The Delmarva Shorebirds have been rolling since their return home last Wednesday, May 22, pulling off a series sweep against Kannapolis convincingly and well on their way to doing the same against Hagerstown to cap off an eight-game home series.
To begin the 2013-2014 school year, Indian River High School head soccer coach Steve Kilby led the boys’ team to their first-ever conference and state championships. Now, just months later, the girls’ soccer team appears to be well on their way to making similar history to cap off that same school year — taking down Henlopen North rival Sussex Tech last Friday night in Milford and earning their first-ever Henlopen Conference championship.
“I’m telling you, there’s no reason on God’s green earth that this group can’t do the same thing,” Kilby told his squad after their 2-1 victory, referencing the boys’ historic title run this past fall.
After defeating the Lady Ravens 3-2 two weeks prior, off an unassisted goal by sophomore forward Brooke Beam in the game’s final minute, the Lady Indians were faced with the task of doing it all over again to officially lock in the conference.
After a tough late-season schedule and hitting slump led to three consecutive losses, against Sussex Central, Laurel and Milford, the Indian River High School softball team got back on track just in time this week, to lock in a playoff spot with wins at Appoquinimink and Wilmington Charter last week.
Before capping the regular season with back-to-back wins, however, the girls’ hitting slump had continued, when they traveled to Laurel on Wednesday, May 14, to face defending state champions Laurel and pitching phenomenon Reagan Green.
Green — who, as a junior, has already committed to play at a Division I college — held the Lady Indians to no hits on the day, only allowing one runner on base after hitting her with a pitch.
The Indian River High School baseball team has struggled to play to their full potential throughout the 2014 season. However, in facing northern powerhouse Salesianum last Monday, May 19, they were able to tap into that potential and give one of the state’s top teams a run for their money in what would end in a 13-10 loss for the Indians.
“It’s always a surprise. You never know if we’re going to play to our full potential, and we did today,” said senior OF/1B Colby Dean after his final career game in green and gold. “It was a nice way to end it. We all came together and played pretty well.”
After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, the Indians’ bats started to heat up in the bottom of the second. Freshman catcher Andrew White capitalized on runners in scoring position when he knocked in two RBIs with a line drive shot down the leftfield line, to give his team the 3-2 advantage.
Indian River High School senior and multi-sport athlete Tim Roberts is driven by competition. It’s the reason he plays three varsity sports for the Indians — two of which compete in the same season.
It’s the reason that he spent the entire summer running routes on the beach and established himself as a key player on offense, defense and special teams this fall for the Indians’ football team.
And it’s certainly the reason that he recently accomplished something that only a select few Indian River athletes have ever been able to — winning not one, but two state championships in his high school athletic career.
Roberts was a sophomore on the 2011 State Championship football team lead by Jamie Jarmon, and though he was just an underclassman, he contributed as a safety and has the stats to prove it.
Last weekend, however, Roberts won first place at the DIAA State Championships for track in the high jump — with no help from Jarmon, or anyone else except his own unwavering competitive drive.
“In the 100, I might not run the fastest, but if the person in front of me has a ball and they’re about to get a touchdown, I will catch them, almost every time,” Roberts explained. “Whatever the person in front of me jumps, I just jump one better.”
Jumping better was also the theme of his high school track career. As a freshman, he made the preliminaries in the state championship. During his sophomore year, he placed third in the high jump. His junior year, he took second, only to return his senior year to place one better one more time and earn a first-place medal.
Local pro skimboarders and brothers Dave and Tom Bracht have faith. They have faith in themselves as professional athletes. They have faith in each other as brothers and best friends. And they have faith in the mission of Relyance Skim Camp.
This past weekend, that faith paid off, when they successfully put on their first-ever session of the instructional skim camp.
“Honestly, this past weekend could not have gone any better,” said Dave Bracht, the older of the two brothers. “I seriously think some of them might have had the best day of their life.”
