Sports

IR surprises CR in varsity volleyball, 3-2

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Siera Johnson blocks a shot.Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Siera Johnson blocks a shot.A young Indian River High School girls’ volleyball team opened their 2017 season by surprising an older, more experienced Caesar Rodney team, 3-2, on Tuesday, Sept. 12, on their home court in Dagsboro.

IR took the first set 25-19. CR, who had beaten Concord High School the prior Friday night, responded with a 25-21 win in the second set. IR fought back, winning the third set 25-19. CR held on, winning the fourth set 25-18, but IR sealed the win in the final set, 15-13.

Leading the Indians’ charge was freshman Raychel Ehlers, who was 14-4-0-4-0 for the night.

“I’m proud of the way we played tonight,” Ehlers said. “It was our first game of the season, and we came out strong. I knew I did good and hit the ball hard, but it was a team effort.”

So when did it start and what’s with the pickle name?

Special to the Coastal Point • Vaughn Baker: The Ocean View Crew’s Steve Melofchik gets ready to hit a serve from behind the baseline.Special to the Coastal Point • Vaughn Baker: The Ocean View Crew’s Steve Melofchik gets ready to hit a serve from behind the baseline.This year is the 50th anniversary of the first pickleball court, and the 2017 tournament in Ocean City, Md., celebrated that event. Here are some lines from the poem to honor that event:

It was the year 1967, we all were feeling GroovE…

The hippies created their very own lingo,

The words of which never appeared in bingo,

Hippies had their own symbol, the famous Peace sign,

Which they stole from England, too stoned to self design,

Spent much of their time in flip-flops at 9th Street in the sand,

Listening to great music like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Hello GoodBye, Penny Lane,

Strawberry Fields Forever, All You Need Is Love, all hits main…

The first permanent pickleball court was built, the game itself two years before,

Only the Lord above knows where and why they came up with the pickle score

With taste of playoffs, Indians hope to rise even higher

Coastal Point photos • Shaun M. Lambert: An Indian River player takes a shot after winning control of the ball.Coastal Point photos • Shaun M. Lambert: An Indian River player takes a shot after winning control of the ball.Last year's Indian River High School field hockey team advanced to their first DIAA tournament appearance in 10 years, then lost a thrilling 2-0 game to defending state-champion Cape Henlopen. This year the team is aiming even higher.

The Indians were expecting back seven starters from last year's team, and coach Jodi Stone is banking on that experience and white-hot momentum to take the team to greater heights this season.

Their first home game is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 4 p.m., against Woodbridge.

Indians look to rebound

Coastal Point photos • Shaun M. Lambert: Matthew Allender gives a stiff arm and makes a cut during a run against Sussex Tech on Thursday, Aug. 31.Coastal Point photos • Shaun M. Lambert: Matthew Allender gives a stiff arm and makes a cut during a run against Sussex Tech on Thursday, Aug. 31.The Indian River High School football team, under coach Phill Townsend is looking for a fresh start this season.

Last year's team finished a disappointing 2-8, after starting things off with high hopes for competing for a Henlopen South title. The team did continue to battle through the very end of the season, fighting hard against rival Sussex Central, before falling 54-21.

The Indians' first home game will be Friday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. against Polytech High School.

Hitchens taking second-generation racing to the next level

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Scott Hitchens shows off his car before racing in the Big Block Modified class for the first time on Wednesday, Aug. 30.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Scott Hitchens shows off his car before racing in the Big Block Modified class for the first time on Wednesday, Aug. 30.Sometimes kids watch what their parents do and then go off and do something completely different. And sometimes, like Scott Hitchens — who spent much of his childhood watching his dad, Greg Hitchens, race cars — they feel the pull to do those same things themselves.

At 24, Hitchens is at the top of his game in the Short Track Super Series class, in which he has been driving the No. 15 car — sponsored by his dad’s business, Millsboro-based Greg Hitchens Enterprises. He is poised to be the top points winner in the class when the season wraps up later in the fall.

“I’ve pretty much got that wrapped up,” he said without a trace of braggadocio.

