I was very much looking forward to spring. I was very much looking forward to Shorebirds baseball and peanuts and Crackerjack and the cracks of bats and blah, blah.
After falling behind 5-0 in the first inning against St. Mark’s on Monday, the Lady Indians softball team received the spark they needed for a comeback when freshman Marley Evans belted a three-run homer over the left-field fence to bridge the scoring gap in the third inning.
“I think that kind of brought the girls back in it,” said head coach Erika Brittingham. “Even though the girls were down 5-0, they weren’t out of the game. They were mentally in it, but their bats didn’t really show it.”
Evans took over on the mound for junior Casey Hitchens, who showed resilience by bouncing back and hitting well for her squad.
“She crushed the ball,” said Brittingham of Hitchens’ offensive performance. “That’s probably one of the things that I’m most proud of in this game, is after Casey had a rough first inning, she came out here and lit it up.”
The game would go on to see a 6-6 tie through six innings, until some key base-running by freshman Julia Bombhardt and Damya Williams gave the Lady Indians a late lead.
The Indian River High School baseball team looks primed for a breakthrough season, despite starting the season with losses against top-ranked St. Mark’s and Division I’s Polytech on Monday and Tuesday.
In the 6-0 loss to St. Mark’s, co-head coaches Chris Megee and Kevin Cordrey got a look into the future of their bullpen, starting freshmen pitchers Albert Clark and Brandon Hoffman before bringing in junior Deshawn Aiken.
“We’re just trying to keep everybody’s pitch counts down,” explained Megee of the rotation. “I thought they did a fantastic job. I thought they had a lot of presence to them, kept us in the game, got ground balls, easy fly balls. I saw tremendous things. I can’t wait to keep working with them for four years.”
While three two-run innings were ultimately the difference in the game, the Indians nearly closed the gap in the fourth inning, after senior Eddie Hogan got a shot to drop in center, putting two men on with two outs. Ultimately they would leave them stranded headed into the fifth, however.
Fresh off the success of last year’s 25th anniversary event, the Ocean to Bay Bike Tour returns this April 17 and 18 with some new twists and turns for what has become a staple for local and regional cyclists.
After making some improvements to the course last year, Race Director Lauren Weaver, event and member relations manager of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, and Bethany Beach’s Coastal Spokes Club have added another rest stop to the 30-mile course, extending the track to 36 miles.
“[Coastal Spokes] changed up the whole course to make it more attractive for cyclists,” Weaver explained. “They switched up all the paths. Everyone’s really getting the most out of their experience.”
The longer track will now consist of a 27-mile opt-out, for those who choose to take it, and was designed to offer more scenic views.
“It’s really great. We have excellent marking, thanks to Coastal Spokes,” Weaver explained. “They do all the markings. It’s real clear, easy to follow. It’s looking out at Holt’s Landing, the Indian River Bay, Derrickson’s Creek [and] Hemp Hills.”
The Indian River High School Cross Country Boosters will host the team’s marque fundraising event this Saturday, March 28, with their second annual IRXC 5K.
After seeing around 100 participants sign up for last year’s inaugural race, despite less-than-ideal weather, the hope is for a similar outcome this year — with better weather, of course.
The Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation (QRCF) announced this week that the fourth annual Bunny Palooza! will be held on Saturday, April 4, starting at 8:30 a.m., with the 10K run kicking off at 8:30 and the 5K run/walk at 9:30 a.m., both at Parkwood Avenue and Atlantic Avenue in downtown Bethany Beach, ending on the Bethany Beach boardwalk.
Georgetown Middle School will be holding its inaugural Run for Color 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, April 18, on and around the school grounds. The event is designed to be family-friendly, to allow participants to get a group together and have a fun time while exercising. The run will benefit the Georgetown Middle School track team and programs to promote healthy students at GMS.
The Indian River High School girls’ soccer team kicked off their 2015 season with a convincing 7-0 win over Polytech on Tuesday, March 24, starting the season 1-0 against the Henlopen North opponent.
You know how, every once in a while, a television show will just show clips from previous episodes because the writers are too lazy to come up with a new one? You gotta just hate that. Where’s the creativity? Where’s the originality?
Just a few months ago, Indian River High School didn’t have a girls lacrosse program. This spring, however, after much deliberation, 21 girls are finally taking the field, with nine junior varsity games scheduled to launch the sport to the eventual varsity level.
Leading the charge will be the Indians’ new head coach, Kara Voss, and assistant coach and long-time program advocate Anne McBride.
“It’s been a long battle, and we’re psyched,” said McBride of finally seeing the program taking shape. “I’m excited for the kids. It’s just great. We’ve needed this.”
McBride is being joined by Voss, who takes over head coaching duties after playing for the University of Delaware and graduating in 2013. Despite her youth, Voss brings extensive knowledge from her playing career and coaching experience as a JV coach for Archmere and varsity coach for Brandywine last season.
