People are too easily offended these days. We live in a society that demands politically correct terminology, to the point where I don’t even know what the right term to call anyone is anymore. One term offends one person and a different term offends another. It’s exhausting — ridiculous, even — and it’s certainly other adjectives that further emphasize the point I’m trying to make.
After the Lower Sussex All-Stars Major League Softball team took the District III title with a sixth-inning inside-the-park grand slam, with two outs, off the bat of veteran LSLL All-Star Airelle Parker — needless to say, they were excited.
However, they didn’t let the warranted celebration distract them from their next goal of winning states and advancing to regionals — a goal they were able to accomplish last Saturday night with a 9-8 win over the Smyrna Little League team.
“It was extremely exciting — we’ve done something that hasn’t been done at that level, as far as anyone can tell me,” said head coach Sam O’Shields.
Not only had no Lower Sussex Major League softball team won a district championship in more than a decade, but Saturday night’s state championship victory was the program’s first ever for the age group.
Like the district championship game, the state championship went down to the final inning — despite the All-Stars’ 9-3 lead. Smyrna would string together five runs to make it 9-8 but, ultimately, it was the Lower Sussex defense and pitching that would ensure the victory, getting out of the inning with a strikeout from pitcher Nicole Patille.
Legendary pro surfer Kalani Robb has traveled all around the world. Whether it was competing on the World Tour and once being touted as “the next Kelly Slater,” or stealing the spotlight in Taylor Steele movies for the better part of 20 years, the Hawaiian native has been and surfed practically everywhere — except Delaware.
That is, until last Monday, when Robb, along with the rest of the Catch Surf team, paid a visit to the First State on their “Get Wet” tour, giving local groms the chance to test out boards and compete in a Catch Surf-style contest.
“I’ve been to the East Coast a few times. I haven’t been here in Delaware, so that’s something new,” said Robb. “It doesn’t matter if it’s totally pumping or if it’s kind of small, it’s just about having fun, and everybody out here knows how to have fun.”
The event was hosted by K-Coast Surf Shop and featured a laid-back competition in which local surfers and bodyboarders could test Catch Surf products, such as their signature “Beater” board and soft-top surfboards including the “Odysea Stump.”
After competing at the NSSA College Men’s East Coast Championships as a member of the Flagler College Surfing Team, Seth Conboy returned home only to showcase his talents once again at the Surf Shop Showdown at Dew Tour.
While that might seem overwhelming for some, for the 19-year old graphic design major and lifelong surfer, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
“I started competing the same year I got really into surfing, when I was 14,” said Conboy. “I started doing all the local ESA contests. After I started feeling more comfortable surfing heats, I branched out to more contests, such as NSSA contests up north in New Jersey and several other Pro/Am contests in the South.”
Of course, getting to contests up and down the East Coast in those early years, without a driver’s license, wouldn’t have been possible if his parents weren’t on board. But, according to Conboy, surfing has always been a family affair.
The road back to the Big League Softball World Series certainly offers its fair share of potential speed bumps for the Millsboro team. Obstacles to overcome include balancing time between work and softball, frequent doubleheaders and Laurel pitcher Reagan Green.
However, after trading wins in Monday’s doubleheader against Laurel at the Pyle Center in Roxana, the team finds themselves with a 4-2 advantage in the 12-game series that will decide which area team represents host District III at the World Series next month, right there at the Pyle Center.
“I think we’re looking good,” said Millsboro coach Monroe ‘Monnie’ Hudson. “Defensively, we’re good. Pitching, we’re good. We just gotta string the hits together, and this game we just couldn’t connect the hits.”
The Delmarva Shorebirds finished their series last week against Lakewood with three wins and a loss, coming on the heels of a 2-1 series against West Virginia, which was also on the road.
Their 10-4 win last Sunday, July 13, put the team at 14-11 for the second half of the season, but they would fall to Greensboro last Tuesday, July 15, to fall to 14-12.
Beginning in 2003, the Highway One Group each summer has sponsored a series of runs and walks in Dewey Beach. On Saturday, July 26, starting at 8 a.m., Races2Run will present the 100th run. It will also be a historic day for runners and Hall of Famers Jerry Denny, Jerry McNesby and Jules Woodall, who have run every one of the 100 races.
