It was the furthest they’d advanced in the DIAA state tournament in 10 years.
But despite a storied run, the Indian River High School softball fell short of a trip to the DIAA title game with an 18-5 loss to eventual state-champion Milford in the state semi-final game held at the Pyle Center on Saturday, May 28.
“We ended up being in the top four in the state, and that’s something that we’ve really worked hard for,” said head coach Erika Murphy after the game.
“This was definitely further than anybody expected us to go this year, especially coming back from finishing .500 and not making the tournament last year,” added senior shortstop Makenzie Collins.
After coming off back-to-back 7-4 wins against Red Lion in the first round of the tournament and Henlopen South champion Lake Forest in the quarterfinals, the Indians fell behind early against the Bucs on Saturday, going down 8-0 before finally getting on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Senior 2B Madi McGee led the Indians at the plate, going 3-4 on the day, with junior RF Damya Williams posting two RBIs and sophomore catcher Grace Snyder also tallying one RBI on the day.
The Bucs would go on to earn their ticket to the DIAA finals, where they’d eventually take down Delmar 17-9 in an all-Henlopen South title game.
While the Indians defeated both of those teams during the regular season, the team’s three graduating seniors are ending their careers on a positive note after “leaving it all out on the field” in their final high school game.
“Every single one of us our hearts were in it — all 14 of us. We were just all-in,” said senior RF Sami Mumford. “It’s definitely the best run that we’ve had at IR in a long time. We’re not ready for it to be over, but this season has been the most fun that I’ve ever had playing softball.”
“This is the first group that we’ve seen all the way through,” said Murphy. “They’re the heart of the team. It’s going to be sad to see them go.”
Next season, the Indians will return 11 players from their 2017 final-four squad, in addition to the incoming freshman class that includes members of Selbyville Middle School’s 9-1 team from this past spring.