A total of 17 kids from a Pennsylvania-based church youth group made the journey to the Delaware shore, just to learn how to skim like the Bracht brothers.
“We were worried about the water being super cold,” said Tom Bracht regarding Atlantic temperatures that still have a ways to go in terms of warming up before summer. “Believe it or not, me and Dave were colder than any of the kids. They spent more time in the water — they were even swimming and bodysurfing.”
With back-to-back wins against Dover and Sussex Central, the Indian River High School lacrosse team still had a good chance of making the DIAA state playoffs in their first official varsity season, but the achievement didn’t come easily for the Indians.
After falling behind in the second quarter against Henlopen South champion Delmar on Thursday, May 15, the Tribe struggled to regain momentum and went on to lose 13-6 in their final regular-season matchup.
“In the second and third quarters, we tend to lose our momentum, for one reason or another,” said senior defenseman H.F. Wilgus regarding the season trend.
“We were all pumped up and then, after they scored and scored again and started getting ahead, we just lost the momentum,” senior defenseman Tristan Smyth added.
Despite the youth of their squad, the Indian River High School golf team managed to end the season winning two out of their last three matches on their way to Henlopen Conference championships, which were scheduled for Wednesday, May 21 (after Coastal Point press time).
The Delmarva Shorebirds were set to return to Perdue Stadium on Thursday, May 22, (after Coastal Point press time), to mark the start of an eight-game home series against Kannapolis and Hagerstown.
Coming off three consecutive losses, the Indian River High School lacrosse team had to win out the remainder of their schedule to remain in DIAA playoff contention. With wins against Dover and Sussex Central last week, the Indians are now two-thirds of the way there — with South nemesis Delmar as the only team left on the docket.
“This may decide if we’re in the playoffs or not,” said senior midfielder Ben Gonski of that game. “Playoffs would be big for a two-year team just starting out. Not so bad for a couple of kids just picking up lacrosse sticks.”
The Indians kept their playoffs hopes alive on Friday, May 9, taking down Dover 10-9 in a tight matchup that came down to defense in the final minutes.
“It was back and forth the whole time and then we just stopped them on ‘D,’” senior midfielder Tim Roberts said of the Dover game. “Hayden [McWilliams] really showed up.”
Son takes third at conferences
First-year head coach Stefanie Riddle and assistant coach Kelsey Waite had an impressive Henlopen South title streak to defend when they took over the Indian River High School girls’ tennis team this spring. And last Wednesday, they did just that when they locked in the program’s fifth consecutive division title.
“That was the goal from the beginning of the year, so we’re pretty excited that it happened,” said Riddle of continuing the long-tenured title run.
Heading into their final match of the season at 9-3, the Lady Indians needed to beat Milford for the second time this season to take the title. The match was rained out, however, and with conference championships scheduled just two days later, Indian River was awarded the win using the same score from the previous matchup — 5-0.
After being crowned South champs in just their first year heading up the program, even some former IR tennis coaches took note of Riddle’s and Waite’s early success, including 2013 coach Conor McMullen, who led the girls to two South titles during his two-year tenure.
The Indian River High School boys’ tennis team may have fallen short of their season goal of reaching another Henlopen South championship, but senior Sam Izzo was still able to achieve a personal victory by medaling at the conference championships last weekend.
“I know we were really wanting to win the conference. They’re used to winning,” said first-year head coach Kelsey Waite. “We had quite a few 3-2 losses that were tough to handle.”
Waite went on to commend first-singles player and senior Rydge Murray, who faced some of the best players in the state all season and at conferences.
“He’s playing the best players in Delaware. My hat’s off to him,” she said. “He did an amazing job.”
Indian River High School senior pitcher Rachel Hudson and Sussex Central senior pitcher Shelby Wilkins have been playing together and against each other since they were 9 years old, with the majority of those games taking place at the Pyle Center in Roxana.