While last year’s history-making Indian River High School lacrosse team was primarily composed of seniors, the other two players making up the squad were freshman attackman and All-Conference selection George “G-Mart” Martin, and goalie Hayden McWilliams.
With 15 graduated seniors, both Martin and McWilliams are stepping up as leaders in their sophomore seasons; but, according to co-head coaches Jerry Sheridan and John Jaskewich, they won’t be alone in their quest to get the Indians back to the playoffs.
“We lost a lot of athletes, but I think, this year, offensively, we’re a little better,” said Sheridan. “I think we have more lacrosse players this year than we had last year.”
Most of last year’s squad was composed of the original program pioneers — mainly football players who decided to try out a new sport — but while their varsity experience has been limited, this year’s squad has been playing the sport longer. Playing together in various off-season programs, the chemistry is already there, as well.
“A lot of these kids this year have played together in the off-season,” explained Jaskewich. “They’ve played some fall ball, they’ve played some indoor together — they’ve played well together, so the personalities on the team are meshing.”
“We’ve got a lot of kids that have been with the program for a while that are now moving up to the varsity level,” Sheridan added.
The off-season preparation showed in the team’s first scrimmage against Bennett High School last Tuesday, with Martin leading the charge from up top to find teammates including sophomore Gianna Gottschalk and freshman Cole Josetti on the crease for the score.
Defensively, McWilliams looked like a seasoned senior between the pipes, making multiple saves from point-blank range as the last line of defense on Bennett fast breaks.
“We’re seeing where people fall,” said Jaskewich of how the roster is shaping up. “We’ve got some new guys, so we’re trying to work to everybody’s strengths and build our lines.”
After a long scrimmage against Sussex Central last week, Indian River senior captain Eddie Hogan led his team back out to the outfield to run wind sprints in the dark and bitter cold. For co-head coaches Kevin Cordrey and Chris Megee, it’s an example that shows not only impressive leadership and work ethic by Hogan and his teammates, but the new standard being set for Indians’ baseball.
“We’re trying to change the culture around here,” said Cordrey. “I think these guys have it in them to do it. I’m excited about this team, but they’ve got to get to the point where they’re excited too.”
“We’re trying to get those wins where they were close losses last year,” added Megee. “I think the experience is coming along, but we’ve just got to keep getting better. We’ve got to come here with a workman-like attitude and concentrate on getting better — take it one game at a time.”
The checklist for coach Steve Kilby and the Indian River High School girls’ soccer team looks a lot like it did last year. First, win the South by dominating the regular season. Then, take on a Division I rival, such as Sussex Tech or Caesar Rodney, for the conference championship. Then, it’s on to the DIAA playoffs, to take a shot at states.
While, last year, one mark remained unchecked on that list after the team was cut short of their state championship run in a 2-0 playoff loss to St. Georges Tech, expectations are just as high this season for a squad returning four All-State selections.
“I think that you’re gonna find that we have as much ability and talent as any of the stronger teams in the state,” said Kilby. “It just has to be the mindset. We just need to be ready to play.”
The 26th Annual Ocean to Bay Bike Tour, presented by PNC Bank, will take place on April 18 beginning at 7:30 a.m. in downtown Bethany Beach. Hosted by the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, cyclists region-wide will complete 5-, 30- or 50-mile or metric century courses travelling throughout Southern Delaware’s beach and bay locales.
Paddle Second Chance recently announced that it will hold its third annual Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) board day of racing and fundraising for Operation Second Chance (OSC). OSC is a non-profit 501(c) organization committed to serving wounded combat veterans and their families’ recovery and transition back to active duty or into civilian life.
I was an hour late for work last week, which can only mean one thing (aside from the fact that I forgot about daylight-saving time again): Spring sports are upon us.
The pool at the Howard T. Ennis School may not be the only option for Georgetown-area swimmers for much longer, as Sussex Academy announced this week its plans for a state-of-the-art aquatics center, which is set to break ground this summer and could be ready before next winter.
The Athlete’s to End Alzheimer’s 5K is much more than a charity run, as the effort will aim show at their kickoff party this Saturday, March 14, at Summer Salts Cafe at Sea Colony near Bethany Beach.
“We thought that this would be a good way to kind of build some buzz around the event itself, to get some people involved,” said Michael Loftus of Loftus Wealth Strategies, coordinator of the event.
The “fun-raising” party, which starts at 8 p.m. and goes until midnight, is open to the public and designed to commemorate the start of the mission, as well as to build excitement for the race. The party will feature D.J. Padraig, guest bartenders, raffles, giveaways and other prizes. There will even be two chances to win free race entry for the event.