Maybe that’s because Hitchens has already started a new challenge, where he’s no longer the top dog. On Wednesday, Aug. 30, he raced in the Big Block Modified class for the first time, driving the No. 65 car, sponsored by Blades HVAC, at the Georgetown Speedway.

Adams earns $2,200 at Cody Hopkins Memorial Race

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce C. Walls: Stephen Adams (far right, holding trophy) celebrates his winnings.Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce C. Walls: Stephen Adams (far right, holding trophy) celebrates his winnings.Stephen Adams, of Four Oaks, N.C., made another profitable trip to U.S.-13 Kartway in Delmar, Del., on Friday, Aug. 25. This time, he fattened his wallet with $2,200 in purse earnings during a special memorial race for Milton native Cody Hopkins, who died in a June 19 auto accident. Earlier this year, during the first of five ‘Battle at the Beach,” races this season Adams had pocketed $3,000.

Hopkins’ parents and other family members attended the race. Before the features started, his father, Bill, honored his son’s memory by driving Cody Hopkins’ #27 kart five times around the 1/8-mile dirt oval.

“It means a lot to me to have all these people here tonight,” Hopkins said, choking back tears. “We used to race every Friday and Saturday night. We started out in Big Block Modified. We got out of that and started racing karts with the kids. It means a lot to me to come back to this community and the racing aspect of it. My nephew races here, and it’s great — it’s just great to have all these folks here tonight.”

Pickleball Points — Pickleball from Delmarva to Mars

Coastal Point • Submitted: Dom Travaglini hits a shot up the middle against Suss-exfactor.Coastal Point • Submitted: Dom Travaglini hits a shot up the middle against Suss-exfactor.Whenever I teach a new student to play pickleball, I first ask then what sport they previously played, because it helps me explain pickleball to them in terms they already understand. I also sometimes ask about their profession, because an artist processes information differently than an engineer.

When Dom Travaglini moved to Fairway Village and was learning pickleball, I asked him his profession. Wow — he was an honest to goodness rocket scientist and was responsible for the mechanics of providing continuing power to the Mars Rover.

But when I asked Dagsboro’s Captain Dick Carl what he had done in his career, it was certainly an eye-opener when the retired master-chief explained he is still employed as a paddlewheel riverboat captain. Captain Carl pilots the paddlewheeler the Dorthy Megan from Suicide Bridge near Hurlock down the historical Choptank River, which you might know because James Michener centered it in his book “Chesapeake.”

Pickleball Points — Performance at the championship level

Whenever I teach a new student to play pickleball, I first ask then what sport they previously played, because it helps me explain pickleball to them in terms they already understand. I also sometimes ask about their profession, because an artist processes information differently than an engineer.

The word ‘competition’ gets a bum rap

Coastal Point • Submitted : Multiple gold-medal winner Georgia Billger recently managed the successful Cucumbers & Pickles event for First State Pickleball Club, to help novices advance their game.Coastal Point • Submitted : Multiple gold-medal winner Georgia Billger recently managed the successful Cucumbers & Pickles event for First State Pickleball Club, to help novices advance their game.Like each of you, I have my pet peeves. Of course, it is appropriate that I rename them to “Pickle Peeves.”

It astounds me when people say they are not competitive, or don’t like competition. I don’t know where the word “competition” got such a bad rap. Was it with no-scoring baseball?

I am glad my mother did not try to protect me. It is from rejection and sport losses that I learned to train harder and learned to think more creatively in overcoming obstacles.

My major life lessons came from or were reinforced by competition in sports, where I learned how to self-evaluate and minimize or overcome my weaknesses, and I learned how to win and lose gracefully. Most of these skills I took forward with me into the military and then the business world.

I know that competition against top talent in a tournament venue helps me significantly raise my level of play. The win itself is secondary — simply a grade on my report card. In fact, it is so secondary that I can hardly remember the score afterwards. For me, it is the matching of skills, wits, focus and experience.

I once asked Wimbledon champion Arthur Ashe if he remembered playing me in a very long exhausting match in the Maryland State Championships when we were kids, and he quickly said, “No.” I suddenly felt shorter than my shadow, and it must have been apparent. Ashe, ever the gentleman, said, “But how many wins do you remember? I remember my losses.”

