Something took hold of Butch Martin while he was traveling in his RV through Arizona — now almost 10 years ago — that would change his life forever. To him, it was something new, something different, and something that he couldn’t help but try for himself.
And ever since he did, he’s been hooked.
“I heard the noise, the popping,” Martin recalled of what initially drew his interest to the increasingly popular sport of Pickleball. “So I went over to see what it was and they invited me to play. I’ve been playing ever since.”
From there, Martin quickly learned the game and the rules: serves must be underhand; play to 11; win by 2 — oh, and don’t go in “the kitchen,” the game’s notorious area designated in front of the net.
Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court, with paddles that are slightly larger than ping-pong paddles. The ball used is similar to a whiffle ball, but slightly smaller and, combined with a lower net, offers opportunities for players of various skill levels to play in a low-key social setting or with some serious competition in mind.
I’m not quite sure what day it is.
After leading the charge on the field in the Indians’ inaugural girls’ lacrosse season, senior defender Maggie Allison started the game in the goal during their season finale against Sussex Academy — a game they’d eventually go on to win, 14-5, and lock an undefeated record.
“I have a whole new appreciation for goalies,” said Allison of the experience.
Allison’s younger sister, freshman Kealey Allison, would put the Indians up 1-0 early, with junior Emily Shuey, freshman Helen Davis and sophomore Lexi Haden all adding unanswered scores afterwards, before the Seahawks would manage a shot on goal.
After letting in the first shot, however, Allison’s defensive background stood out, as she managed three consecutive saves to keep Sussex Academy off the board.
The Indians were looking for redemption headed into Thursday’s Henlopen conference championship against Caesar Rodney.
But while they may not have been able to find it against the Henlopen North nemesis in a 3-1 loss, they were able to find the mental toughness they had been missing when they faced the Riders earlier this season, and were prepared to shake off the loss and gear up for the DIAA playoffs.
“The thing for me is we kept battling,” said Indian River head coach Steve Kilby, comparing Tuesday’s performance against CR to the one earlier this season. “I’m really happy with that, and the girls recognized that, as well. So, hopefully, we build on this going forward.”
“We did work our hardest today. We never quit,” added senior captain and midfielder Sarah Buchler. “We looked a lot better than last game, we kept our heads up — it shows we’ve matured a lot over the season.”
The last time the two teams faced off, the Indians were deflated when a Caesar Rodney penalty kick broke a 1-1 stalemate just before halftime. However, in Tuesday’s matchup, despite going down by three goals at one point, the girls never threw in the towel.
The match went scoreless until the 21st minute, despite multiple chances by both teams, but the Riders struck first, when sophomore midfielder Lynsy Gruwell finally got a shot past freshman goalkeeper Fabrea McCray — who tallied five first-half saves and would go on to finish with 11 saves on the night for the Indians.
Indian River senior Taite Daisey had her options when it came to choosing a college, but ultimately, her love of running factored into her decision as she signed with Messiah College last Friday to run both cross-country and track-and-field next year.
But then running has factored into her decisions ever since her she began her career in the sport upon entering Indian River High School, giving up other sports in the process.
“I first ran cross-country to get in shape for soccer, but I really liked running, so I quit soccer for track,” she explained. “I’m planning to do both when I go up there.”
Getting her first look at Messiah when she attended a cross-country camp that they held last summer, Daisey was welcomed by the coaches and other runners immediately — and was attracted to not only the running programs there but the small-school atmosphere, as well.
After graduating the bulk of their team last year, it’s been an up-and-down season for the Indian River High School boys’ lacrosse team. So, when Wilmington Christian came to town, an up-and-down game with a comeback finish and eventual 13-9 victory seemed all too fitting a way for the Indians to end their season.
“They rallied,” said coach Jerry Sheridan after the game. “They showed us today what we were looking for all year.”