After getting off the ground last spring with the inaugural Strike Out ALS 5K, organizers have brought the run back at a new venue this year, moving both the 5K and two-mile walk to Camp Barnes, on April 25.
“So many people reached out that were somehow connected to ALS,” explained race coordinator Kristen Jones.
As with last year’s event, which saw around 150 people and raised $4,000, this year’s proceeds will also go toward the ALS treatment center at Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC) in Salisbury, Md.
“They’re able to help supplement these families for anything that insurance doesn’t cover,” said Jones. “Anybody that’s associated with it is doing some kind of fundraiser to help support it, which is pretty neat.”
Not only does PRMC offer financial assistance to families undergoing the expenses of the costly disease, but it provides services including dietitians and respiratory therapists, and family support groups.
I had a heck of a week.
Teammates, friends and state champions — all ways to describe Indian River High School seniors and recent Wesley College soccer commits Luis Cruz, Danny Garza and Sean Whelen.
However, after playing together for seven years, winning three conference and four division titles, after the history-making state championship wins, the history-making state championship losses, all the individual accolades, the 80-degree pre-season practices, the goals, the assists, the crossbars, the nerve-racking matches against Sallies, the nerve-racking matches against CR, the corner kicks, the goal kicks, the penalty kicks, the cards that were red, the cards that were yellow, the cards that never were, the pre-game speeches, the half-time speeches, the post-game speeches, the bus rides home, the blood, the sweat and even the tears — the word they most prefer when referring to each other is “brother.”
“That’s why we have each other — we’re like brothers,” said Cruz. “If I need help, they’ll help me with some class or I’ll help them.”
The 2014-2015 basketball season was one of high hopes for Indian River High School.
Fresh off their first playoff appearance in more than 15 years, the boys returned head coach Mike Fabber for the third consecutive year, and the girls returned second-year coach Matt Mayette and leading scorer Taylor Billinger.
But while both teams started off hot — both getting edged by Division I Sussex Tech early on — they ultimately fell just shy of post-season appearances, haunted by the complex equation that is the DIAA playoff system.
“I knew it came down to the strength of the schedule,” said senior point guard Kei Juan Major. “Delmar and Laurel were big games. If we would have won them, we would have been in the playoffs.”
“I just wanted to make it, to reach our goal for this year,” added senior point guard Billinger. “It would have just been a great experience.”
With the top 24 teams getting in the tournament — based on wins, head-to-head and strength of schedule — the girls finished with a 9-11 record, which left them ranked 27th in the state to end the year. The Lady Indians saw just how much of a factor strength of schedule plays into the rankings, with team including 6-14 St. Mark’s getting in and 7-13 Tower Hill on the cusp, just ahead of IR.
The Indian River High School swim team is developing a new program tradition under head coach Colin Crandell.
First, they win the Henlopen South title. Then they rent a bigger bus for the DIAA state championships to accommodate the growing number of qualifying swimmers. Then those swimmers break both personal and school records at the University of Delaware-based state finals.
That’s the way things have been going for the past two seasons at least, with last weekend’s performance capping off yet another storied season in similar fashion.
So, with that new tradition, it’s not surprising that some swimmers are starting to break school records that they set themselves — which was the case for junior Lauren McCoy last Saturday, when she broke the school’s 100-meter backstroke record with a time of 1:05.03 after setting that prior record herself last winter.
“All my teammates — they just ran over and hugged me,” said McCoy of the reaction to the new record. “It felt really good.”
Going up against Cape Henlopen senior and No. 1-seeded 160-pounder J.J. Currie in the semi-finals of last weekend’s DIAA individual state tournament, Indian River sophomore Zeke Marcozzi knew he had to make a big-time move to pull off the upset and advance to the championship.
If you’re like me, you know who Phill is and you’ve seen the movie “The Grey” featuring the incomparable Liam Neeson.
You could say it was “major” week for Indian River High School basketball senior guard Kei Juan “Skeeter” Major. Not only did the Tribe’s hoops captain lead his team to a 70-64 comeback win over Seaford on Monday night to keep their playoff hopes alive, but the standout was also named to the roster for the annual Blue-Gold All-Star game — which will be held at the Bob Carpenter Center next month.
The event, which features the best talent from across the state, supports Best Buddies Delaware — a nonprofit organization and global movement designed to create one-on-one friendships for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Major, like the rest of the game’s participants, will be paired with a “buddy” for the day.
Major will represent the Gold Team, which will comprise “downstate” players, as they go up against the Blue Team and its designated northern players.
IR wrestlers at states
The DIAA State Wrestling Tournament will be held this Friday, Feb. 27, and Saturday, Feb. 28, at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes. Preliminary rounds will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, with the rest of Friday’s schedule as follows:
Round 1 — Preliminaries (4 p.m.)
Round 2 — Quarter finals/first-round consolation (7 p.m.)