Reichhold is a player Bucs could count on

Senior Chad Reichhold has been a starting pitcher for the Milford High baseball team since the beginning of his freshman season. (Delaware State News file photo)

MILFORD — From a baseball standpoint, Chad Reichhold should have been terrified.

Here he was, just a freshman pitcher for Milford High’s baseball team, entering a game with Cape Henlopen that was 1-1 in the fifth inning.

Reichhold remembers he had to face three Vikings who were already committed to Division I colleges.

“I was up on the mound shaking a little,” the right hander recalled with a laugh. “But it was cool because I was like, ‘I can kind of keep up with these guys if I put my head to it.’”

The youngster hung in there, pitching the final three innings of a 7-5 Buccaneer victory over the Vikings.

It was just one of the first of a lot of good days on the mound for Reichhold, a senior who was expected to be one of the top pitchers in the state this season. The spring-sports season was officially canceled on Friday when Gov. John Carney closed the state’s schools for the rest of the school year.

Chad Reichhold posted a .411 on-base percentage as a hitter for the Bucs. (Delaware State News file photo)

In the preseason All-State team put out by the Delaware Interscholastic Baseball Coaches Association, Reichhold was an honorable mention pick at both pitcher and designated hitter.

Then again, Reichhold has always had big things expected of him. That just comes with the territory when you’re always the biggest kid in your class.

Reichhold now stands 6-foot-4, 230 pounds.

“You see a big, lanky guy who’s got some weight to him, you think, ‘OK, this guy might be running it up there faster than the other kids on the field,’” he said. “Or he may have a little more power at the plate.

“It definitely feels like it adds expectations. But I just competed a little harder every time.”

Reichhold made a big enough impression as a travel-ball player that Wake Forest offered him a scholarship when he was still just a sophomore.

Reichhold verbally accepted the offer but then changed his mind when Wake’s pitching coach left. He’s now headed for the University of Delaware along with a few other downstate players.

“We’re fortunate to keep the best in-state guys and that is Chad,” UD coach Jim Sherman said. “He is another big guy that has some serious front-line potential when he gets here.”

Because Reichhold had some pretty extensive travel-ball experience, Milford coach Nick Brannan said the youngster always seemed a little ahead of his age. Brennan started him in the season opener against Caesar Rodney in his freshman year.

The Bucs won the game, 5-1, with Reichhold throwing 78 pitches in his debut. He also got the start in Milford’s DIAA state tournament game at Salesianum that year, throwing a complete-game six-hitter in a 3-0 loss.

“He was pretty easy to pick out of a crowd,” said Brannan. “He was like 6-foot-2 coming in as a freshman. He’s always been like that — a big-bodied kid who you knew you were going to get five to six innings (from).

“He’s always been more of a pitcher than a thrower. He learned how to control his body, repeat his delivery and always takes very good care of his arm.”

Reichhold finished his high school career with a record of 15-6 and an ERA of 2.25. Perhaps most impressively, he struck out 134 batters in 127.3 innings.

It didn’t hurt that Reichhold had already played in minor-league stadiums and traveled as far away as Georgia and Florida as a kid.

“It was exciting,” said Reichhold. “It was always a dream of mine to play Division I baseball — and possibly the next level after that.

“With travel ball, being able to be put on a big stage with a lot of different people watching definitely prepared me for the challenges that high school gave me.”

Along with pitching, Reichhold has always been a good hitter, too. He had a career on-base percentage of .411 with four home runs and 29 RBI.

As a sophomore, Reichhold hit a seventh-inning grand slam to give Milford a lead over Cape — before the Vikings rallied for an 8-7 victory in the bottom of the inning.

“You always like to know that, if he’s not making an impact with his arm, he’s making an impact with his bat,” said Brannan. “He’s hit some big home runs but some of the biggest hits I can remember from him were on two-strike counts, opposite field, just throwing your hands out. He executed the job more so than padding stats. He knew what to do in specific situations.

“He’s a good kid,” Brennan added. “He’s very grounded and appreciative of any opportunities.”

Having his senior season end without playing a game is a tough finish for Reichhold. But he said he feels worse for the spring-sports seniors who won’t get to play in college.

The Bucs’ other baseball seniors this spring include Nathan Button, Joshua Ennis, Harvey Hudson, Ashton Jerman and Evan Strickland. Milford was ranked eighth in the state in the preseason coaches’ poll.

“I think everybody was holding onto a little bit of hope,” said Reichhold. “We were still hoping that we’d have some type of season, some type of closure — some type of last hurrah with a group of guys we’ve grown up playing with.

“Yes, it’s sad and it’s unfortunate. I’m fortunate that I have the opportunity to go on and play baseball. … But my heart really goes out to the guys that this was their last season. They didn’t get the ending that they’ve always wanted and that they deserved.”