MILFORD – For the past two seasons, Milford baseball has made an appearance in the DIAA state tournament.
For the past two seasons, Milford baseball has lost in the first round of the state tournament.
While getting to the tournament is an accomplishment in itself – and it’s always a goal for every program – head coach Nick Brannan would like his squad to take the next step this spring.
With eight returning seniors and years of playing together under their belts already, coach Brannan has confidence in this year’s squad.
“They’re extremely hard-working,” Brannan said of his team. “This season we have a very motivated group of boys. They’re definitely goal-oriented and willing to do anything we ask of them. Each of them will have an opportunity to contribute this season.”
Coach Brannan believes the Bucs possess a strong lineup from top to bottom, and that there aren’t a lot of “easy outs” in the batting order.
“We have several guys running different components of the game, so we don’t have to put the team on one man’s shoulders,” Brannan said. “We’re pretty even across the board, so we’re pretty confident that we don’t have a lot of easy outs in our lineup. They feed off each other and most of them have been playing together since little league. So this is a good opportunity for us this season.”
Given the Bucs’ roster is comprised of just five non-seniors, Chad Reichhold is the lone freshman on the squad. Sophomores Brock Hilligoss and Caden Stanley will have the opportunity to contribute, as will juniors Carson Rios, Caden Oplinger and Bryce Greenly.
“We get back Greenly, who missed all last season with an injury,” Brannan said. “We have a couple of young pitchers who are going to be able to contribute this year – Hilligoss, Reichhold. Even with all the seniors, we’re a pretty young team. We’re young on the mound.”
Brannan looks forward to seeing some of the seniors such as Abraham Mow, Ethan Hurd and William Kimmel lead the way for the younger players. Especially when it comes to competing against other Henlopen Conference teams.
“Playing in the Henlopen Conference, every conference game feels like a tournament game,” he said. “You’re jockeying for position constantly, and you have to be competitive and hope that the breaks go your way because most of the teams are fairly even in the middle. You have two or three who are top-notch, but after that it could be anyone’s game on any given day. So you just have to play good defense, throw strikes and capitalize on opportunities when you get them.”
Milford saw its first game action last Wednesday, March 8 in a scrimmage against Hodgson, and will get another opportunity for live action in a home scrimmage against Appoquinimink Saturday, March 18 at 10 a.m.
The Buccaneers’ baseball squad has over a week until the start of the season, but they are already more than ready for the season-opening game against Caesar Rodney March 23.
“If we had to go tomorrow, we’ll go,” Brannan said. “These kids can flip a switch. These kids have competed in the state tournament, they’ve been in competitive games and they aren’t afraid of any challenge. I think they wished the season started tomorrow.”
Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.