IR softball season struggles with losses to Appo, Lake Forest
The varsity softball team at Indian River High School has yet to truly find its stride this season, and the Lady Indians dropped another game on Tuesday, May 1. Lake Forest’s offense piled on runs throughout the game, advancing the Spartans to a 7-3 victory, while Indian River fell to 4-8 on the year.
“It can get very frustrating,” noted Indian River head coach Chris Megee. “We’ve got some holes in our lineup, but that’s really no excuse. Other teams are fighting through adversity and holes in their lineups, too.”
On top of getting the girls in the proper mindset, Megee is also working with a team of primarily underclassmen.
The Lady Indians got onto the board in the opening inning of the May 1 game, but the Spartans answered right back with a couple of runs of their own. Lake Forest’s Morgan Hobbs batted 2-3 at the plate, while Destiny Thomson, Haley Dobos and Gina Zuchelli each registered hits for the Lady Spartans. A solo homerun from Gabbi Cubbage in the third inning put Lake Forest up even more, and the Lady Indians were unable to answer back. Brook Ash and Marissa Lowe did combine for four hits for Indian River.
Though games may have not gone Indian River’s way this year, they have still managed to keep many of them close. Late last week, Indian River succumbed to a visiting Appoquinimink team by one run, the fourth loss this year decided by a one-run margin.
“When a game comes down to one run,” Megee said, “it usually tells you who wanted it the most. Unfortunately, we came out on the short end of these games. If we did some things differently, we could be sitting in a different situation.”
While wins and losses of baseball and softball teams are often correlated with the pitcher in the game, Megee observed that that’s not the case for the Lady Indians’ sophomore pitcher Rachel Hudson.
“Rachel’s been working really hard at practice, and she’s really cleaned up her mechanics,” he said. “It’s unfair to put the blame on pitching in these losses. When we’re leaving so many runners on base, it all comes down to taking the right approach in the game. Some of these girls want to go out there and hit the ball as hard as they can, but they aren’t thinking of what’s going to help us.
“When you’ve got less than two outs and runners on, you don’t want a one-hopper to third base or shortstop. Sometimes, you have to make adjustments,” he acknowledged. “We need girls to realize that they can hit the ball in the middle or to the sides and advance runners along. Our leaders need to see that and take that approach.”
The offensive side of the ball is working for the Lady Indians, Megee noted.
“We’re hitting over .340 as a team,” he said, “and that’s a positive. Unfortunately, though, there are games where we need to score more runs. We’re leaving too many runners on base. We left 10 girls on base [against Lake Forest]. It’s frustrating, but I’m going to keep pushing these girls to their full potential. They’re working hard, and before long, it will pay off.”
With only six games left in the regular season, including One at Sussex Tech on Thursday, May 3, and at Cape Henlopen on Friday, May 4, (after Coastal Point press deadline), the chance for a post-season run is slipping away.
“At some point,” said Megee, “these girls need to find ways to win the games. I will accept responsibility for a loss, but it’s a gut-check thing now. These players are going to determine how the season goes on. Coaches can only do so much. We put the athletes in what we think is the right position to win a game. It’s up to the team to start believing in themselves and believing they can win each game we start.”
The Indians will continue their softball season by hosting Cape Henlopen on Tuesday, May 8, then traveling to Dover on Thursday, May 10.
“I want these girls to experience a shot in the playoffs,” said Megee. “We’ve got some good kids. They’re fighting through it. We have a tough stretch ahead of us, but we’ll be fine.”