Lady Indians post back-to-back shutouts
After starting off the season with comeback victories over two of the state’s top teams, the Indian River High School softball team has absolutely dominated in their last three games to start the season with a perfect 5-0.
Following up on a 12-1 win at Dover on April 1, the Lady Indians have made frequent use of the slaughter rule in consecutive shutouts, taking down Seaford 16-0 on Thursday, April 3, and St. Mark’s 14-0 on Saturday, April 5.
Last Tuesday’s game against Seaford got out of hand quickly, with IR going up 6-0 in the first inning, due to solid hitting combined with a few critical field errors by the Lady Blue Jays.
After only two innings, the Lady Indians lead 10-0, which was enough of a lead to convince head coach Erika Brittingham to rest the arm of starting senior pitcher Rachel Hudson and generate some valuable experience for sophomore pitcher Casey Hitchens.
The entire team batted well all afternoon, with the offensive highlight of day coming from sophomore catcher Eliza Bombhardt, who crushed a three-run homer over the left-field fence to put the Lady Indians up 15-0 as the game got close to being called.
Hudson was back on the mound against St. Mark’s last Saturday, notching seven strikeouts and giving up only five hits. She has now gone three straight games without giving up a run, with the last run she’s allowed coming against Delmar on March 28.
“Mentally, I have to take it one game at a time,” Hudson said of her performance so far this season and the upcoming challenge of pitching consecutive games. “But pitching back-to-back games shouldn’t be a problem for me, because I have done it many times before.”
Fellow senior standout Karlie Smith also performed well in the matchup, racking up three hits in the game, including a bases-clearing triple, and stealing home plate in the fourth inning to put IR up 5-0.
While the team may seem unstoppable after defeating their last three opponents by a collective score of 42-1, the Lady Indians will begin a tough stretch of schedule beginning on Friday, April 11, when they head to Georgetown to take on 3-1 Sussex Tech.
“I always tell the girls to play each game like it’s our first game,” said head coach Erika Brittingham regarding the team’s impressive start and upcoming schedule. “We play as if we haven’t played a game yet. We play and forget.”
The Lady Ravens’ only loss so far this season was in a one-run game against Caesar Rodney, who Indian River will face next Monday, April 14, at home. In between the Henlopen North matchups, the Lady Indians will be challenged by Caravel Academy on Saturday, April 12, at 1 p.m. at home, and their toughest test will likely be at defending state champion Laurel the following Wednesday, April, 16.