Softball: Lady Indians shut out Bucs 11-0 in revenge game

MILFORD – The Indian River softball squad has been patiently waiting all season for this moment.

After being bounced from the state tournament, 18-5, by the eventual state champion Milford Bucs in last year’s semifinals, IR enacted its revenge on the Lady Bucs Tuesday, May 8 with an 11-0 shutout at Milford High.

“We’ve been waiting for this game all year,” said an excited Julia Bomhardt. “This might as well have been the championship game for us, this meant a lot.”

Abigail O’Shields surrendered just one hit and zero runs Tuesday afternoon (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“We all wanted this game so badly,” added junior starting pitcher Abigail O’Shields. “We were talking about it last week, saying ‘we’re playing Milford next week, we got this.’”

The 11-0 six-inning shutout puts IR at 12-4 on the season with a pair of conference games against Sussex Central (Friday, May 11) and Caesar Rodney (Tuesday, May 15) remaining on the regular season schedule.

“We’re kind of just taking it one game at a time,” coach Murphy said of the Milford win. “We know they’re a great hitting team and they’ve been putting up great numbers. Our pitching staff worked really hard to make sure they were on their game for today.”

O’Shields pitched all six innings in the pitcher’s circle, surrendering just one hit with five strikeouts and one walk. Freshman relief pitcher Isabelle Alley wasn’t even needed.

“Our other pitcher, Izzy, was ready to come in if needed,” coach Murphy said. “Abby just threw a great game all the way around.”

“We kept them on their toes and we never really gave them a chance to get pumped up or put on a rally because we knew we had to shut them down, get back in and start hitting again,” O’Shields said of her performance in the pitcher’s circle.

In the batter’s box, Indian River’s lineup produced its 11 runs on 12 hits and drew seven walks.

Bomhardt, the team’s senior lead-off hitter, went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs batted in, including a two-run triple in the top of the sixth inning to put the game away.

Braydee Whitman takes a swing in the batter’s box against Milford pitcher Morgan Abbott (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“I knew I needed to come out there and shut them down and I knew I didn’t want Abby to pitch more innings than she had to,” Bomhardt said of her approach in the sixth-inning at-bat. “She said ‘J, I need one from you’ so I said ‘alright, I got you.’”

Senior Damya Williams finished the game going 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and a pair of RBIs; Sophomore Morgan Bomhardt went 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs.

Junior Samantha Mayfield (two), senior Braydee Whitman, junior Kathryn Collins and junior Grace Snyder provided the remaining five RBIs for Indian River’s offense.

Milford’s Julia Reed provided the lone hit on the day as the Bucs’ lineup finished the game 1-for-18 with five strikeouts and one walk against O’Shields.

“We weren’t really hoping it would be a shutout, we were just hoping for a win,” coach Murphy said. “Whether it’s by one, by 10, by two, we don’t really care. A win is a win.”

“I can’t remember the last time we got shutout, so my hat’s off to O’Shields,” said Milford head coach Sean Brennan. “She did a great job pitching today and we struggled making adjustments. They’re a good team. They’re going to make the tournament and really put it on some people.”

Coach Brennan and his squad were fully aware of the importance of this match-up for IR.

“We knew the importance of this game for that ball club,” he said. “It’s a rivalry game to begin with and then to have them try to avenge their semifinal loss, I understood, and our girls understood how important it was.”

With a showdown against a tough Sussex Central squad (11-4) this Friday, coach Murphy hopes her girls can stay focused and pull off the team’s fourth straight win.

“Central is always a rival for us, they’re going to play a great game I’m sure,” she said. “But we’re just going to keep chipping away, look to score one every inning and hope that scoring one will get us a win.”

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

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