Even though most Smyrna High School sports had some time off over spring break, the baseball team kept moving along going 1-1 in games versus Wilmington Christian and Cape Henlopen last week.
The 4-1 Eagles brought the bats but only needed six hits Thursday in their 12-1 win over Wilmington Christian. John Richardson led on the diamond giving up just three hits while striking out five; he also led at the plate with two RBIs.
The win was the Eagles' third straight high scoring game having previously scored 15 runs each in their wins against Indian River and Seaford.
Smyrna's first challenge of the season came in Saturday's home game against Cape Henlopen. Down 3-0 to the Vikings in the second inning, Smyrna spent the rest of the game fighting back until the very end. With two outs and a runner on second base in the seventh inning, relief pitcher Larry Voss hit a RBI double bringing the score to 4-3. The rally was soon over though when freshman third baseman Jared Gillis grounded out in a close call at first base.
"Cape is a quality team. We faced some quality pitching today," said Head Coach Jake Emerson.
While Emerson said the first loss of a season is always tough, he said it's crucial for all the players to take away the positive aspects rather than the negative.
Looking at the positives
For the most part, Emerson said he is very happy with how the team didn't give up and stayed in it the whole game. He said the pitching was nice, the team did well at the plate and did a pretty good job in the field too.
Starting pitcher Dustin Warren had six strikeouts in the game and two RBIs. Centerfielder Robby McKeldin went 2-for-3.
McKeldin was a little disappointed with the loss but said he couldn't be any more proud of his team.
"We were down several times in this game and fought back to a one-run difference," McKeldin said. "It hurts though when you try so hard, you put so much effort and you come out with a loss, but it proves what your team's made of though coming back from losing situations."
Catcher Nicholas Macey said the players knew coming into the Cape game it would be a pitchers' duel because of the quality of pitchers taking the mound.
"No one's happy to lose but we're happy to start off as hot as we did," Macey said. "And even though the books say a lose we all played good, it was a dogfight."
This week the Eagles face Woodbridge, Dover and McKean. Emerson doesn't think the Cape loss will have any factor on these games.
"These guys know what they're capable of," he said. "If we execute the way that we know we can, there's no reason we can't have a productive week."
To keep winning, McKeldin believes the team needs to adjust to faster, better pitching and if the team can do so, he thinks they'll be fine.
As for bouncing back from their first loss, Macey said his mindset will be the same as every other game.
"I think your mindset is the same for every single game and that's to make the best out of every pitch thrown, and every play made," Macey said. "I think you attack every game the same and that's to win."
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.