I think part of the problem stems from how you approach competition. I never feared playing some whirlwind hotshot. My losses did not devastate me. They were a rude awakening to where I needed to improve.

SODE athletes enjoy classic summer-camp experience

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Special Olympics Delaware Summer Camp attendees try their hands at archery.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Special Olympics Delaware Summer Camp attendees try their hands at archery.Approximately 120 Special Olympics Delaware (SODE) athletes from across the state were able to enjoy a classic summer-camp experience this month at Camp Barnes near Bethany Beach.

“This is the 17th camp,” said Jon Buzby, director of media relations for SODE, who also helped start the camp. “When we started it 17 years ago, we developed it to truly fit into our mission, which is sports training. So, the athletes, when they came here, we did sports — we did volleyball, we did soccer, we did bocce, we did basketball. Everything we did was something they trained and competed in during the year.

“As time went on, what we realized is we were limiting the population that could come to camp because it was so strenuous, as the sports we were offering were more of our high-level sports. “

Buzby said the change-over to the typical summer experience was gradual, but while it was happening, the camp also grew.

Film to document how action sports keep people sober

Get stoked: Sober athletes are working on a documentary about using action sports, arts and other outlets to have fun while staying sober.

Scott French and Eugene Stiltner co-founded “Sober and Stoked,” “the movie, movement and mindset.”

“We want to inspire people and spread the message that being sober is fun,” said Stiltner.

Maryland man takes home $1.6M in White Marlin Open

Coastal Point • File photo: The crew of the Rock Doc shows off some of their haul at last year’s White Marlin Open. Pictured are Matthew, Tyler and Tim Tribbitt, Jerry Mieklejohn, Cory Lednum, Ryan Savage and Captain Bob Wiggins.Coastal Point • File photo: The crew of the Rock Doc shows off some of their haul at last year’s White Marlin Open. Pictured are Matthew, Tyler and Tim Tribbitt, Jerry Mieklejohn, Cory Lednum, Ryan Savage and Captain Bob Wiggins.When an 86-pound white marlin came to Harbour Island Marina on 14th Street last Wednesday, Aug. 9, the smart money figured the odds of it taking the top prize were better than good, even with two days remaining in the 44th annual White Marlin Open.

And they would have been right were it not for Glen Frost of Stevensville, Md., who, as far as odds go, had to be one of the more unlikely winners of the tournament in some time.

First, he landed a 95.5-pound white marlin to win the Open and more than $1.6 million on Friday, the last day of fishing. Secondly, it was his first marlin catch ever, and third… more on that later.

“If I was a betting man, which I’m not, I would have sworn 86 pounds would hold,” said Jim Motsko, White Marlin Open founder and co-director. “Yeah, I was surprised.” The 95.5-pounder “was a big, fat fish. It’s the third-heaviest ever in 44 years.

Pickleballers practice hard ahead of three-team match

Coastal Point • Submitted: Team Captain Randy Redard of Suss-exfactor is second from left, standing, while team captain Bob O’Malley of Ocean Pines is in the last row on the right. The doubles pair that won most matches was Don Tome of Ocean Pines, on the far left, standing, and paCoastal Point • Submitted: Team Captain Randy Redard of Suss-exfactor is second from left, standing, while team captain Bob O’Malley of Ocean Pines is in the last row on the right. The doubles pair that won most matches was Don Tome of Ocean Pines, on the far left, standing, and paWe formed the Delmarva Team Pickleball League earlier this year, and there are now three teams: Ocean View Crew, Bob O’Malley’s Ocean Pines and Randy Redard’s Suss-exfactor. By this date next year, we hope to have six teams from across Delmarva.

The idea is to create an environment with the mental and physical demands of competitive match conditions.

Of course, there are more practices than individuals might organize on their own, and practice is the best way to advance your game in any sport.

I know that several weeks before a team match members of Ocean View Crew, including Steve Melofchik, can be seen spending longer training sessions at World Gym in Ocean View, which proves that this retired athletic director practices what he once taught.

Georgetown 5K to raise funds for Ballard Memorial Fund

This Sunday, the friends and family of late Delaware State Trooper Cpl. Stephen Ballard are sponsoring a 5K and “Kiddie K” in order to raise funds for the fallen trooper’s family.

