If a controversial call in their game against Lake Forest earlier this season had gone the other way, the Indian River High School baseball team could have very well been playing for the Henlopen South title at Milford on Monday, May 16.
They’d settle for spoiling the Buccaneers own title run, however, taking down the division leader, 17-9, for the first time since 2010.
“Milford’s a good team, but at the same time, we earned this one. We’re starting to play to our capabilities,” said head coach Chris Megee after the game. “I can’t be any more proud of them today.”
With the Bucs leading 8-4 through four innings, the Tribe blew the doors after tying it up in the top of the fifth, racking up 14 runs in the last three innings alone and giving up only one run in the process.
“Everybody contributed,” said Megee. “It was a total team effort. We saw everybody on the roster today.
“I always tell them, ‘When you’re not worried about who gets the credit, good things will come your way.’”
The bats were hot from top to bottom, with nine different players managing at least one hit in the matchup.
The offensive charge was led by junior LF/1B Zane Richard, who showed off some of his signature “inzanity,” going 2-4 with six RBIs and tallying his first career home run.
“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.”
“Zane had a couple at bats where he probably wasn’t happy about it, but he’s the type of guy that’s gonna stay in the game the whole time. He didn’t get too high, too low — he stayed even keel, and that’s how he got that home run,” added Megee.
Not far behind Richard’s RBI tally was freshman J.J. Killen, who knocked in four runs on the day while going 2-3 from the plate, and junior Zion Howard, who tallied two RBIs and went 2-3, as well. Sophomore shortstop Mark Smith also went 2-3, both hits ending up as doubles, and Killen and freshman CF Jacob Anderson each tripled in the game.
On the hill, sophomore Myles Clark and junior Ulises Barrientos carried the load, each striking out two batters, with Barrientos closing down the final three innings and giving up one run on just two hits.
After tossing 99 pitches against Salesianum on Saturday, senior Jake Hudson did not see the mound in the matchup against Milford but still managed a single and RBI at the plate.
“Jake threw nearly 100 pitches the other day — we were trying to give him a little break so he can play these last two games of his career,” Megee said. “The guys who came in for him did a heck of a job.”
Riding the win, five players were awarded All-Henlopen South honors last week as well, with senior OF Ryan Engh and senior DH Joey Anderson being named to the First Team, Richard and Howard making the Second Team, and Clark getting an honorable mention as a pitcher.
With games against St. Georges Tech on Wednesday, May 18, (after Coastal Point press time), and Dover on Thursday, May 19, still to go, Megee and his squad was looking to carry some momentum into next season and send their seniors out the right way.
“They’re young and they’re getting hungry, and they’re starting to learn how to play ball the right way,” Megee said. “We’re gonna use these last two games to figure out what we have going into next year, and we’re gonna try to send these seniors out on a high note and do everything we can to win ball games.”
Batting: U. Barrientos (1-1), Z. Howard (2-3), J. Killen (2-3), M. Smith (2-3), Z. Richard (2-4), D. Aiken (1-2), G. Argo (1-2), J. Hudson (1-3), Ja. Anderson (1-4)
RBI: Z. Richard (6), J. Killen (4), G. Argo (2), D. Aiken (1), U. Barrientos (1), Z. Howard (1), J. Hudson (1)
2B: M. Smith (2)
3B: Ja. Anderson (1), J. Killen (1)
HR: Z. Richard (1)
K: U. Barrientos (2), M. Clark (2)