So it was only fitting that, not only was the potential last career game between the two best friends and rival pitchers played at the same Pyle Center that they began their careers, but that the game, ultimately, came down to pitching.
“They know each other from playing travel ball together,” IR head softball coach Erika Brittingham explained. “It helps to an extent, because you know kind of their habits, but then also in the back of their mind, they know they’re playing their friends.”
After clinching last week their first Henlopen South title since 2011, the Indian River High School girls’ soccer team posted back-to-back shutouts against Lake Forest and Sussex Central to notch their 11th and 12th consecutive wins and improve to 13-1 on the season (as of Coastal Point press time on Wednesday, May 14).
Facing one of the better teams in the South division on Thursday, May 8, the Lady Indians handled Lake Forest in a 3-0 match that saw two goals from sophomore forward Brooke Beam and one from freshman forward Maddie Hogsten. Beam scored unassisted both times, while Hogsten’s goal was assisted by Beam.
The underclassmen scoring leaders were at it again on Monday, May 12, when they took on district-rival Sussex Central — dominating the Lady Golden Knights 8-0 in a game that could have gotten far more out of hand if IR hadn’t pulled its starters and played possession in the second half.
The Justin’s Beach House 5K run and 2-mile walk is back and set for Saturday, May 24, in Bethany Beach — an event that sold out with 800 registered racers last year.
This year, the race will expand to accommodate 1,000 runners and walkers, but Race Director Rick Hundley still expects the race to sell out.
“It doesn’t appear that there will be day-of registration,” Hundley said after explaining that the race already had nearly 750 pre-registered voters with more than two weeks until race day. “We’re getting between 25 and 50 registrations a day.”
“We’re going to be sold out at 1,000 participants. The important thing for people to know is that, if they’re going to run this race, they need to sign up immediately. It sold out last year a week before the event.”
As many of the athletic programs at Indian River High School can attest, feeder systems and athletes maintaining academic standards are two crucial factors in success. Considering that principle, the future is seems bright for the Indian River football and cheerleading programs, as 50 Lower Sussex Indians recently earned All-American honors at the Pop Warner level.
Dewey Beach’s most colorful run will return this year, set for Sunday, June 8, kicking off at the Rusty Rudder. The Ten Sisters Road Race Series non-competitive run/walk will feature seven “color stops” along the course where racers can get creative with 100 percent safe non-toxic color powder.
After back-to-back losses as a starter on the mound, Delmarva Shorebirds pitcher — and one of the Baltimore Orioles’ top prospects — Hunter Harvey put together a breakout performance against the Lakewood BlueClaws on Monday, May 12.
The 3-0 victory not only put Harvey back to .500 on the season as a starter, at 2-2, but brought the Shorebirds back to the mark, as well, at 18-18.
After going down 2-0 early in last Saturday’s matchup against Henlopen North rival Cape Henlopen, the Indian River High School softball team put together an eight-run inning in the bottom of the fifth to eventually lock in an 8-2 victory.
“They played a lot of small ball, and they have some really quick girls on their team. It kind of hurt us in the first inning,” head coach Erika Brittingham explained. “After the first inning, we played our defense for that a little better.”
After making some lineup adjustments — which Brittingham went on to explain were specific to the matchup — the Lady Indians were able to keep Cape off the board behind the pitching of senior Rachel Hudson, who pitched the entire game and left two runners stranded in the top of the fifth inning, just before the scoring run began.
Heading into their matchup against Sussex Tech last Thursday, May 1, the Indian River High School girls’ soccer team was on a seven-game shutout streak, during which they had collectively outscored their opponents by an astounding 44-0 margin.
While that streak may have ended against the previously 7-2 Lady Ravens, the Lady Indians returned the favor by ending a streak of their own — snapping Tech’s three-year win streak over Indian River in girls’ soccer with a 3-2 victory and a dramatic finish.
