Since falling to Smyrna in their season opener, the Indian River High School softball team has been on the warpath, taking care of their last three opponents by a collective score of 49-8 and improving to 3-1 on the season.
The Indians hosted St. Mark’s on Saturday, April 1, taking down the Spartans 12-2 in just five innings and earning their third straight victory.
After giving up two runs in the top of the first, sophomore pitcher Nicole Patille and the defense held St. Mark’s hitless for the rest of the game.
“I knew that the defense had my back,” said Patille. “They were playing really well. They have all season.”
Offensively, the Indians had the bats working all game, taking a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the second inning and going on to rally for 11 hits in the game.
Senior shortstop Madi McGee tallied a triple in the game, with senior 2B Makenzie Collins, senior RF Sami Mumford and 1B Samantha Mayfield each knocking two doubles. Sophomore catcher Grace Snyder posted three RBIs and junior CF Julia Bomhardt went 3 for 4 batting leadoff for the first time since her freshman season.
“I’m back in the one hole this year, instead of the three, so I’m slapping a lot this year and trying to use speed to my advantage,” said Bomhardt. “My girls hit me in. When I got on, they hit me in.”
“The girls are just really making good adjustments at the plate,” said fourth-year head coach Erika Murphy. “Overall, they’re just focused on their swing this year, what’s going to get them on base, regardless of what it is. They’re just firm believers that if you’re doing that, then the hits will fall.”
While the girls would go on to fall 4-3 to Nandua on Tuesday, April 4, in a non-conference road matchup in Virginia, the new hitting philosophy has spoken for itself this season, with the Indians averaging more than 11 runs per game.
Murphy chalked up their success so far to unselfish play at the plate.
“They’re just doing a really good job of communicating. We don’t have any selfish players this year,” Murphy explained. “They’re all focused on what’s best for the team.”
“We’re really playing as a team this year,” added Bomhardt. “We all have each other’s back.”
Giving up just over three runs per game, the success of the pitching rotation, made up of Patille, junior Marley Evans and sophomore Abi O’Shields, has also paid its fair share of dividends.
“We all know what we can throw. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. So whenever we’re needed, we go in there and throw,” said Patille.
“We’re fortunate enough to have depth in that area,” said Murphy. “It’s a combined effort, all season it has been.”
While the girls were aiming to get a new streak going with a game against rival Sussex Tech on Thursday, April 6, (after Coastal Point press time), they weren’t getting too far ahead of themselves, in terms of the schedule.
“Usually, in the past, the girls have kind of looked ahead to certain teams. But, this year, I think the reason that we’ve been so successful is because they’re taking it one game at a time,” said Murphy. “They’re talking about the teams that are coming up and focusing on them.”
Thursday’s game against Sussex Tech was set for 4:15 p.m. at Indian River High School. After that, the Indians will take on Delmar at home on Monday, April 10, at 4:15 p.m.