Already halfway through the 2017 regular season, the Smyrna Eagles softball team has catapulted toward the top of the standings in the state, sitting at 7-2 after nine games.
Smyrna heads into spring break as one of the state’s hottest teams.
While the Eagles dropped two of their first three games, they’ve rebounded to reel off six straight wins including Friday’s 10-0 shutout of Charter School of Wilmington which entered the game with a 6-1 record.
After winning their opener over Indian River, Smyrna dropped the next two games against Delmar and Appoquinimink before a hard-fought walk-off win against Cape Henlopen turned things around.
“Catching two losses that early in the season was a real wakeup call for the girls,” said Smyrna head coach Nikki Shirey. “They had put in so much work in the offseason and had anticipated a way better start. They refocused and made the adjustments they needed to make.”
Smyrna led Cape Henlopen 2-0 through six innings before the Lady Vikings tied things up at 2-2 in the top of the seventh. Smyrna fought back in the bottom half of the inning when Laiken Zay knocked in the winning run with a walk-off single.
“Playing Cape is always a battle,” said Shirey. “This win was very important, knowing it would be that turning point we needed this early in the season.”
Counting the win against Cape Henlopen, Smyrna outscored their last six opponents by a combined score of 66-7.
The Lady Eagles followed up the win over the Vikings with an 18-0 victory over Dover, before an impressive 3-1 road win over defending state champion Caravel Academy.
“Beating Caravel showed what the girls are capable of,” said Shirey. “And they are really starting to settle in.”
After an 8-4 win over a talented Milford squad, standouts Jessica Anderson and Olyvia Smith combined to pitch a no-hitter against Seaford in a 24-0 five-inning victory before their win against Charter.
Pitching and timely hitting have lifted the Lady Eagles. With Anderson leading the way in the circle, the Eagles have posted three shut outs during the six-game winning streak. Meanwhile Smyrna’s offense has been led by a host of Eagles including Zay, Kaelyn Press, Lexi Moore, Madison Drummond, Olivia Faragher, Kayla Wilson and Sarah Miller. Smyrna is tied with Delmar for the third-highest run total in the state.
The Eagles return from the spring break Saturday, April 22 against New Jersey school Arthur L. Johnson High at Caravel Academy in Bear. Game time is 4 p.m.
After that, Smyrna will embark on the final seven games of the regular season featuring matchups against the Henlopen North foes Caesar Rodney, Polytech, Sussex Central and Sussex Tech.
While taking a more than a week off in the midst of a six game winning streak isn’t ideal, it will be a chance for Smyrna to recharge for the home stretch.
“Going into spring break they’ll get a few days off,” Shirey said. “But, then it’s back to the grindstone; no letting up.”