Home cooking

District III team from Georgetown takes down world championship

Coastal Point photo • Tyler Valliant: Jakayla Sample runs in to homeplate after hitting a homerun, with her team gathered to celebrate.Coastal Point photo • Tyler Valliant: Jakayla Sample runs in to homeplate after hitting a homerun, with her team gathered to celebrate.Players traveled from around the globe to compete for the right to call themselves “world champions” at the Senior League Softball World Series in Roxana last week.

The District III team earned that right, but only traveled a few miles south on Route 113 to take it.

Led by a two-hit, complete-game shutout by pitcher Taylor Wroten, the District III team took down Asia-Pacific (Philippines), 4-0, in the championship game, held at the Lower Sussex Little League fields on Sunday, Aug. 6. The win made up for a 1-0, extra-inning loss handed to District III by Asia-Pacific earlier in the week.

The two teams played even through the first four innings, with Wroten and Asia-Pacific’s Kaith Ezra Jalandoni tossing shutouts. The only hit for District III in that time was a two-out double by Corrin Farris in the fourth.

Poor Girls Open set to cast lines and raise funds

Coastal Point • File Photo: Poor Girls Open team from last year’s competition included Terri Shapter, Kathy Jo Robbins, Julie Kypreos, Rae Ann Kane, Tracy Cieslukowski and Ellen Currie. The team released two white marlin and caught a bunch of mahi mahi. Coastal Point • File Photo: Poor Girls Open team from last year’s competition included Terri Shapter, Kathy Jo Robbins, Julie Kypreos, Rae Ann Kane, Tracy Cieslukowski and Ellen Currie. The team released two white marlin and caught a bunch of mahi mahi. Fresh on the heels of this week’s White Marlin Open, female anglers will show off their fishing abilities this coming week, as hundreds are expected to participate in the 24th annual Capt. Steve Harman’s Poor Girls Open, Aug. 17-19, also based in Ocean City, Md.

Organizers said women enjoy fishing in the tournament because it benefits a worthy cause — breast cancer research. Proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society and earmarked for breast cancer research and program development as part of the “Pink Ribbon Classic at the Beach Series” — an assortment of local activities designed to raise breast cancer awareness while garnering money for the organization.

“I think the word keeps spreading about [the Open]. They want to get involved because they know it’s for a cause,” tournament Co-Director Earl Conley said, adding that he has received numerous phone calls from women interested in the event. “Everyone is affected by cancer and touched by it in some way. It’s for a good cause — that’s what it’s all about. I think that’s the big draw.”

We need more pickleball courts

Statistica.com claims there are 27 million golfers who play at least once a year on 15,000 golf courses in the U.S. They also claim there are 11 million tennis players playing at least once a year on 500,000 tennis courts.

Bethany 5K walk/run to benefit Alzheimer’s Association

Coastal Point • Submitted: Runners take off from the start line during last year’s Athletes Against Alzheimers Run/Walk 5K.Coastal Point • Submitted: Runners take off from the start line during last year’s Athletes Against Alzheimers Run/Walk 5K.Approximately 200,000 Americans younger than 65 have early-onset Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and with Sussex County’s growing senior population, Alzheimer’s is a cause near and dear to many people’s hearts.

Local business owner Michael Loftus of Loftus Wealth Strategies knows the disease firsthand.

“My father, Jim, passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2013. From the experience of him going through it, I knew I wanted to do something to bring awareness and raise money for Alzheimer’s research and help.”

Based on his own experience, Loftus chose to organize a 5K run/walk in Bethany Beach to raise money.

Pickleball in Lower Slower Delaware (LSD)

Sitting at courtside, waiting to take the next available court, someone is sure to make a negative comment about a workman who is, or was, scheduled to repair or install something in their home, and end the conversation with “but this is Lower Slower Delaware.”

White Marlin Open ready to set lines on Monday

Ocean City, Md.’s 44th annual White Marlin Open — one of the largest billfish tournaments in the world — kicks off Monday, Aug. 7, with fishing continuing through Friday, Aug. 11.