“You would have thought we’d a won the World Cup,” said head coach Steve Kilby of his team’s reaction to the win. “Tech has handled us the last three years, and this group of seniors really wanted to have a win against them. For it to be such a dramatic game ending was pretty exciting.”
The Indian River High School lacrosse team saw their Henlopen South title hopes dashed last Wednesday, April 30, when they fell to Milford at home, 16-11.
Despite the game’s final score, the matchup remained close through the third quarter. But as the rain and wind picked up, so did the Buccaneers’ momentum — continuing their consistent scoring throughout the fourth as the Indians began to struggle to finish chances.
After going down 4-1 early, it was Indian River senior midfielder Merrick Kovatch who took it upon himself to spark the offense, dodging through multiple Milford defenders from up top and ripping a shot that would hit the post and bounce to senior attackman Spencer Murray, who then picked up the rebound and found the back of the net.
Kovatch would find Murray again shortly afterwards, that time on an intentional assist, to bring the Indians within one. Murray locked in the first-quarter hat-trick after another Milford score, with freshman midfielder George Martin dodging through what appeared to be the entire Bucs’ defense to bring IR back within one after Milford answered with another goal to maintain a one-goal lead at 6-5.
With the Indian River High School boys’ tennis season in the books and the girls’ squad with just one regular-season matchup to go (as of Coastal Point press time on Wednesday, May 7), both teams were set to look toward conference championships starting this Thursday, May 8.
The Indian River High School track team locked in two division wins last Thursday, May 1, taking down Laurel, 82-55, and Woodbridge, 87-50.
The Indians notched several first-place finishes in the meet, including one from senior Tim Roberts. Roberts — who also runs midfield for the Indians’ lacrosse team and played in three games in that sport last week, as well — was allowed to participate in a fourth athletic event in the same week, since it was a makeup from earlier this season.
“It was a makeup meet. That’s off-schedule, so I was allowed to,” said the three-sport athlete, who is otherwise only allowed under to DIAA regulations to compete in three athletic events per week.
Not only did his demanding athletic schedule not hold him back from taking first place in the long jump, but neither did his footwear, as he won the event in a pair of Vans skateboarding shoes, with no traction or support of any kind.
After handling the Charleston RiverDogs in three out of four games at home last week, the Delmarva Shorebirds handed the games right back on their journey south, losing three consecutive games to the RiverDogs in Charleston.
Delmarva started the series with a 4-3 win on Friday, May 2, but Charleston quickly evened the series with a 6-5 win on Saturday, May 3.
With a young squad, the Indian River High School baseball team is in a re-building year, but despite a tough schedule, the Indians still remain in South contention for the 2014 season.
“We’re still playing for the South,” said one of the team’s rising young stars, sophomore pitcher Jake Hudson. “Everybody’s got six losses in the South. We only have seven losses, so we could win out. That’s what we’re trying to do — trying to win the rest of the games in the South.”
The Indians took a step backward from that contention on Tuesday, May 6, falling to Woodbridge 10-2, but managed to knock off Henlopen North squad Cape Henlopen on Monday, May 5, 4-3.
The Indian River High School golf team held a tri-meet last Tuesday, May 6, on their home course at Cripple Creek Country Club. Collectively, the team shot a 208 on the day, which was enough to edge out Delmarva Christian Academy, which shot a 300, but couldn’t quite notch the win against Henlopen South opponent Lake Forest, who shot a 200 on the day.
Joey Cooper was the team’s low-scorer, with a 47. Junior Clayton Hardy wasn’t far behind, with a 52, and the team’s only starting female player, Tori Buchanan, shot a 54. Josh Evans came in one stroke behind Buchanan, with a 55.
Cooper was once again the medalist for the match, edging out Lake Forest’s Zach Powell, who shot a 48 on the day.
