When Smyrna High School baseball coach Mike Henderson started this season, he was taking over a team that had seen a remarkable turnaround in three years. From winning three games just three years ago to winning records the last two seasons, Henderson took the reins of a team on the rise and continued to push them higher.
The Smyrna High School baseball team finished with a 14-4 record this year and a state tournament berth. Adding on to the success of this year’s Smyrna Eagles baseball team is the recent naming of Henderson as the Henlopen Conference Baseball Coach of the Year.
Henderson said that while the award isn’t a coach’s priority, it does give recognition to the Eagles baseball program.
“It pays tribute to the entire coaching staff and the players for their successful season,” Henderson said.
When asked if he was surprised to receive the award, Henderson said he hadn’t given it much thought.
“It wasn’t on my list of goals but considering the season we have had, it wasn’t a huge surprise,” he said.
Senior Nick Macey thinks Henderson’s award is well deserved. Macey said he’s played baseball for a long time with a lot of coaches and that Henderson has been great for the program.
“He tells us to go out there and get the job done whether we’re at practice or a game,” Macey said.
Teammate John Richardson echoed those sentiments.
“It was definitely deserved for the way he worked with us. He taught us a lot,” he said. “He definitely should have gotten it.”
Henderson believes he received the coach of the year award because of the team’s competitiveness and consistency this season throughout the Henlopen Conference. He said the team is viewed as a young team with only four seniors compared to other Henlopen teams.
The Eagles team came into the season wanting to turn heads. Henderson noted throughout the season that the players didn’t think they were getting the attention and respect they deserved. The success of this year’s team could start to change how other teams perceive the Smyrna baseball program.
“I definitely think we have everyone’s attention throughout the Henlopen Conference with or without this award. I want statewide recognition for this program,” Henderson said. “That is a process, and won’t come overnight but we’ll take any positive publicity we can. I’d say this year’s team set a solid foundation for that.”