I hope you had a chance to catch this year’s Dew Tour. I didn’t get to go, but Coastal Point readers like me got to follow the action along with the more than 100,000 folks who converged on Ocean City for an incredible 10th season. The world’s best skateboarders put on quite a show, and who wasn’t excited to see Baltimore native Bucky Lasek become this year’s Skate Bowl Dew Cup champ?
I’ve spent the majority of my Fourth of Julys in Fenwick Island — usually working, sometimes lucky enough to get to the Fenwick Fourth of July party on my street before the fireworks go off or my Uncle Pat drinks the last beer.
Sussex County surfers traded in their fireworks for front-side airs last Friday, July 4 — celebrating America’s birthday with a short window of waves, thanks to Hurricane Arthur.
With such a limited opportunity, surfers had to get their plans right, and Micah Sklut of SwellInfo.com emphasized the importance of keeping an eye on the forecast and conditions.
“Arthur was a really quick-moving system,” explained Sklut. “For coastal areas worried about damage, it’s probably one reason why North Carolina didn’t see that much damage. Here in Delaware, we received a fair amount of rain, but it kind of came and went really quickly. We saw a very quick shot of surf.”
After waking up to typical summer shore break, wave riders’ fortunes took a turn in the early afternoon, when conditions started to improve rapidly. By mid-afternoon, the lineup was stacked with some of the best surfers in the area — including in Ocean City, Md., where local rippers put on an aerial show for the cameras and the crowd.
Every year, Lower Sussex Little League hosts the Big League and Senior League World Series at the Pyle Center in Roxana. However, with no Big League or Senior League teams from Lower Sussex to represent District III, the 9-10 and 11-12 girls’ softball squads are the local teams to watch as they battle for regional bids to Bristol, Conn., and possibly a World Series ticket to Portland, Ore.
University of Delaware Associate Head Tennis Coach Austin Longacre has been named acting head pro at Sea Colony for the 2014 summer season. In addition to teaching private lessons, Longacre will conduct the sold-out Nike Junior Camps and the Nike Tournament Training Camp. No stranger to Sea Colony, Longacre spent summer vacations as a seasonal pro at the Sea Colony Tennis Center.
Austin Wynns was the hero for Delmarva on Tuesday, July 8, driving in teammate Creede Simpson on a ninth-inning RBI shot to the mound, to give the Shorebirds a 3-2 victory over the West Virginia Power.
The ’Birds struck early in the first inning of that game, with Simpson knocking a double to left field and scoring Jeff Kemp. Chance Sisco added an RBI on the next play, to score Drew Dosch.
I don’t get star-struck very easily — especially since getting into journalism. I’ve interviewed some of the best surfers and surf-film makers in the world and, yes, I would like to take this opportunity to name drop all of them — Craig Anderson before he had his own movie and signature board, Matt Meola after he won Taylor Steele’s first ever “Innersection” contest and Taylor Steele himself. This past winter, I got to interview WNBA star Ellena Delle Donne.
For years, pro surfer Colin Herlihy and pro skimboarder Bill Baxter have been showing up at the beach on Garfield Parkway in Bethany Beach every Monday night from 6 to 7 p.m. for the Bethany Beach Surf Shop Skim Jam. And, for years, it has been the premiere weekly summer event for skimmers across Sussex County.
“I think the kids, they count down the days until Monday,” said Herlihy. “They love it.”
“There was a kid last year who used to take the bus from Seaford and used to ride the bus for two hours to get here,” added Baxter, also recalling another skimmer from Frankford who would ride his bike all the way to Bethany every Monday.
This year’s turnout has been just as impressive as that in recent years, and both Herlihy and Baxter noted that none of it would be possibly without Bethany Surf Shop owners Jimmy and Sheila McGrath.
“It varies from week to week depending on holiday weekend and stuff like that, but we always have a good turnout,” said Baxter. “Once we moved up here to this, Colin and I teamed up, and it [has] just kind of blown up to this.”