By TJ Millman
“We’re just happy to be outside.”
It has been a cold, windy start to this year’s spring sports season, but you won’t hear any complaining from Milford Baseball Head Coach Nick Brannan. For Brannan, getting his team out on the diamond is taking top priority, and they had just that chance this past weekend in a scrimmage against a tough Appoquinimink team that went 15-3 last year before falling in the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
“Today was about those young kids that are going to be valuable for us this season getting reps and showing us what they can do in game situations. It was a good day. We learned a lot about some kids, and our problem is a good one to have. We are replacing seniors all around the field, and these young guys see the opportunity that is in front of them. When kids don’t see opportunity, they can feel hopeless. In this situation, there are positions available. I mean, this is high school baseball. Everyone should be looking over their shoulder out here,” Brannan said.
This has led to what Brannan called a, “very competitive camp,” so far in the early part of the season. He said that the kids have been competitive, hard-working, and most importantly coachable, and that this has made for a fun atmosphere around the team. This year’s Bucs are looking to follow up on last year’s 12-6 season that saw Milford bring home the Henlopen South title before falling to Salesianum in the opening round of the state tournament. To do this, Brannan has set goals to improve on last year’s performance.
“We always make sure to treat our opponent like they are the best team in the state, but we set smaller individual goals as well. Defensively, we want to cut the errors that we had last year in half. Offensively, we want to cut down on strikeouts. These are the things that we can control, and if we do so, our standard goals of making the post-season and making some noise will take care of themselves. We made more errors than a team with 12 wins should have made, and we know that we need to be better. As for the strikeouts, we just need to get the ball in play. Anytime the ball is live, we have a chance for something to happen,” Brannan said.
Milford has 5 seniors this year, including UVA commit Bryce Greenly, and it will be up to these players to help with all of the young guys gunning for spots on the field.
“Our seniors aren’t the most vocal group, but they are a group of really hard workers. They aren’t the guys who are going to be yelling in the dugout, but they are always eager to talk to teammates on an individual basis. They take care of their game, and they expect everyone else to do the same,” Brannan said.
Milford opens their season on Thursday, March 22 on the road against Hodgson Vo-Tech. The opening pitch is set for 4 PM.
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