IRHS baseball Kyle Coffey

Indian River senior Kyle Coffey, right, is congratulated after scoring a run in a 12-7 win over Smyrna on Monday, March 29. Coffey scored twice in the game, while drawing three walks to help the Indians in the win.

It was a windy day, like many others in the springtime, on the campus of Indian River High School on Monday, March 29, when the Indians hosted Smyrna in a Henlopen Athletic Conference division crossover game on the diamond. A big six-run fifth inning proved to be just what the Indians needed to come away with a 12-7 win over the visiting Eagles.

Senior Tyler Bowen picked up his second win of the season on the mound, going four innings while scattering seven hits, and offset four walks with six strikeouts. The right-hander allowed four runs, but only two of them were earned.

Kyle Coffey came on to toss the final three innings on the bump, surrendering three runs on three hits while striking out four Smyrna batters.

“Our energy today — especially at the plate, with our approaches, working counts, making pitchers throw more pitches, you know — really was the difference today,” said IR manager Steven Longo.

While praising his team’s performance and discipline at the plate, Longo also had some very positive words for Bowen, one of his senior captains.

“A senior with his ability, and his talent — you expect that from him,” Longo said. “He’s the best player on this team, so you expect that leadership on and off the field, and we expect that type of performance from him every time he steps on the mound.”

As a team, the Indians only managed seven hits on the day, but they did take advantage of a pair of costly Smyrna errors, which led to three unearned runs scored in the game.

Sophomore Roman Keith had a pair of hits, including a double, and scored three runs in the game. Bowen also had two hits at the dish to help his own cause, while knocking in three and scoring another.

River Vickers, Colton Benton and Derek Bellemare (a double) also hit safely for IR. Frank Bunting, Coffey and Bellemare each scored twice.

“The offense really did a nice job of getting us [pitchers] the run support today,” Bowen said after the game. “It certainly makes things easier out there for us. My curveball was really working well, but I was struggling with my fastball a little bit.”

The Indians fell behind in the first, 1-0, on an unearned run by the Eagles, but were able to answer back in the bottom of the second with two runs of their own. Keith led off the inning being hit by a pitch. Coffey followed with a walk, during which Keith was caught stealing. Bellemare doubled to right, putting runners at second and third when Bowen came to the plate and laced a single to center, scoring both Coffey and Bellemare.

Smyrna would tie it back up at 2-2 in the top of the third, but, again, the Indians responded with a three-spot of their own that included IR taking advantage of a couple miscues by the Eagles.

The Indians never relinquished the lead from that point forward en route to the win.

“The guys are playing with a lot of confidence and really having fun,” Longo added. “It’s a good group of kids that are really working hard. I think this [spring] break is going to be good for them to get ready for the rest of the season.”

The Indians were set to host Woodbridge in a HAC South Division tilt on Wednesday, March 31, (after Coastal Point press time). The results can be found on our Coastal Point Sports News Facebook page. After the break, they have another home game, against St. Mark’s on Thursday, April 8, before hitting the road for a pair of games against Dover and Seaford.

Staff Reporter

Jason has been in journalism for 20 years. He moved to Coastal Delaware in August 2017 with his wife, Jessica, and their daughters, Kylie, 17, and Grace, 12. He has a passion for high-school sports and especially values the relationships that builds.