Softball stars descending on Roxana

Coastal Point • File Photo: A runner slides into first base during last year’s World Series event in Roxana.Coastal Point • File Photo: A runner slides into first base during last year’s World Series event in Roxana.A runner slides into first base during last year’s World Series event in Roxana.The eyes of the softball world will soon be on Roxana, and Roxana is ready.

For the 14th consecutive summer, Delaware District III is hosting the Senior League Softball World Series at the Pyle Center, beginning on Monday, July 31, and culminating in a world championship game on Sunday, Aug. 6.

“We’re ready for it,” said Martin Donovan, the tournament director, before pausing for a laugh. “Well, we’re still working on a few things. There’s always something new.”

Opening ceremonies will take place at 5 p.m. on Monday, July 31, breaking the tradition of the event kicking off on Sunday afternoons. The ceremonies will be followed by four games, two taking place at Bruce Layton Field, at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively, and two more at the same time at Connie Mack Field.

Pickleball and tennis and raquetball and squash and basketball and lacrosse and golf, etc.

Interested in pickleball? There are two important things to know about pickleball. First, pickleball is easy to learn in the very first session. But the other thing about pickleball is that it is so hard to master that it becomes outright addictive.

How do the pickleball boom and the tennis boom of the 1970s compare?

With Wimbledon just finishing, I found myself comparing the pickleball boom with the great tennis boom. I was in the catbird’s seat of the tennis boom in the early ’70s when Wilson Sporting Goods enjoyed incredible market share in both tennis rackets and tennis balls, and the sales were extraordinary.

Peninsula Oil donates $5,000 to Autism Delaware through running festival

The 3rd Annual Coastal Delaware Running Festival in April hosted more than 3,500 runners, thousands of fans, and dozens of volunteers. The Coastal Delaware Running Festival, a Focus Muiltisports event, has been designated a State of Delaware Championship event by the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) and a Boston Marathon-qualifying race.

Ocean City Tuna Tournament marks 30th anniversary

There are several new rules and added entry-level calcuttas in place for the 30th annual Ocean City (Md.) Tuna Tournament, taking place July 14-16.

Tournament organizers met with a committee of past participants over the winter to brainstorm and discuss the competition, and some adjustments were made for the 2017 event.

Tripple Overtime: Michael Phelps vs. Great White Shark vs. Vegas... vs. Tripple OT?

Whenever the last Olympics was, that’s when I wrote about the time I sort-of ate sushi with Michael Phelps.

Robb, Redmond ready to drop in on Delmarva for Catch Surf Get Wet Tour

Coastal Point • File Photo: Pro surfer Kalani Robb is ready to drop in on Delmarva for the Catch Surf 'Get Wet Tour.'Coastal Point • File Photo: Pro surfer Kalani Robb is ready to drop in on Delmarva for the Catch Surf 'Get Wet Tour.'

Someone hit the Thin Lizzy on the jukebox, because come this Saturday, the boys are back in town.

After a one-year break, the Catch Surf Get Wet Tour will return to the East Coast and bring pros Kalani “The Godfather” Robb and Johnny Redmond back for the ride — the internationally renowned wave-riders set to make a pit stop in Delaware, en route to their tour appearance at K-Coast Surf Shop in Ocean City, Md., on July 15.

Back to captain the tour bus once again will be Sussex County native and Catch Surf East Coast Sales Manager Ryan Savage, ready to lead the way home after stops in Rhode Island and New Jersey to team up with local Catch Surf pros including Bill Baxter and Brian Stoehr.

Whether it’s some good old-fashioned backwoods bass fishing or firing up Baxter’s famous “winch” for a few afternoon airs at the drive-on, as always at the tour’s midway mark, the boys from “Big Sussex” will be ready to show their pals from the West Coast and North Shore another thing or two about the Slower Lower lifestyle.

Let’s hear it for the girl guards!

Coastal Point • Submitted: A mix of Fenwick Island and Dewey Beach lifeguards gather during Sussex County’s first all-women’s lifeguard competition.Coastal Point • Submitted: A mix of Fenwick Island and Dewey Beach lifeguards gather during Sussex County’s first all-women’s lifeguard competition.

