Thanks to El Niño, even though it’s pretty much Memorial Day — which is pretty much the unofficial start to summer, more or less — it hasn’t felt like spring until pretty much right now.
But despite all the visibly separate condensed moisture falling from the sky, and the low barometric pressure systems… and the nimbostratus clouds hanging around long enough to warrant at least maybe contributing toward some of the utilities this month… and all the freshly inked prescriptions for Lexapro… and casually snagged “Don’t Jump: 10 Things To Ask Your Doctor About Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)” pamphlets well-folded in back pockets for later discretionary perusal, spring sports at Indian River High School still went down, whether weather or no.
Sure, there were some games with very literally less than solid field conditions — including the girls’ lax mud-bowl against Dover, and pretty much every girls soccer game — and games that would have maybe been better served playing in an oversized bowl of Campbell’s Chunky.
But, despite it all, the Indians still definitely saw some sports moments that were beautiful, insane and, more than likely, in the rain, during “spring” 2016.
Here are a few of this season’s top plays to the best of a certain Coastal Point sports reporter’s recollection. (My memory of the spring is a little foggy… LOLZ)
(5) Oh, the inZanity!
It was kind of an off season for the Indian River High School baseball team.
But even with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation index spinning figurative wheels for the entirety of their printable schedule, the Indians still went out with a literal boom when junior Zane “inZanity” Richard tallied his first career homer against a then-division-leading Milford.
“I was just trying to square the ball up — hit the ball as hard as I could — and it ended up going over the fence,” said Richard of the sixth-inning shot. “I didn’t know if it was going over, so I just kept on running.”
Even though the Milford announcer kept calling him Zane Richard (RICH-urd, as in: “Nixon,” “Gere,” and/or “the Lionhearted”), Richard (RICH-chard, as in: the young man’s actual last name) still went yard and also racked up six RBIs in a 17-9 win.
(4) McWilliams kick saves the season
Can he kick it? Yes, he can.
Starting out the year 3-4, the IR boys’ lacrosse team knew they needed to start a streak to keep their playoff hopes alive. And when Dover came to town on April 22, they knew that the streak had to start right then.
The weight of the game showed for both teams, as the score went back and forth for all four quarters and saw seven ties.
After going up 14-13 on a Cole Josetti score, however, junior keeper Hayden McWilliams would decide the game and give the Indians the win by keeping the Senators off the board with two crucial saves in the final minute — one of them stopped by way of a well-placed cleat.
“He can be a game-changer — a momentum changer. And that’s what he did,” said coach Dave Spencer after the game. “We turned the ball over twice, and then Hayden went down and made two saves right there in the final part of the fourth quarter that really sealed the deal for us.”
Somehow, McWilliams didn’t get a First Team All-Conference nod at the end of the regular season, proving beyond an equivocal doubt that it isn’t very likely that the voting committee much reads the sports section of the Coastal Point or, even, at least, like, skims through the pictures or something (known around the CP office on Thursdays as “reading it R. Chris Clark-style”).
(3) Mac attack!
Speaking of being able to kick it, IR soccer standout Mac Smith made headlines on the clays this spring as the tennis team’s No. 1 singles player, with a win over Worcester Prep’s Alex Choy (Prep’s No. 1 singles player).
In the first match of the season, Smith found himself the last of the Mohicans, so to speak, when the rest of his Indian teammates fell early in their respective Mallard matchups.
But, despite trailing 4-1 in extra sets, and all the non-barometric added pressure of the whole ordeal, the “Mac Attack” was on as Smith battled all the way back for the victory — landing six ensuing fuzzy yellow balls over the net to Choy’s one. (He took the game by a score of 7-5.)
“To come back four in a row after that is just consistent, gutsy play, for him to not lose his head — well done, well executed,” said IR head coach Mariano Woo. “What I basically told him was to keep the ball in play. Let [Choy] make the mistakes — so the pressure was on the opposing player, as opposed to on Mac — and wait for the opportunity when he can essentially take control of the point, which is exactly what happened the last four games.”
(2) Brooke Beam keeps it 100
Some cool new slang these days that all the kids are saying is ‘Keep it 100’ or ‘Keeping it 100,’ or something like that — whether I’m exactly sure of what it means or no.
What all the kids are not doing, though, is scoring 100 goals during their high school soccer careers.
Even so, Brooke Beam definitely kept it 100 when the Indians took on Polytech on Tuesday, May 3.
The senior captain needed three scores to become the first soccer player in school history to get past the career century mark, and everyone on the sidelines and in the crowd knew it (her teammates ready with balloons, commemorative photos, inflatable soccer balls, indecipherable high-pitched shrieks, hugs, etc.).
Pulling off a hat trick was, of course, something that Beam (since named Delaware’s Gatorade Player of the Year) had done plenty of times before — not only in games, but halves — throughout her career. However, after tacking on No. 98 just before the break, she’d run into a little trouble.
“I was getting really frustrated there. It was just a psychological thing,” Beam said with a laugh. “I was putting too much pressure on myself. I kind of learned that you just need to relax and let the goals come to you.”
After some jestful jeers from the sideline over near misses and point-blank saves on shots that, typically, she would make, the crowd died down until Beam found No. 99 in the 75th minute, upgrading the countdown back to “ignore-all-incoming-text message-notification-sounds” status.
Then, she’d get her chance at 100 — taking a ball on a clear, and racing red-and-black jerseys down the sideline, showing off some Miles Davis footwork that made phone-holstered spectators pretty Dizzy Gillespie, so to speak, and finally getting forward and one-on-one with the keeper, this time knocking it in and sending the crowd and the sidelines into an uproar.
Senior midfielder Emiley Shuey had a lot of goals this season — like 80 or so of them, to be exact (seriously).
But none of those scores held quite as much clout as the one she netted in overtime during the girls’ lacrosse team’s 8-7 win over Salisbury School on April 18.
In true Phil Collins’ fashion, Shuey took her act solo on the opening OT draw, darting down the field for a sudden-death shot on the keeper, only to miss her chance.
But after she got placed on the line for a penalty shot, the crowd could feel it “In the Air Tonight” as “Shu-Shu-Shudio” gave the Indians the win “Against All Odds” and got the girls’ varsity lax program off to a 3-3 start in their “Genesis” season.
“I felt like I blew it,” Shuey said of her first attempt. “Then they put me on the center hash and — just like the whole game — we just needed to fake the goalie out. She was tall, so I shot low… and it went in.”
Whelp — that’s it. That’s all she wrote. The whole enchilada. The End. Fin. The Horizontally-Challenged Lady has sung. The hay is in the barn. The Horizontally-Challenged Lady has, more than likely, eaten the whole enchilada, and probably, the hay in the barn, too, now that she knows that it’s there (was there).
While I’m sure that there were more, and probably will be more, than just five “Tribe Top Five” moments to talk about — especially considering that we haven’t even started the playoffs yet — they only give ol’ “Tripple OT” so much room back here, even for Memorial Day weekend issues. In fact, sometimes I’ll go on some, for the most part, nonsensical rant, and they’ll just go ahead and cut me off mid