“We’re a team of stretches,” added sophomore midfielder George “G-Mart” Martin. “We’ll have times when we look just as good, if not better than, the team last year. And there’s times that we’re not even playing as a team. When we’re at our best — we’re good.”
The Indians certainly appeared to be at their best to start the game, jumping out to a 4-0 lead — until the Warriors rallied back from the deficit, all the way to a 8-5 lead at halftime.
A playoff appearance seemed out of reach for the 4-8 Indians earlier this season; however, after rallying back with five wins in a row, the young squad was 9-8 and primed for a post-season appearance when Appoquinimink came to town on Saturday.
Despite the Indians jumping out to 3-0 first-inning lead in that game, an eight-run rally in the second-inning propelled the Jaguars to an eventual 16-6 victory, and put the Indians’ tournament hopes out of their own control.
“We need some help from some other [teams], and I don’t like relying on other [teams],” said head coach Erika Brittingham of her team’s playoff chances after the game. “After that first inning, mental errors took us out of that game. That’s not the way we wanted to end our season.”
I was really trying to avoid this whole “Deflategate” resurfacing thing.
It could be called the “Battle of the Beach.” Or it could be called the “War on the Shore.” But whatever it’s called, it still has to be called a tie, as the Indian River and Worcester Prep (Berlin, Md.) girls’ lacrosse programs faced off for the first time in history on Monday in a back-and-forth matchup that ended in a 10-10 stalemate.
Despite the evenly matched squads, the undefeated Indians jumped out to a 6-1 lead early on behind a first-half hat trick from Indian River junior midfielder Emily Shuey.
But the Mallards would go on to mount a comeback before the break, stringing together four unanswered goals and closing the gap to just one score, down 6-5, before IR freshman midfielder Kealey Allison found the net just before halftime to give her squad a 7-5 advantage.
The second half saw a back-and-forth rollercoaster ride of lead changes, as after initially tying the game at seven, Prep continued to battle back, to again even the score on three other occasions — first at eight, then nine and, eventually, where it would settle, at 10.
“They just came out strong in the second half,” said Indian River head coach Kara Voss of Prep’s second-half effort.
“In close games, it comes down to little things, little mistakes,” added IR coach Anne McBride. “A turnover, not taking care of the ball, fouls — those are all little things that could yield goals. Unfortunately, that happened a couple of times to set up their scoring.”
The intra-district rivalry wasn’t much of a rivalry on Tuesday, as the Indian River High School lacrosse team steamrolled Sussex Central 15-2 in a physical matchup.
The Tribe set the tone early, jumping out to a 5-0 lead before the end of the first quarter and going into halftime with an 8-1 advantage.
“We played a good first quarter,” said coach Jerry Sheridan. “Our second line produced well for us, and we came out with a win.”
Indian River sophomore midfielder George Martin led the charge offensively, with five scores on the day — bringing his season total to a whopping 40 goals and 18 assists with one game still left to go. Freshman attackman Wyatt Kovatch also impressed with a breakout game — putting up four goals of his own in the victory.
The seniors on the Indian River High School baseball team took the field at home for the final time last Thursday, but first they made sure to leave their mark, as they rallied to an 11-1 victory over Lake Forest.
“The beginning of the year, we were kind of hard on them because we were looking for some leadership and we didn’t know where it was gonna come,” said coach Chris Megee. “I can safely say today that they are true leaders and captains on this team — every single one of them.”
While the Indians were without senior first-baseman Avery McCormick, who had to miss the game for a BPA conference in California, they got production from the squad’s three other seniors in the matchup, including Jesse Balasus in his first career start.
“Jesse was the player of the game, if you ask me,” said senior captain and 3B/P Eddie Hogan of Balsus’ 2-2 performance at the plate, where he tallied a double and three RBIs.
“He’s got the confidence,” said coach Kevin Cordrey. “He’s gotten better every day, and he’s having fun.”
After the game, Balasus reflected on the breakout performance to cap his baseball career at Indian River.
