By Kevin Eickman
From the beginning of the season, Milford baseball coach Nick Brannan has been asking his pitchers to throw strikes. This past Thursday as Milford hosted Lake Forest in the Battle of the Bat, junior Abraham Mow did that and more. After surrendering a first inning run to the Spartans, Mow would settle down and blank the visitors the rest of the way.
In what was easily his best start of the young season, Mow would give up just two hits, while striking out five batters en route to a 5-1 victory for the Buccaneers. Talking about his performance, Mow indicated he was feeling good all game. “I was just commanding my fastball really well and Lakes team couldn’t touch it,” Mow stated.
After falling behind in the first inning 1-0, Milford quickly got on even terms as senior Phillip Herber drove in the equalizer for the Bucs. Milford would eventually take the lead in the bottom of the third as they scored a pair of runs. With a 3-1 advantage that made things all the more easier for Mow as he got into a rhythm and threw easily until he reached his pitch limit in the sixth inning. “Just throw strikes, good things happen when you throw strikes,” Herber said. “We have a good defense and they made plenty of plays tonight.”
Milford would add single runs in the fourth and sixth innings, providing a great level of comfort for junior Aaron Thornely who would close out matters in relief of Mow. The victory came courtesy of the type of effort Brannan has been looking for from his team this season. One key factor for Milford was being able to respond after falling behind in the first inning.
“This is as locked in and purpose driven I have seen this group of kids be in a long time,” Brannan stated. “”We’ve been in every game that we’ve played so far, we’ve seen some pretty good pitching. To come right back and have the confidence and get it back in in the first inning, it was important.”
With throwing strikes being at the top of the agenda for Milford pitching, Brannan was very happy with how Mow operated Thursday night. “We told him, every pitch counts, you can’t try and get cute and he has a good defense behind him,” Brannan commented. “Nobody wants to be here for a three hour baseball game. Let your defense work, keep guys focused and involved in the game.”
The victory moved Milford to 3-2 and earned them their first Henlopen South win, in their only divisional contest to date. If Milford is going to have a successful season, Milford is will have to continue to receive solid performances on the mound. “[Mow] is throwing extremely well, Holden’s throwing really well. I’m telling you, we’ve seen some pretty impressive pitching up to this point, our bats are going to catch up,” Brannan stated.
Milford has gotten off to a slow start defensively, not playing up to the level that Brannan anticipated prior to the season. The fact they preformed well Thursday, is an indication that Milford is capable of playing high quality defense. “I attribute that to focus, everybody wanted the ball today,” Brannan said. “There wasn’t anyone who was afraid to make a play, and that’s the difference between playing confident and playing nervous.”
The Buccaneers will travel for away games at Laurel on Tuesday, before heading up to Polytech on Friday. Both games start at 4:15 pm.