What was a seven-game winning streak for the No. 5 Indian River varsity softball team has been replaced with a two-game losing streak.
The Lady Indians suffered an 8-3 loss to county rival Sussex Tech on May 9, only to lose a heart-wrenching 2-1 ballgame to Smyrna the next day.
It is the softball team’s first losing streak of the season and likely a shock for the Lady Indians, who have dominated the season until this point.
“These were big losses,” said Head Coach Mark Browne. “They couldn’t have come at worse time.”
The team’s four losses this season have come largely to conference opponents (Sussex Tech, Sussex Central and Smyrna, and non-conference Cape Henlopen) and have damaged the team’s chances of winning the Henlopen South title.
“The girls took it really hard. They realize the opportunity that they had, but we’re going to work to get back where we were,” asserted Browne.
The Lady Indians had their chances to win both of the two games early this week. Indian River stranded 10 base runners and misjudged one too many balls in the outfield against Sussex Tech. Twice they had the bases loaded but couldn’t capitalize. And their impatience at the plate cost them against Smyrna.
“The kids are putting too much pressure on themselves. They are trying to get back in the game all in one swing, and what they need to understand is that you have to take what you can get,” said Browne. “If someone will give you a walk, then take the walk.”
“We’re giving in too early, and if they take their time then we can get good looks,” said Browne.
Against Smyrna, the Lady Indians only managed to muster three hits. Junior centerfielder Shauna Jacobs went 2-3 with a single and a triple. Junior leftfielder Jen Tyre was responsible for the remaining hit — a single. The Lady Indians’ lone run was driven in by senior catcher Ravin Robinson on a fielder’s choice.
Junior pitcher Kathryn Riley recorded the two losses, which drops her record to 9-5 in the regular season. Freshman Brittney Steele has had an extended look-over the past two weeks and has pitched well — but pitching can’t produce runs.
The Lady Indians were set finish their season on the road, traveling to Caesar Rodney on May 12 (4:15 p.m.) and Laurel on May 14 (7 p.m.).