The Indian River High School softball team is headed to the DIAA quarterfinals with their 7-4 first-round state tournament win over Red Lion on Tuesday, May 23.
After a slow start from the plate in that game, IR junior CF Julia Bomhardt put the Indians in scoring position with a leadoff single in the top of the third inning before stealing second and being knocked in on an RBI-double from senior RF Sami Mumford.
Senior shortstop Makenzie Collins made it 2-0 on the next at bat with an RBI-double of her own that scored Mumford before the inning was through.
“It’s always tough when we’re facing a team that we’ve already played in the season,” said IR head coach Erika Murphy. “We played them in a terrible-weather game, and we didn’t really play our best game the first time. We told the girls we need to make sure we’re focusing on our hitting and hitting our pitches. In the beginning of the game today, we definitely didn’t do our part on that, but they came back and made some great adjustments.”
Red Lion would answer with a solo homer in the bottom of the third, but the hitting rally for the Indians continued in the top of the fourth, when senior 2B Madi McGee lead off with a triple.
Sophomore catcher Grace Snyder would take the plate with McGee on third, sending a shot all the way back to the top of the fence in left center for a near homerun and RBI-double.
Sophomore 1B Samantha Mayfield pushed the lead to 4-1 on an RBI shot deep to right that scored Snyder after that, with Red Lion going on to cut the lead down to 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth.
The Indians would take a 5-3 lead headed into the bottom of the fifth, with sophomore pitcher Nicole Patille entering the circle in relief for sophomore pitcher Abi O’Shields, who notched five strikeouts in the first four innings.
“Pitching has been a joint effort all year for this team. We’re lucky enough to have some go-to girls, and if something isn’t working, we can change it up and we have options,” said Murphy of the pitching rotation this year. “They’re really working hard, and they’re very supportive of each other. They’ve done a great job I’m very proud of them.”
Patille would hold Red Lion to just one hit over the next three innings, getting some help in the outfield from junior RF Damya Williams on a grab over the right-field fence and play at short from Collins to get out of the fifth.
“The fans were talking to me and letting me know the fence was there,” said Williams of the fifth-inning grab.
Williams would go on to account for the final two runs of the game in the next inning, knocking in freshman Morgan Bomhardt after a double and Snyder after a leadoff single, to make it 7-4, before an over the shoulder snag by Julia Bomhardt in center, play at the circle by Patille and snag in right by Mumford ended the game and gave the Indians the win.
The Indians were set to face another team they’ve already gone up against this season, in Lake Forest, on Thursday, May 25, (after Coastal Point press time).
The Indians fell 6-2 in the previous matchup against the Spartans, on April 20, but Murphy said that they know where they went wrong in that matchup and are ready to make the necessary adjustments.
“We definitely have some things we know we need to work on tomorrow in practice,” said Murphy. “We need to make sure that we do a better job calling pitches and that we’re hitting, because we didn’t really hit well in our first game against them.”
“We know that we’re playing Lake and we’ve gotta hit to make things happen,” added Williams on Tuesday. “We’re ready. We’re going to practice hard tomorrow and hope for the best on Thursday.”
Thursday’s DIAA quarterfinal matchup was set to be played at Lake Forest High School in Felton at 4 p.m.
Batting: M. Bomhardt (1-1), G. Snyder (2-3), D. Williams (2-3), S. Mayfield (2-4), M. Collins (1-3), J. Bomhardt (1-4), M. McGee (1-4), S. Mumford (1-4)
2B: M. Bomhardt (1), M. Collins (1), S. Mumford (1), G. Snyder (2), D. Williams (2)
3B: M. McGee (1)
RBI: D. Williams (3), M. Collins (1), S. Mayfield (1), S.Mumford (1), G. Snyder (1)
SB: J. Bomhardt (1), G. Snyder (1)
Pitching: A. O’Shields (4.0 IP, 4 hits, 5 SO), N. Patille (3.0 IP, 1 hit)