Female lifeguards competed in severe weather conditions during Sussex County’s first all-women’s lifeguard competition on July 6.

The young women were set to compete on Middlesex Beach at 6 p.m. when a rainstorm hit the area. The coordinators, Middlesex Beach Patrol Capt. Justin Voorheis and Ocean City’s Sgt. Rick Cawthorn still decided to hold the event, saying they were confident that the competition would not be compromised by the weather conditions.

The women competed in six different events: the Ironwoman (a combination of running, paddling and swimming), a mile-long beach run, a run-swim-run event, a run-paddle-run event and an event called “beach flags.”

According to Voorheis, there were more than 40 guards who attended competition. The women represented patrols from Assateague Island to Rehoboth Beach.

District III champs!

LSLL Major League All-Stars clinch District III softball title

Coastal Point • Submitted: Back row: Manager Sarah Hoban, Manajha Briddell, Shania Lewis, Lanla Lewis, Olivia Rogers, Camryn Ehlers, and coaches Amy and Chad Hall. Front row; Logan Marvel, Destiny Mitchell, Kinsley Hall, Jaya Shaub, Lily Hoban and Aniyah Blake.Coastal Point • Submitted: Back row: Manager Sarah Hoban, Manajha Briddell, Shania Lewis, Lanla Lewis, Olivia Rogers, Camryn Ehlers, and coaches Amy and Chad Hall. Front row; Logan Marvel, Destiny Mitchell, Kinsley Hall, Jaya Shaub, Lily Hoban and Aniyah Blake.

The Lower Sussex Little League Major League All-Stars were off to the state tournament on Monday, June 10, after bringing home the Delaware District III softball title on Saturday, July 8, for players ages 11 and 12.

The 9-3 victory over Laurel came just one day after the squad’s 4-3 victory over that team on Friday, July 7, with Lower Sussex needing the back-to-back wins in order to clinch.

“We wanted to come out early and score first,” said LSLL head coach Sarah Hoban of Saturday’s championship game. “They put up four runs in the first inning, and I don’t think they ever let up after that, so we’re just really proud of the girls. It was a complete team effort from top to bottom.”

Working their way through the bracket, the Major League All-Stars had pulled off major victories throughout, with an 8-0 shutout over Millsboro on Friday, June 30, 17-0 shutout over Woodbridge on Sunday, June 2, and 12-2 win over Cape Henlopen on Wednesday, July 5.

Garrett Rogers takes to the field at Camden Yards

Millsboro boy injured last spring by drunken driver looks to return to play this fall

Photo courtesy of Orioles Baseball : Garrett Rogers throws out the first pitch at Camden Yards on July 1.Photo courtesy of Orioles Baseball : Garrett Rogers throws out the first pitch at Camden Yards on July 1.

For Wendy Rogers, the simple joys of summertime seem sweeter this year.

That’s because last year at this time, her son Garrett “G-Money” Rogers was recovering at A.I du Pont Hospital for Children in Wilmington from the severe injuries he sustained in a car accident. Garrett was struck by a drunk driver last May when he ran to retrieve balls during a baseball practice in Millsboro. His injuries were serious, and his future outlook was very much in question in the beginning.

“That day, I was in the helicopter; I was in the ambulance to Beebe, and I did not come home ’til August,” Rogers said. Garrett was in a medically induced coma for several weeks, allowing his brain and body to recover slowly from the trauma of the accident.

By September, though, Garrett had recovered enough to throw out the first pitch at a Delmarva Shorebirds game in Salisbury, Md. Surrounded by friends, the then-10-year-old Little League pitcher took a victory lap around the bases.

This year, with a little help from his friend and physical therapist Josh Smith, Garret upped his game a bit. On Saturday, July 1, he threw out the first ball at a Baltimore Orioles game. Again, family and friends — “a lot more than I expected” — were in stands, cheering him on, Rogers said.

It wasn’t the first time the team had reached out to the young baseball player. Immediately after the accident, baseball teams from all over the country, from Little League to pro — including the Orioles — sent photos and get-well wishes to Garrett. The support went viral on social media, with athletes and non-athletes alike sporting Garrett’s 22 jersey number and the hashtags #22 and #gmoneystrong.

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