Milford’s Lady Bucs came out of the gates hot, winning five of their first six softball games, with conference victories over Caesar Rodney, Woodbridge, Cape Henlopen and Lake Forest.
Their only loss was a close 6-3 contest against a Delaware Military Academy team that had won its first seven games.
However, the Lady Bucs closed out last week dropping two in a row, to Laurel and Sussex Tech, teams that were a combined 13-4 on the year.
With half the season in the books, Milford looks to build on what worked in the first half in hopes of closing the second half with a tournament berth.
Several players have emerged as the leaders on the field.
“We have gotten off to a nice start,” said head softball coach Sean Brennan. “Morgan Petty, CJ Kohel, Macey Myers and Haley Baker have all gotten off to good starts.”
Kohel was instrumental in two recent victories, going 2-for-3 while knocking in three of Milford’s runs in a 4-1 win over Cape Henlopen. She inked another 2-for-3 performance with a double and a triple in a 14-4 win over Concord. The senior standout provided power, homering against both DMA and Lake Forest.
Fellow fourth-year player Petty, went 3-for-3 at the plate in the win over Concord and went 3-for- 5 with a triple and a homer in a tough-luck 11-10 loss to Lake Forest.
Junior Macey Myers played a big role in a 6-3 win over Woodbridge, slamming a two-run homerun, went 3-for-4 with a double and a triple against Concord and finished 2-for-4 at the plate in the win over Laurel.
Freshman Bianca Salisbury has carried the load in the circle for Milford, starting and ending all eight games for the Lady Bucs so far.
While the first-year varsity player has had her ups and downs, she has shown grit and toughness throughout the season.
After earning the opening day win over CR, Salisbury allowed six runs off 12 hits in the loss to DMA. She responded with three solid outings, all victories for Milford – five hits for Woodbridge, three against Cape and six against Concord while going 2-for-3 with the bat.
Lake Forest knocked in 10 runs off 16 hits against Salisbury in a back-and-forth offensive battle, but the freshman hung tough in her outing against Laurel.
“Bianca has been doing well for us this year, she has grown and will continue to grow as she develops as a pitcher,” Brennan said. “Her last outing at Tech, Bianca pitched very well, keeping the game close for us but that day we didn’t hit well enough to support her effort.
“She has the talent to help our ball club win many more games this season and for seasons to come, I’m so glad she’s on our team.”
This afternoon, the Lady Bucs will host the state champion Smyrna Eagles, a team that began by winning their first seven games.
The Lady Eagles have played every bit of the part of champs so far, outscoring their opponents by a combined 61-3.
The Lady Eagles have their own workhorse on the mound, Payton Dixon.
Dixon has allowed four hits or less in six of her first seven starts this year, while keeping five opponents off the scoreboard entirely.
“Payton was a big component in last year’s rotation as a freshman and pitched a good portion of last year’s championship game,” said Smyrna head coach Nicki Shirey.
Offensively, the Lady Eagles have seen contributions from Abby Mace, Julia Thuer, Laiken Zay, Kayla Wilson, Olyvia Smith and Brooke Miller, who have all done damage to opponents.
“These ladies are laser-focused,” Shirey said. “[The standards we’ve set] are fueling an intense mindset and quality practices. Each player knows that everyone has a job to do, never feeling complacent.”
For the Lady Bucs, striving to get back to the championship spot Smyrna now occupies, there’s plenty of work left.
“Softball seasons are a grind but so far I love how we keep working and moving forward,” Brennan said. “We have gotten great leadership from our seniors and our younger players are working hard to continue the tradition of Buc Ball. Our goals are still there, with great work ethic, laser focus and the good lord willing we can accomplish so much more.”
The Lady Bucs will host Smyrna, Wednesday at 4:15 p.m.