A new baseball season means a fresh start for every team in the state, including the Milford Buccaneers, who look to get back to the postseason after missing out last year.
The Bucs will be without some playmakers who helped them make the playoffs in three of the last four years. However, with a large returning group ready to take the reins, the Bucs look to get back into the Henlopen South hunt.
Milford finished 8-10 overall last season and never found any momentum. They opened the season winning one of their first six games, but responded by winning five straight, improving their record to 6-5 with seven games to go. Then Milford went just 2-5 down the stretch.
The team must replace the production left behind by five graduating seniors, including standouts Caden Oplinger and Bryce Greenly.
“Caden and Bryce were steady performers who held down the middle of our lineup,” said Milford head coach Nick Brannan. “Caden’s work ethic was second to none; Bryce’s athleticism gave our pitchers confidence that he was going to make every play for them. We’ll miss them both dearly.”
Twelve players are back. The seniors are Bryan Bullock, Mason Haggerty, Brock Hilligoss, Khailer Hitchens, Caden Stanley and Jaxson Turner.
The Bucs also return several underclassmen, including juniors Ashton Jerman, Dominic Robles, Thomas Leighty, Alex Mergner, Cammeron Walsen and standout pitcher Chad Reichhold.
“Chad is very coachable and is driven,” Brennan said. “Chad will only continue to improve as his career progresses; he’s working hard to sharpen his mechanics and refine his secondary pitches.”
Milford will be tested early, with matchups coming against Caesar Rodney, defending state champion Cape Henlopen, Lake Forest and Sussex Tech over the first few weeks.
The Bucs are in action Friday afternoon, hosting Woodbridge at 4:15 p.m. in their first Henlopen South contest of the season.