The Smyrna High softball team topped Glasgow 3-0 in the first round of the state tournament, but the Eagles fell to Caesar Rodney 5-0 in the state quarterfinals on May 24. Smyrna finishes the season with a 17-5 record.

Smyrna High’s softball team defeated Caesar Rodney 1-0 during the regular season, but in Saturday’s state tournament second-round game, the Riders brought their bats.

With three homeruns and a bases-loaded single that plated two more, fifth-seeded Caesar Rodney knocked off the fourth-seeded Eagles 5-0 at Smyrna High.

The game started as more of a pitchers’ duel, scoreless after three innings. The Eagles snuffed out a CR rally in the second when the Riders advanced a runner to third on a single, throwing error, and a bunt single. With runners on first and third and one out, the Riders tried another bunt, but Smyrna pitcher Chelsea Botsch fielded the ball and fired home to catcher Kylie Apostolina who tagged the CR runner. Then Botsch struck out the next batter – one of her 12 strikeouts in the game – for the last out.

Apostolina kept the momentum going in the bottom of the second, ripping a double over the leftfielder’s head and moving to third on a ground out. But she was stranded after a pop fly out to end the inning.

The score was still 0-0 with two outs in the top of the fourth when it happened. Caesar Rodney’s Stephanie Hearin blasted a homerun high over the leftfield fence.

The Riders took the 1-0 lead into the fifth inning when they loaded the bases on a throwing error, a walk, and a bunt single. With two outs, the CR batter hit a single to centerfield, scoring two runs. The Riders added two more solo homeruns, one in the sixth by Hearin and one in the seventh by Megan Bilbrough, to put the game away.

The Eagles hit the ball well, but unfortunately it was usually right at a Rider player. Smyrna had singles in the bottom of the fifth and the bottom of the sixth, but couldn’t advance the runner either time. Leslie Pleasanton had two hits for the Eagles.

“We put the ball in play,” said Smyrna coach Donnie Shaner. “We only had four strikeouts. The hits just weren’t falling. Sometimes I’d rather be lucky than good.”

The Eagles finished the year 17-5.

“We had a great season,” said Shaner. “They played well, played great defense. The seniors are upset because this is their last game on this field, but they’ve represented Smyrna well. We’re bringing the tradition back.”

The Eagles’ future looks promising, with most of the starters returning next year.

CR’s future continues in Smyrna. The Riders are scheduled to play Caravel in the state tournament semifinals today, May 28, at Smyrna High at 5 p.m.

SHS softball advances to second round of state tourney

The Smyrna High softball team moved into the “elite eight” of the state tournament with a 3-0 win over Glasgow on May 21.

The Eagles used dominant pitching and solid fielding to shut down the Glasgow offense in the first-round tournament game, which was played at the Smyrna High softball field.

Smyrna’s pitcher, freshman Chelsea Botsch, was only one out away from pitching a perfect game, but a Glasgow batter hit a single in the bottom of the seventh. Botsch threw 13 strikeouts, walked none and allowed only one hit in the shutout win.

“We’re staying up; we’re staying together,” Botsch said after the game.

The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third inning, when the Eagles’ bats started to come alive. Heather Reed got things started with a hit, and then Leslie Pleasanton drove her in with a single.

Smyrna padded their lead in the fourth inning. Meghan Boyer got on base with a hit, and Nikki Willoughby hit an RBI single. Then Botsch knocked in Willoughby to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.

That’s all the offense the Eagles would need, because nothing was getting past the Smyrna defense.

Shortstop Leslie Pleasanton drew cheers from the crowd when she made a diving catch and just got her mitt on the ball to close out the fourth inning.

Smyrna High senior outfielder Meghan Boyer is enjoying the ride in her final high school softball season.

“To be in the position we’re in is very exciting,” she said.

With the victory over Glasgow, the Eagles advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament to face Caesar Rodney.