Milford overpowers Indian River 18-5 to earn spot in softball finals vs. Delmar

ROXANA — Milford’s recent power surge continued Saturday afternoon in the team’s 18-5 DIAA semifinal victory over No. 10-seeded Indian River.

The 12-run victory sets Milford up in Tuesday night’s state championship game against fellow Henlopen South squad Delmar.

“We just came out fired up,” head coach Sean Brennan said. “We’re on a mission. We’ve practiced — this is why you take all those ground balls, you take those extra swings. We just talked about being laser-focused for seven innings and take it one pitch at a time, one at-bat at a time. I know it’s the semifinal game, but our approach doesn’t change who we are.”

Senior center fielder Rajene Bowe jump-started Milford from the get-go, drawing a walk to open the game and proceeding to steal second and third base on back-to-back pitches.

Senior third baseman Nia Bowe drove in Rajene and junior Darby Brennan with a first-inning three-run home run over the left field fence.

The Bowe cousins continued the scoring in the second inning.

Milford players celebrate their victory over Indian River in the state semifinal softball game at Lower Sussex on Saturday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Rajene drove in Julia Reed with a single to centerfield. Senior shortstop Megan Fry drove in Bowe two batters later with a bunt single, and Nia proceed to clear the bases with her second three-run homer of the game, putting Milford ahead 8-0 after two innings.

“I really just went up there to hit the ball and get on base,” Nia said of her two home runs. “That’s the only thing I think of, because if I try to do too much then it’s not going to work out. I just try to think of my team and do what I can for my team.”

Milford’s Rajene Bowe slides safe into home as Indian River’s catcher Grace Snyder keeps control of the ball during the state semifinal softball game at Lower Sussex on Saturday.

Indian River put a pair of runs on the board in the fourth and fifth innings, breaking up Milford’s shutout bid.

Milford left the bases loaded in the fourth inning, but a Genesis Chamberlayne solo home run in the top of the fifth extended the Bucs’ lead to 9-2.

Milford’s Nia Bowe hits a three run homer against Indian River.

Darby Brennan led off the sixth inning with a triple, later scoring on a Morgan Petty sacrifice fly to centerfield. Brennan’s run opened a three-run inning for the Bucs as C.J. Kohel drove in a pair of runs on a two-RBI double.

Milford entered the bottom of the sixth inning with a 10-run lead, needing just three more outs to end the game prematurely due to the mercy rule.

Indian River wasn’t quite ready to hang up the cleats for the season.

A Grace Synder RBI single and a Damya Williams two-RBI single brought Indian River to within 12-5.

A seven-run lead is never safe and, knowing this, Milford came out and put up a six-run seventh-inning to seal the victory.

Freshman Macey Myers extended her home run streak to three games, driving a pitch over the outfield wall for a three-run homer.

“It feels good being able to contribute to my team and to be able to hit the ball well as a freshman,” Myers said. “I know I can count on my teammates and they can count on me. We have each other’s backs.”

Indian River’s Madison McGee dives safe into home as Milford’s catcher Courtney Kohel traps the ball.

“We’re looking for a pitch to drive and get a base hit,” coach Brennan said. “We work on those fundamentals all the time. We’re constantly making corrections with each at-bat, with all the kids. Macey rolled one over in the at-bat prior to the home run. I talked to her in the dugout, I said ‘make your corrections, be patient and look for your pitch to drive.’”

Starting pitcher Morgan Abbott kept IR scoreless through three innings before the Lady Indians broke up the shutout in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Abbott, who’s been in the pitcher’s circle for the Bucs all season, pitched the entire game and finished with three strikeouts and only allowed five IR runs.

With Abbott being the team’s only pitcher, a phrase – “riding the Mo-Train” – was coined in the clubhouse prior to the season and served as one of many team mantras throughout the 2017 season.

“We love riding the ‘Mo-Train’ and it’s an exciting ride,” coach Brennan said. “It’s like being at Disney World. Mo has just done a fabulous job, I love her to death, and she’s just getting it done. She’s not flashy, she just gets it done.”

Milford’s Megan Fry puts the late tag on Indian River’s Julia Bomhardt at second base.

“It’s so amazing,” said Darby Brennan. “We’re riding the Mo-Train right now, and we’re all just so excited. The fact Macey is a freshman and is hitting the ball like that is amazing.”

In three state tournament games, opposing teams (Smyrna, Appoquinimink and IR) have scored just 18 total runs on Abbott.

“We are so excited,” Abbott said of her team’s championship appearance. “This is something we’ve wanted since middle school. One of our coaches told us that this group was going to win a state championship. So, it’s crazy that we’re here now.”

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