A year ago, the Delaware Warriors under-11 baseball team traveled to its very first out-of-town tournament and didn’t win a game. The kids were disappointed. But head coach Doug Hudson told them there would be another chance.
Sure enough, the Delaware Warriors trudged back to Cal Ripken’s Gold Glove Classic in Aberdeen, Md., this week for that next opportunity. And they triumphed.
The Delaware Warriors won five games against 12 East Coast teams, including the No. 1 seed Washington Township of New Jersey. And the Warriors prevailed, 12-5, in that championship game.
“This is a pretty good accomplishment considering we were competing against big-time competition,” Hudson said. “Last year was our first out-of-town road trip and the kids weren’t used to the rigors (of the road).”
“They built on last year and did what they needed to do (in the off-season) because we knew the competition would be good again,” Hudson continued, “and we showed up to play.”
Hudson credited his 11-man pitching staff for winning the tournament because they were able to hold off opposing batters long enough to gain some momentum.
“Our pitching did a good job of holding them off until our offense could bust them wide open,” Hudson explained.
Hudson mentioned that the game with Washington Township was close through the fourth inning, but then game MVP Trevor “Trey” Mears came in to close it out, which sparked the Warriors’ offensive onslaught.
The Warriors team comprises players from as far north as Georgetown and Lewes, south to Frankford and Selbyville, to Fenwick and the beach towns and as far west as Pittsville.
The Lady Indians softball team has upped the ante once again. They’ve beaten the defending state champion Sussex Central Golden Knights 2-0 on their way to a perfect 10-0 record, and the excellence displayed on the field has transferred into the classroom.
All 15 varsity softball players made the honor roll and 13 of those earned highest honors, marking the first time in school history that an entire team achieved that level of excellence as a whole.
“I’ve had an awful lot of wrestlers earn All-Academic/All-State honors but never had an entire team make the honor roll,” said Indian River Principal Mark Steele. “This is a major, major accomplishment.”
The Lady Indians, like other athletes, spend all day at school (about six hours), then practice for another couple of hours before having a chance to eat dinner and study. If they travel to say, Smyrna, for a game, chances are that they don’t even get home until 8 p.m.
“You have to get into a routine or you won’t get your work done,” senior captain Kayla Warrington said. “You have to push yourself to do your school work and not just (do well) on the field. If you don’t succeed in the classroom you can’t play on the field.”
Academic excellence allows any student an opportunity to attend the schools of their choice and join the ranks of a chosen profession, but it also translates on the field.
“If you watch them play (softball), you can see how they play – they play smart,” Steele said.
“A lot of the game of softball is mental,” mentioned sophomore first baseman Jordan Warrington.
“You have to be smart if the ball is hit to you,” added Kayla Warrington. “You have to know the play and situation. You have to have brain-power too.”
Head coach Mark Browne mentioned that his player’s achievement was better than winning a state championship and that their accomplishments would, no doubt, help them later in life.
“It’s remarkable,” Browne said of his entire team making the honor roll. “It’s just awesome. Softball is a mental game and you have to think quickly and sometimes that means dealing with failure. We talk about ‘batting 3-for-10 is successful’ – the other seven is big. If you have a bad at-bat, you have to forget about it, and that’s something we’re hoping that we’re preparing them for the next level and later in life.”
“It’s a proven fact that those who participate in sports do better in the classroom and financially will make more money,” Browne continued.
“I don’t think I’ve been more excited,” Browne gushed. “It’s a big achievement because we did it as team. To have all 15 shine is remarkable."