Baseball: Indian River outlasts Bucs in 13-inning Henlopen South showdown

MILFORD – It took 155 pitches, 55 at-bats, 13 innings and three-plus hours, but the Indian River baseball squad finally pulled away with a 3-2 road victory over Milford High Tuesday, May 8.

The win pushed IR back above .500 for the first time in over a month, as the Indians improve to 7-6 with five games remaining on the regular season schedule.

The eventual game-winning run came on a Michael Meehan RBI single in the top of the 13th inning, scoring Grant Argo and putting the Indians ahead 3-2.

Junior J.J. Killen struck out nine batters in his 7.1 innings of work on the mound (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“That was nuts,” Indian River head coach D.J. Long said following the 13-inning marathon. “I don’t even want to know the exact number of how many people were left on base in extra-innings, but we just kept on fighting. I told them to just try to keep the energy level up and just keep coming. Eventually, we finally got a break. We just couldn’t get a passed ball, or anything, we had a man on third a bunch of times and finally Mike came up with a huge hit there.”

Sophomore Chase Hall, who pitched 5.2 innings of relief for junior starting pitcher J.J. Killen, shut the Bucs down in the bottom half of the 13th to close out the win.

Killen pitched the game’s first 7.1 innings, surrendering just two runs (unearned) on six hits and striking out nine Buccaneer hitters.

“J.J. pitched an incredible game,” said coach Long. “He gave up two runs, went into the eighth and then Chase came in and pitched the rest of the game. It was awesome. He usually goes 20 pitches and he probably threw 70 today. Just an awesome team effort, all-round one of the greatest games I’ve been around in high school.”

“I got ahead of batters today, which is something I haven’t been doing all season. I got locked in early and it just went from there,” Killen said of his success on the mound. “I’ve never been in a game this long like this before, it means a lot to get the win. We’re back up to a winning record and it’s looking good now.”

Between the two squads, 33 baserunners were left on base throughout the 13-inning game.

The only two runs allowed by the pair of IR pitchers came on a two-run single from Milford’s Jaxson Turner in the bottom of the sixth. The base-hit knotted the game 2-2, leading to the six extra innings.

Sophomore Chase Hall allowed just four Milford hits in his 5.2 innings of relief work (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“I just trusted my defense – which I always do. I always have to rely on them, I’m not a strikeout pitcher so I have to let my defense work – which they definitely do,” Hall said of his 5.2 innings of relief work. “I love them, that’s why they’re here. We were fighting before but we’re fighting even more now. I love it, it was great team work.”

The loss drops Milford down to 6-8 on the season, while the Indians sit at 7-6 heading into the team’s next match-up against Sussex Central (10-5) Friday afternoon.

“We have another huge one Friday against Central – I went to Sussex Central so that’s a game that I always want to win,” coach Long said. We have Sallies on Saturday, then we have back-to-back Henlopen games with CR and Lake next Tuesday and Wednesday.”

The squad will finish up the regular season with its Senior Day game against First State Military Academy Thursday, May 17.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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