By Kevin Eickman
On a glorious Saturday afternoon, the Milford Buccaneers baseball team wrapped up the 2019 regular season as they hosted visiting Archmere Academy. While it may have taken a while for the Bucs’ bats to heat up, once they did they jumped all over the visitors on their way to a 10-2 Senior Day victory.
The Auk’s jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first as a timely double play turned by the Buccaneers prevented any further damage. Following the first inning senior Brock Hilligoss settled down and allowed Archmere no further runs the rest of the game. Hilligoss pitched five solid innings striking out five on just 75 pitches to earn the victory.
While Hilligoss was humming, Milford had a difficult time getting their offense in gear. Archmere junior Jack Nielson kept the Bucs off balance by varying location and delivery of his pitches.
“Nielson really had us off balance our first time through the lineup. He has a delivery that is hard to pick up and it took us a while to find a rhythm at the plate,” Coach Nick Brannan stated. “Once our guys settled in though, we were able to get some timely hitting when we needed it the most.”
Senior Caden Stanley led off the bottom of the fourth inning for the Bucs and hit what looked to be a routine grounder down the first base side of the infield. The error allowed Stanley to advance to second base giving Milford a prime opportunity to even the issue. Freshman Mason Morris quickly took advantage as he drilled a double to the base off the centerfield fence, easily scoring Stanley to tie the game 1-1.
Archmere looked as if they were going to be able to get out of the inning without any further damage as Nielson retired the next two batters he faced. However, Nielson lost control of the strike zone walking senior Dylan Layton and hitting freshman Shawn Saxon to load the bases. Senior Jaxson Turner singled sharply to right as Milford obtained a 3-1 advantage they would not relinquish.
Aided by another Archmere miscue, Milford continued the two out Rally as sophomore Thomas Leighty reached on an error. On the play Milford got three runners to cross the plate as they increased their advantage to 6-1.
“We had a few breaks go our way today but part of winning is taking advantage of opportunity when it is presented to you,” Brannan said. “We really hit the ball well when we needed to and that is why we won today.”
The highlight of the inning came once again courtesy of Morris. The Buccaneer catcher drilled a ball that sailed far over the left field fence and into the trees. The result was a three run homer, which sealed the fate of Archmere. “Morris has really been seeing and hitting the ball well this year. It’s great to watch the focus and intensity he brings to the game, it’s fantastic,” commented Brannan.
With the State Tournament up next for Milford, Brannan was asked about the mindset of his team heading into the post-season. “The guys are really having fun. Listen, winning is great but these guys are having fun doing it. We took a long bus ride the other day and all these guys did was laugh and sing, they were just enjoying being with each other, you can’t coach that,” said Brannan.
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