The regular season is just a week old for the Smyrna Eagles, but they’ve already seen a little bit of everything a baseball season has to offer.
Smyrna opened the season with a dramatic walk-off victory, had their second game of the year against Sussex Tech called due to darkness tied 2-2, while also tasting defeat for the first time against Polytech.
On top of an eventful first three games, the Eagles also fought their way through a difficult preseason, battling the elements on many days as they prepared for the season.
For the Eagles and other team's, weather issues were a double-edged sword.
“Our staff kept reinforcing the fact that a scheduled game is not going to be postponed due to coldness, so we were committed to suck it up and get used to it,” said Smyrna Head Coach Mike Henderson. “On the other hand, you’re rolling the dice in regards to injuries, so we spent a lot of time indoors too.”
Through an eventful preseason and an up and down first three games of the regular season, Smyrna has turned to their large senior core for leadership, a group that includes Jeremy Carrow, Mike Carrow, Max Lattomus, Caden Naylor, Nate Ridgeway and Nevin Bell.
“We have 12 seniors on this year’s team, so leadership and experience should be a given,” Henderson said. “I’ve challenged this group to not only have a successful season, but to leave their mark on the program by influencing their young teammates.”
“There’s a lot of total seasons played together on the field amongst these players, so that should reflect immediately.”
Seniors have already had a big impact, especially in their walk-off win over Delmar in their season opener. Jeremy Carrow got the win on the mound, backed by solid relief from Hunter Barr. Brendan Davis had three RBI and Logan Strickland singled home the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh.
While the upperclassmen will be leaned upon, Henderson believes the team’s depth, mainly from some new underclassmen, may make a huge difference for the team this season.
“Our biggest strength may lie in some of the intangibles and younger talent that our coaching staff has seen,” Henderson said. There’s been some nice surprises already - this team consists of many different personalities who have stepped up in different ways like changing positions and making adjustments whether it’s defensively, on the mound, or in the cage. We’r hoping that’ll translate into W’s.”
The season is still young, but while a team can’t win a title in April, you can lose one. But, Smyrna is primed to stay together as a team throughout the twists and turns the season will present.
“We have some injuries and what-ifs that will determine our success this season,” Henderson said. “Getting healthy and hitting the ground running are important. And then, when you throw in this crazy weather, a lot of factors can come into play on any given day. We have to be there for each other through all of that.”