Indian River’s Michael Meehan connected on an RBI single in the 13th inning to send the Indians to a 3-2 baseball victory over Milford, boosting their playoff hopes.
The Henlopen South battle pitted two teams with pre-season hopes of deep tournament runs, but late-season realities of needing wins to get back on the right side of .500 and the playoff bubble.
It was a crisply played game, despite the length, as Meehan drove in one of two runs for Bucs in the 3rd inning, only to have Milford’s Jaxon Turner tie the game in the bottom of the 7th inning with a 2-run single.
That’s when the drama truly began, as Indian River turned to their traditional closer, Chase Hall, in the 8th inning, while Milford relied on Cammeron Walsen to start extra innings, and Brock Hilligoss beginning in the 11th inning.
Strikeouts were rare in the extra innings, as both teams went for an aggressive approach, and traded good scoring opportunities.
Milford’s Dominic Robles and Mason Haggerty hit back-to-back singles in the 9th, but a pair of groundouts ended that threat.
In the next half inning, Indian River loaded the bases with two outs after singles by Cole Hitch and Brock Wingate, along with Aaron King reaching on catcher’s interference, but Walsen was able to escape the jam by corralling a comebacker.
The next three half innings featured a runner on 3rd base, but the two teams went through the 11th inning unable to break the 2-2 deadlock as the clock went past 7pm, and the sun began to reach the horizon.
Milford would hit two line drives off of Hall in the 12th, but they went straight into outfielder’s gloves, and it was Indian River’s turn in the lucky 13th frame that was all the difference.
Jason Killen led off with a double smacking the wall in centerfield, but he was caught going to third on a fielder’s choice.
Hitch walked to put two runners on base for Meehan, and he served a grounder the opposite way through the hole that allowed Robert Argo to race home with the go-ahead run.
Milford could not get anything going in the bottom half, as Hall retired the last 8 batters he faced to secure the victory for Indian River.
Hall earned the victory with 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing 4 hits and a walk, but preserving perhaps the biggest win over the year for Indian River (7-6). Next up for IR are games against Sussex Central on Friday at 4:15, and Saturday vs. Salesianum at 2:30 at Sussex Central.
Milford (6-8-1) has a tough finish to the week ahead of them as well, as they’ll host Dover on Thursday, and travel to Archmere Saturday at noon, before completing their suspended game at Tower Hill later in the day at 4pm.