Indian River High School seems to have a knack for producing collegiate soccer talent.
Just over two months after seeing three soon-to-be graduates and River Soccer alumni sign letters of intent to play at the next level, yet another did the same last Thursday, when Ciera Morris signed with Hollins University to play soccer in the fall.
The senior midfielder most recently helped the Indians’ girls team clinch their third consecutive Henlopen South Championship; however, she’s been with the program for almost her entire athletic career — getting her start with the River Soccer Club before making the move to Selbyville Middle School and eventually taking the field for the Indians during all four years of high school.
“It’s definitely prepared me for the collegiate level,” Morris said of coming up through the program. “Coach Slonin and Coach Kilby have really been a big part of preparing me for that next level, getting that sense of confidence and ability to know that I can play for a D3 school.”
Morris said it was the program’s notoriety that initially generated the interest from Hollins, spurring a visit from head coach Robbie Ramirez, who made the trip from Virginia to get a look for himself when the Indians faced Laurel earlier this spring.
While Morris’ natural position is left wing, Ramirez has mentioned the possibility of trying forward next season — which, incidentally, is where she’s been seeing a lot of action for the Indians during her senior campaign.
After dropping six straight games in the thick of the regular season, returning to the DIAA playoffs didn’t seem like much of a possibility for the Indian River High School softball team.
However, since their last loss, to Cape Henlopen on April 29, the Indians’ bats have gotten hot en route to a five-game winning streak — keeping their post-season hopes alive at 9-8 on the season with one game still left on the docket.
“We were changing a lot of things, trying to find out what worked for us,” said head coach Erika Brittingham of the mid-season slump during which she changed her players’ swings. “We struggled for a while because of that, but now that our girls have had a lot of practice with the new swing, we’re really doing great things with it and we can see a big difference.”
The new-swinging Indians were on full display when Lake Forest came to visit for a division matchup, which they rallied to win 12-10 behind two homeruns from junior catcher Eliza “The Lizard” Bombhardt.
The 2015 Henlopen Conference tennis championships saw four medals for the Indian River High School Tennis team, as senior first-singles player Seung Son, senior second-singles player Sean Whelen, and second-doubles players junior Adam Izzo and sophomore Patrick Mochiam all placed for the Indians at Sea Colony on Saturday, May 9.
The lone medalist for the girls’ squad, Son’s second-place finish to cap her high school career comes just a year after placing third at last year’s championships, and was earned after a two-hour and forty-five minute battle and her defeat of the conference’s second-seed, Smyrna’s Katherine Clark.
After Clark handed Seung one of her only losses during the regular season, the senior was looking for redemption when the two met again.
“I ran on the court and was crying — I was just so proud of her,” said IR girls’ tennis head coach Stefanie Waite, who has coached Seung for the past three seasons. “She was so excited, after losing to her in the regular season — she had something to prove.”
The boys’ team saw equal success, with both Whelen and the doubles team of Izzo and Mochiam garnering third-place finishes less than a week after edging Milford for a Henlopen South title.
BREAKING NEWS: New parking restrictions in place for vehicles at Delaware State Parks’ surf-fishing beaches
Delaware State Parks Director Ray Bivens announced Tuesday that recreational surf-fishing management changes that include parking restrictions were going into effect immediately for all state surf-fishing beaches.
I wish I could be as cool as Bob Betram. You know — the Coastal Point ad-design guru that always had the funny job descriptions under his name on the editorial page of the paper?
There was more to the Indian River High School girls’ lacrosse team’s 12-11 win over Stephen Decatur on Monday than just a cross-state rivalry.
For the Indians, it was one of their toughest tests to date. For the Seahawks, it was a look at an up-and-coming program and a sure-to-be contender for the future. But for many of the girls, it was also a reunion of sorts — with a number of players having come up together through programs at Beach and Coastal Lacrosse.
