Milford snaps four-game baseball skid ahead of bout with Lake Forest

MILFORD – It would have been easy to lose focus.

After all, during a four-game losing streak nothing seemed to be going Milford’s way.

But an inning after watching visiting Woodbridge cut their 3-0 lead down to just one run in a “must-win” Henlopen Conference Southern Division baseball game Thursday, the Buccaneers put the bout away with a nine-run rally.

Milford's Denton Mow dives back to first ahead of a tag. (Milford Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Milford’s Abraham Mow dives back to first ahead of a tag. (Milford Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Sending 14 to the plate in the bottom of the fifth, the Bucs (7-5 overall, 5-4 Henlopen) walked off with a 12-2 mercy rule victory that snapped the losing skid and kept them half a game ahead of rival Lake Forest in the South standings. Milford is scheduled to play the Spartans Tuesday night at the Harrington Little League complex.

“We’ve got to make this push to the playoffs,” said junior Phillip Herber, who went 4-for-4 in the game and drove in three runs.

“It’s really big,” added senior Tom Saxon about the win over Woodbridge. “We’ve got to get a (winning) streak going again, win as many games as possible from this point forward.”

Saxon’s three-run triple to right-center highlighted the nine-run walkoff rally that also included RBI base hits from Herber and freshman Bryce Greenly. Senior Gunner Stanley singled home a pair of runs during the outburst as well, and junior Dante George’s two-RBI base hit provided the early finish.

Herber drove in Stanley and senior starting pitcher Dustin Reeder with a single to right in the bottom of the first and Milford pushed its lead to 3-0 in the second when sophomore Abraham Mow brought home classmate William Kimmel with a base knock.

Bucs freshman shortstop Bryce Greenly tries to turn two. (Milford Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Bucs freshman shortstop Bryce Greenly tries to turn two. (Milford Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Reeder, who was on a strict pitch count due to a nine-inning effort in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Dover, pitched around trouble for three scoreless frames before handing the ball over to junior Holden Bailey to start the fourth.

Control issues in the fourth – twice Bailey hit batters he was ahead of in the count, the second with the bases full – and sophomore Jacob Rogers’ RBI single allowed the Blue Raiders to make it a 3-2 ballgame by the end of the at-bat.

Bailey, however, regained his composure and faced the minimum in the fifth – Woodbridge cleanup hitter Logan Wescott drew a one-out walk but a comeback grounder led to an inning-ending double play – and Milford put the game away after.

“Holden didn’t have a feel for it right away, but once he started pitching to contact and let the defense get in the game, it changed the momentum a little bit,” said Buccaneers head coach Nick Brannan. “You play some of the best ball you have all season (in losses to Dover and St. Georges during the losing streak) and you still don’t come out on the winning end, it’s tough. So the kids definitely deserve to enjoy what happened to them today.

“If anything it’s going to make us better,” Brannan added about the now defunct skid. “They saw they were able to stand toe-to-toe with two of the best programs in the state and a hit here, a break there we are two wins plus in the win column. Of course there’s times you’re nervous, you hope they don’t give up on themselves, and the seniors did a good job leading the way and making sure they didn’t panic. I feel confident with our hitting going into (the game with Lake Forest), which is going to be the biggest game of the season for us.”

The “Battle of the Bat” game with the Spartans is scheduled for a 7 p.m. first pitch.

From the Milford Chronicle Sports Desk

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