The Smyrna High School baseball team lost a heartbreaking quarterfinal game Thursday against Caravel by a score of 7-6 at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington.
No. 6 seed Smyrna started the scoring early and had a 5-1 lead for majority of the game. Behind senior pitcher John Richardson, the Eagles held No. 3 Caravel to just one run until the sixth inning. Entering the bottom of the sixth inning, Smyrna still had a 5-1 lead and was just six outs away from another win and a trip to the DIAA semifinals. But then Smyrna was reminded why every at-bat counts and how defense is the key to wins.
The Caravel hitters came alive in the bottom of the sixth inning. Outfielder Brandon Fraley got things started with a single to left field. Sean Woodham was hit by a pitch but was then called out at second when Tyler Juhl hit into a fielder’s choice. With runners on first and third, Darnell Savage singled to center field scoring Fraley. Juhl scored on a single by Jason Bilous. Another run scored when Connor Corbitt singled to left field. Caravel took the lead when Brendan Erne doubled and then moved to third on an error, scoring two runs on the hit.
With Caravel ahead 6-5, the Eagles wouldn’t go down without a fight in the top of the seventh inning.
Senior catcher Nick Macey started the inning off with a walk. Dario Anderson came in as a pinch runner and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by pitcher John Richardson. Anderson then moved to third base and scored on a single to left field by Shawn Dulin. The run tied the game at 6-6. Dulin was sent to second when the umpire called a balk on Caravel pitcher Jason Bilous; but the call was reversed so Dulin was sent back to first base. A few pitches later Dulin was sent to second again when Bilous balked. With Dulin on second, Justin Jones walked to put runners on first and second; however, Justin Bowens ended the inning on a strike out.
Tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh, Caravel had a runner on first and Adam Weber at the plate. Weber hit a ground ball to Dulin at shortstop – Dulin moved from second base on a pitching change. Dulin overthrew the ball to first base, allowing Fraley to score and for Caravel to take the game 7-6.
Caravel moves on to the semifinals while Smyrna is done for the season.
Head Coach Mike Henderson said after the game he told the players to keep their heads up.
“It was an awesome year and we’ll be here again,” Henderson said.
Henderson said the team is young and it caught up with them a little bit, but he’s proud of them for playing hard the whole game.
With just four seniors on the team, Henderson said the team making it to the quarterfinals is a sign of where Smyrna baseball is headed in the future.
“I told them they’re the foundation of things to come,” Henderson said. “When we’re back here and go further, I told them it’ll be because of them.”