With the DIAA State Baseball Tournament just days away, the brackets were released Wednesday night and as hoped, the Smyrna Eagles are in the state tournament.
Smyrna, the No. 6 seed, will face No. 11 seed St. Georges (13-5) at home Saturday, May 24 at 11 a.m. in the first round of the tournament. The second round of the tournament will be Tuesday, May 27.
The Eagles’ state tournament berth came of little surprise to the baseball team as they believed they could make the tournament following a season in which Smyrna went 14-4 against some of the strongest competition in the state. Even two of the teams Smyrna lost to – Dover and CR – are seeded lower in the tournament.
“It was our number one goal at the start of the season, and it’s an awesome feat,” said Head Coach Mike Henderson. “It’s extremely gratifying to send the seniors off the right way, and to give the underclassmen the opportunity and experience to play in the tournament.”
After defeating AI du Pont 3-1 last week, Henderson expected the team to not only make the state tournament but that the win would only help the Eagles’ seeding in the tournament. Earlier this week, Henderson said via email the team could be seeded in the top five in the state; he wasn’t far off with Smyrna receiving the No. 6 seed.
Henderson believes Smyrna can compete with anyone in the state; however, tournaments are about who goes on a run at the right time.
“Anyone seems to beat anyone throughout the state this season which is going to make it challenging, to say the least,” he said. “I think we can compete, and hopefully, we’ll have a nice run.”
Senior catcher Nick Macey said the team needs to be prepared for the tournament regardless of if they’re the first seed or the last seed.
Senior pitcher John Richardson believes Smyrna will go deep in the state tournament.
“Everyone has the potential this year to beat anyone on any given day,” Richardson said. “We just need to hit the ball and not make errors.”
The winner of Saturday’s game will go against the winner of the Caravel (No. 3 seed) and Sussex Central (No. 14 seed) game.