The No. 2 Lady Indians continued their hot streak and easily downed Smyrna, Nandua and Caesar Rodney to improve to a 9-0 start. Despite losing 7-4 on April 6, Smyrna was the only team on the Lady Indians’ three-game bend to play the entire game. The Lady Indians finished Nandua in 5.5 innings and the short-handed Lady Riders in 4.5, by a combined score of 31-7.
The Lady Indians, like a handful of other hopefuls, have their eyes set on winning the state championship this year. But before you can do that you have to win one game at a time — something head coach Mark Browne is sure to keep fresh in their minds.
“We approach each game as if that team is the toughest game we’re going to play all year,” Browne said. “Right now, we feel real good where we are, but we’re never satisfied. We know there’s a lot of time left in the season.”
Browne preaches to his players to “play one game at a time” but has expanded on the phrase.
Each part of the Lady Indians’ schedule is broken down into five-game blocks, to give the ladies a sense of accomplishment before they head off to the next goal — another five-game stretch.
The goal is to win more than you lose, but so far the Lady Indians have exceeded that minimum goal and because of hard play seem destined for a strong run in the state tournament.
The Lady Indians’ team composition is split in half, somewhat — four underclassmen and five senior starters — so Browne places a lot of importance on his senior leadership.
“Our five senior leaders (Shauna Jacobs, Kayla Warrington, Jen Tyre, Kathryn Riley and Sara Powell) do a great job by leading by example. Our younger players have had great support from our upperclassmen. They believe in doing things the right way.”
They combined to draw five walks, scoring eight runs on only four hits, against Nandua. And they accounted for half of the team’s hits and belted in five of seven runs against Smyrna.
Kayla Warrington knocked in a two-RBI homerun against Nandua, which ignited sister Jordan’s bat.
Jordan Warrington hit a base-clearing three-RBI double against Nandua and then went 4-4 with four-RBI’s and a solo homerun in their 18-5 victory over Caesar Rodney.
Kayla added three-RBI on her double and Sara Powell belted her fourth homerun in the second inning and scored two runs on 2-3 hitting.
Browne’s five seniors scored 10 of the Lady Indians’ 18 runs.
Kathryn Riley (9-0) picked up all three wins on the mound, with 22 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched. Brittney Steele and Sara Tyre both pitched two innings apiece and fanned two in their blowout victories over Nandua and Caesar Rodney.
The Lady Indians will finish up their second five-game block on April 12 as they prepare for the other half of its season.
The Lady Indians are hosting Sussex Tech, and Ohio and New York high school teams for an Easter vacation fast-pitch softball tournament. (All three fields from both Sussex County schools will be utilized, and concessions will be available.)
Word traveled fast about the hot-bed of softball talent in Delaware after the Lady Indians downed the Calvert Cavaliers (Southern Maryland) 2-1 last season at this time.
Highly-touted then junior pitcher Megan Elliott was unstoppable all season last year, except against the Lady Indians. She hadn’t given up a run all season, let alone two and a loss.
“That’s really what brought the attention to us,” Browne explained. “The Ohio team heard about our win over Calvert last year and called. I hope they’re tremendously talented. It’ll be good for everybody.”
Indian River resumes conference play on April 25 against Cape Henlopen.