That added component of the rivalry was apparent early on, in a high-tension back-and-forth game in which the Indians eventually took the lead, 7-5 by halftime — thanks in part to an impressive takeaway on defense by freshman Delaney Brannon that eventually set up a goal off a free position from fellow freshman Kealey Allison.
The Indian River High School girls’ tennis squad was looking toward conference championships this week, after seeing their South Title hopes dashed in a 3-2 heartbreaker against Milford on Tuesday.
The girls had kept their title chances alive in a 4-1 win over Seaford on Monday, during which they showed much improvement since facing the Blue Jays to start the season.
“Our first match of the season was against Seaford, and we won 3-2, but two of them went to three sets,” explained head coach Stephanie Riddle. “Today, we went in thinking, ‘We have to be on our game.’ I think we went in with a better mindset this time.”
The Indians got convincing wins from both Seung Son at first-singles, 6-1, 6-0, and Zoe Richard, 6-1, 6-1, on their senior night, but they also saw some impressive play from senior Lor Dabaj at third-singles — a newcomer to the team this season.
Bruised, battered, and Sarah Buchler-less, the Indian River High School soccer team saw a wide array of players take the field in their 7-0 win over Sussex Central on Tuesday, as they aimed to get back to full health for their upcoming South title and state tournament run.
“Right now, we have injuries — so having those girls in, getting the time, will definitely help us prepare for the tournament,” explained junior forward Brooke Beam after the game. “[Sussex Central is] better than we expected, for sure. Their team’s definitely improving.”
It was Beam who got the Indians on the board first May5, finishing a penalty kick in the seventh minute to put the Indians up 1-0, for her first of four goals on the night.
All of those goals would come in the first half against the Golden Knights as, with two additional scores from sophomore forward Maddie Hogsten, the Indians took a 6-0 lead into the break.
Riding a five-game losing streak after a tough stretch of schedule, things didn’t get any easier for the Indian River High School softball team this week, when they traveled to Bridgeville to take on the Blue Raiders and Hailey Andrews — one of the state’s top pitchers — on Tuesday.
But that didn’t stop the bats from heating up early, when, after stringing together a series of singles, Indians sophomore Olivia Ruberti knocked one into the outfield for an RBI-double, to put her squad up 3-0.
“Today, my girls just hit their pitch, and it really paid off for us,” said head coach Erika Brittingham after the game. “[Andrews] has a really good rise ball, and I told them, ‘If you want to beat her at her own game, you have to lay off the up-pitch,’ and they did that very well today.”
Ruberti was at it again in the third inning, pushing the lead to 5-0 when she rocked a shot for another double that sent two runners home.
After making an appearance at Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md., in a 10-2 loss to a tough Stephen Decatur squad last Friday, May 1, the Indian River High School baseball team kept their Southern Division title hopes alive with a 7-2 win over Woodbridge on Tuesday night.
“We haven’t looked at the scenarios yet. We’re just trying to win out,” said coach Kevin Cordrey of playoff and division title possibilities.
“We’ve been in playoff mode since Caesar Rodney,” added coach Chris Megee. “Once we got to CR, we basically said, ‘Look — this is our playoffs now, from here to the rest of the regular season.’ That’s how we’re trying to treat it.”
In Tuesday’s matchup against the Blue Raiders, the Indians jumped to a 5-0 lead early on, highlighted by three hits and two RBIs from junior outfielder Ryan Engh.
“The speed on the bases today was very good,” said Cordrey of the early offensive production. “We ran the bases well, and they made things happen.”
Coming off a tough division loss to Milford, the Indians were looking for redemption on the lacrosse field when they traveled up to Red Lion on Friday — and getting just that in a convincing 16-5 win against the non-conference opponent.
“Overall, the team, offensively, played a lot more like a team than in games where we’ve been at a deficit,” said coach John Jaskewich of the performance. “We pulled it together and played to our strengths.”