The Indians are now 3-8 on the season but would get a chance to add a few more wins when they head to Seaford Country Club to face Laurel on Thursday, May 8, (after Coastal Point press time) before returning to Cripple Creek on Friday, May 9, and Tuesday, May 13, to finish out the season against Polytech and Smyrna. All of those matches are set to begin at 3:30 p.m.
It was a tale of two halves when the Indian River High School lacrosse team took on rival Worcester Prep last Monday, April 28, as the Mallards scored 13 unanswered goals in the second half after trailing 6-4, to eventually notch a 17-6 win.
“They’re smart. They play smart lacrosse. They know the game,” said IRHS senior midfielder Tim Roberts of the seasoned Maryland squad. “Someone who has stick skills and plays smart is always a threat if they know what they’re doing, and they do — they have a background.”
After falling behind 3-1 early in the first quarter, it was Indian River senior attackman Spencer Murray who tied the game at 3, recording his third goal of the quarter and 14th on the season.
Any other goalie probably would have let the high, lofted shot off the foot of a Dover forward sail right over their head after coming off the halftime break and spending the majority of the game standing in the freezing cold — but Indian River Senior Alex Myers is not any other goalie.
Prior to that shot, Myers and the Lady Indians’ defense hadn’t given up a goal in six and a half games — a streak that Myers didn’t plan on seeing the end of that day. Using her basketball ability, she jumped up to the cross bar, knocking the ball down and recovering it before it had a chance to sneak past her or anyone had another chance to knock it in.
“Alex Myers is one of the most solid goalkeepers in our conference,” said head coach Steve Kilby after the game. “There’s no doubt about that. She’s a captain on this team, and she’s a captain for a reason.”
As a result of the crucial save, the Lady Indians were able to post their seventh consecutive shutout, taking down Dover by a score of 3-0. The team sat at 8-1 on the season after defeating Dover and has outscored their opponents by a staggering collective score of 44-0 in their last seven games.
Both the boys’ and girls’ Indian River High School tennis teams struggled with Division I St. Thomas More last Monday, April 28 — with the boys losing 5-0 at home, and the girls getting bested 3-2 on the road.
Freshman Mac Smith stepped in for senior Josh Kleinstuber at second-singles but fell 6-0, 6-0 facing well-seasoned Ravens senior Anthony Caruso. Seniors Rydge Murray and Sam Izzo also struggled in their singles matchups, with Murray being defeated 6-0, 6-3 and Izzo 6-1, 6-1.
The team’s closest match was in first-doubles, where Indian River’s Darsh Patel and Sean Whelen were edged out 6-4, 6-2 by St. Thomas More’s Nicholas Reyes and Jhun Yee Lin.
The girls’ team faired a little bit better on the road — notching victories from seniors Alyssa McManus and Leanne Murray in second- and third-doubles, respectively.
Having battled frigid spring temperatures in a near-four-hour meet against Dover, Milford and Laurel on Tuesday, April 29, the Indian River High School track team were set to put their focus on Henlopen South rivals Woodbridge and Laurel this Thursday, May 1.
Despite not garnering a first-place finish against the larger schools on April 29, the Indians still performed well and, according to head coach Bob Hahn, bettered some of their times.
“Milford and Dover are two really good teams,” Hahn stated after the meet. “Our kids pushed themselves. Some of the kids probably got some of their better scores, better times. On the girls’ side, Paiton Murray did well with the throwing stuff.”
The team was without their best jumper for the meet, as they were to be for Thursday’s meet against Woodbridge and Laurel, with senior Tim Roberts only allowed to compete in three sports matches per week. Roberts had already played in Monday’s lacrosse game against Worcester Prep and was set to take part in Wednesday’s matchup against Milford (after Coastal Point press time), which had Henlopen South title implications.
“Probably about a 15-point swing,” Hahn said of Roberts’ absence. “It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. It’s all in the athlete’s best interest to make sure we don’t get any overuse injuries with anybody. I would like to see Tim compete. I would like to see him maybe compete more in track.”