Bowe a five-sport phenom in Milford

 

MILFORD — Most high schools can say they have athletes who play at least one sport every season.

Few can say what Rajene Bowe does.

Bowe, a senior at Milford High, played five sports last year for the Buccaneers.

That type of athleticism is typical of the Milford softball team, who has a number of multi-sport stars on the roster. The Buccaneers carry a 4-3 record into today’s 4:15 p.m. contest with Delmar High.

Bowe’s story is just one example. She’s headed to play softball in college for Dominican College in Orangeburg, New York. But she’s also an All-Conference cross country runner, an All-State basketball player, a key part of Milford’s field hockey team which went 14-3 this season and participated in outdoor track.

“It definitely keeps me in shape and keeps me working on my leadership,” Bowe said. “Honestly it’s hard but I’ve been doing it for a while. You learn to manage your time and you’re doing sports you love so it keeps you motivated.”

In an age where young athletes start to specialize early, Bowe is a reminder that playing different sports can help further an athlete’s development.

Rajene Bowe of Milford played five sports in the last year. (File photo)

“Sometimes coaches will try to sell someone that they need to specialize in one specific sport to go somewhere,” said Milford softball coach Sean Brennan. “You don’t have to specialize to get recognized. You have to make a commitment in your downtime. Rajene puts in the time for softball even when she’s playing other sports. If you’re willing to put in that time, you’ll go places.”

Brennan’s daughter Darby Brennan is another example.

She was a first team All-Stater this past fall for the Milford field hockey team. The junior recently committed to Liberty University to play field hockey.

Just last week she was participating in the inaugural club field hockey tournament at the new DE Turf complex in Frederica.

But she’s still competing with the Buccaneer softball team too. It’s a sport Brennan, who also swims in the winter, has been playing for most of her life.

“I’ve been playing with this senior group since before my middle school years,” she said. “We grew up together so we have great chemistry.”

“It’s tough to teach someone to be athletic,” Sean Brennan said. “You become an athlete by playing all different kinds of sports. We have kids who play almost every other sport. It’s pretty exciting.”

This core group of seniors were at the forefront of a turnaround last year which originally looked to be a down year for Milford softball.

The Buccaneers lost seven of their first nine games of 2016. They were able to rebound by winning eight of the final nine contests to finish the season above the .500 mark at 10-8. Since April 25 of last year, Milford is 12-4.

Milford returned its entire starting lineup from a season ago, so the strong end to the season led to high hopes for the close-knit group entering this year.

“A lot of us have played either Little League or travel ball together for a long time,” Bowe said. “We’re like a puzzle. We know how everything fits and what everyone does well. That’s definitely a benefit for us.”

“This group has been together since they were little kids,” Brennan said. “They’re strictly Milford kids and have been playing school ball together their whole careers. They bring a love for one another to the ballpark every day.”

Milford is hopeful for a return to state tournament. In the ultra-competitive Henlopen Conference, the Buccaneers know they will be tested often for the rest of the season.

All three of their losses have come to Henlopen Conference teams but all were competitive. They lost by one to Lake Forest, lost by two to Sussex Central even with giving up seven runs in the first inning and fell by four to Smyrna after the Eagles scored four late runs in the top of the fifth.

“I’ve always said the Henlopen Conference is the SEC of softball,” Brennan said. “Everybody can beat anybody else on any given day. If you look up and down the state, there’s a lot of parity. I think we’ve played some really good softball this year. We just had three bad innings.”

 

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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