted Indian River there was a lot more on the line than pride. Coming into the game with just a 3-12 record, you can believe that IR would have liked nothing more than to deal Milford a blow to their State Tournament aspirations. That was just what happened as Milford would blow an 8-4 lead, putting their playoff dreams on life support.
The signs were ominous early for the Buccaneers as the visiting Indians would jump on top early, scoring three runs in the first inning. Milford would match the three runs in their half of the frame, adding another run in the second inning to take a 4-3 lead.
After Indian river had tied the game in the top of the third, Milford seemed to take control of the game as they scored two runs in the third and fourth inning. Entering the fifth inning with am 8-4 lead. Things were looking up for the Buccaneers, but then it happened.
In the fifth inning, Indian River would score four runs to square matters, before erupting in the sixth to put the Buccaneers away. In scoring six runs in the frame, Indian River had sucked the life out of Milford. With each passing pitch, each run that scored, they could see their playoff hopes drifting away. In the end, a final glance at the scoreboard showed a 17-9 loss that will probably haunt them for a very long time.
Time is starting to grow short for Milford with the regular season is rapidly coming to a close. In what has been an up and down year for the Buccaneers, they entered Monday’s game with a chance at winning the Henlopen South. They also could still qualify for the playoffs without winning the South or possibly not qualify for the tournament at all.
The season has unfolded strangely in the Henlopen Conference this year with Milford entering Monday night’s action with an 8-7 overall record, 5-6 in the Henlopen South. In most years that would have spelled disaster for Milford’s playoff hopes, but not this year. The other teams vying for the Southern Crown are Lake Forest and Delmar. The Spartans also have seven conference losses, but Delmar has only six. With only one game for Delmar to play against lightly regarded Seaford today, things are looking bleak for the Bucs.
If somehow Seaford were to defeat Delmar, Milford would need to win at Woodbridge on Tuesday to secure the Henlopen South title. While it is not likely, coach Nick Brannan believes that his team will come ready to play. “Losing a game like today’s is never easy, I believe our guys have what it takes to get the job done.” Brannan stated. “The bottom line is we have two games left and the goal is to go out there and do our best.”
The fact that it was senior day only added to the melancholy feeling, Brannan took the time to offer up praise for his graduating players. “These guys are winners, they are winners on the field and they are going to be winners in life,” Brannan stated.
Milford will play at Saint Marks today, before the Woodbridge game on Wednesday. The Buccaneers will probably need to win both of them to make the tournament.
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