After reaching the DIAA Softball State Tournament Semifinals last season, the Indian River softball team entered the 2018 season hungry to get back to the tournament.

The Lady Indians have avoided a repeat of last year’s up and down start, coming away with early wins over Woodbridge, Polytech, Dover and Maryland schools St. Michaels and Mardela.

Through eight games the Lady Indians are 7-1 and have topped double-digit runs five times, outscoring their opponents a combined 82-11.

Getting off to a good start early is important for any team, but for IR Head Coach Erika Murphy and her team, it was doubly considering where they plan to be at the end of this season.

“Playing as a team is the most challenging part in the beginning of any season,” Murphy said. “However, it ends up being the most important part to having a successful season.”

Last season, the Lady Indians started the season 4-3 through their first seven games. Down the stretch, they got hot, ending the year with a 13-5 mark. Though, already off to a hot start this season, they hope to continue the streak giving them the ability to control their own destiny later in the year.

IR’s senior returnees, Julia Bomhardt, Braydee Whitman and Damya Williams, have all contributed, at the plate and in the field. Meanwhile, returning juniors Samantha Mayfield, Kathryn Collins, Grace Snyder and Abby O’Shields are also being leaned upon.

“We are looking for leadership,” Murphy said. “We want to see our upperclassmen be an example for work ethic, sportsmanship and leadership to our younger players. Ultimately, we want our returners to show the new players what it means to play for the Indian River Indians varsity softball program.”

So far, the Lady Indians’ seniors and juniors have pulled their weight. Bomhardt, Whitman, Williams and Mayfield have all stood out at the plate in every game, helping propel IR to their quick start.

Meanwhile, O’Shields has been a star in the circle, coming away with wins all seven of the Lady Indian’s victories, allowing on average just a run a game.

The upperclassmen have rubbed off on the team’s newcomers, as freshman Kayler Townsend, Jessica Rybicki, Kaylah Briddell, and Taylor Lipkins have already contributed on the field as they look to fall into their roles this season.

Indian River will look to continue their winning ways against some stiff upcoming competition. Over the next few weeks, IR will battle with several tough teams, including Caravel Academy, Red Lion, Lake Forest, Sussex Tech and Delmar.