After jumping out to a3-1 lead by the end of the first quarter, the Tribe turned it on in the second quarter to push the score to 8-2 before halftime and eventually seal the win.
Sophomore middie George Martin posted a season-high seven goals on the day, bringing his season total to a team-high 26 through 10 games so far.
“If George has room to let it rip, we let him go,” Jaskewich explained. “[He] started driving, made some things happen.”
Freshman attackman Cole Josetti wasn’t far off Martin’s mark, with five scores of his own, his 16th on the year, going along with his two assists on the day. Junior Josh Lucido added a hat trick and two assists of his own, with freshman Wyatt Kovatch notching a score and assist in the victory, as well.
The Henlopen South boys’ tennis title came down to the Indian River vs. Milford matchup on Wednesday.
Then, tied 2-2, it came down to to the second-doubles matchup between IR’s Mike Kramer and Kyle Evans, and Milford’s Tyler Webb and Jonathan Alvarez Gonzalez.
Then, it came down to the tiebreaker of that match.
And with the division on the line and everyone watching, it was Kramer and Evans who sealed the victory in dramatic fashion — returning the South title to the Indians.
But despite coming through in the clutch for their team, Kramer and Evans hadn’t even realized that it was all up to them until the final rally.
“They didn’t tell us that it was up to us,” said Kramer, noting that they were so focused on their own match that they hadn’t realized the match was tied 2-2.
DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between April 20 and 26 made 729 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 115 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 30 complaints and issued 17 citations.
After their son Aiden had played in it for years, a spring without the Challenger Baseball League just wasn’t an option for Kevan and Megan Browne when they moved to the area.
But after spending their first official baseball season in Sussex County traveling back and forth to Maryland, accounting for more than five hours of drive time every Saturday, the Brownes are bringing the league — designed for special needs players ages 5 to 18 — to Delaware.
“He would start asking like Wednesday, and at the time, gas was like 4 bucks a gallon,” explained Kevan Browne of how important the league became to his son. “It was five hours in the car and 100 bucks in gas for an hour-and-a-half baseball game, but he loved it.”
While the league is, of course, designed for the players, the adult Brownes have enjoyed it equally, forming friendships within the community that span much further than the baseball diamond. It’s that type of camaraderie that they aim to establish in Sussex County.
Twitter. What a wonderful thing it is — allowing people to express their every opinion publicly and freely as soon as it’s formed.
The plan for the Indian River High School girls’ lacrosse team is move to the varsity level in 2016. And after starting their inaugural season 5-0, while dominating the competition in the process, the Indians appear more than ready to do so.
“Coming in, I knew we would have a good season. I wasn’t expecting it to be this good,” said head coach Kara Voss. “I have a lot of confidence in next year.”
“I thought we were definitely gonna win a few games, but I didn’t think we were gonna be this solid,” added freshman Delaney Brannon, who helped advocate the program. “We work really well together, and I think that’s why we’re winning.”
The consistent winning continued against Sussex Academy on Friday, April 24, and Parkside on Monday, April 27, as the girls remained unbeaten and at a perfect 4-0 coming up on the second half of their season, with six matchups still left to go.
Much like the beginning of their season, last Friday’s game against St. Thomas More didn’t quite go according to plan for the Indian River High School lacrosse team.
After two key stops from sophomore goalkeeper Hayden McWilliams and a score from freshman attackman Wyatt Kovatch to go up 1-0, the Indians gave up three unanswered goals, to fall behind 3-1.
However, they’d only give up one more for the rest of the game, as an offensive explosion highlighted by six scores from freshman attackman Cole “The Machete” Josetti and five from sophomore midfielder George “G-Mart” Martin paved the way to a 20-4 victory for the Indians, and made a statement about the rest of their season going forward.
“It’s a young team. It takes adjustments,” explained McWilliams of the game’s beginning. “It started to tone down a little bit once we got settled. We played the rest of the game hard.”