Anderson goes 6 hitless innings as Smyrna tops Polytech 4-1 in softball tournament opener

Smyrna High leadoff hitter Alexis Moore takes a pitch during Monday’s DIAA Softball Tournament first round game versus Polytech. Delaware State News/Craig Anderson

SMYRNA — Senior Jessica Anderson pitched six hitless innings to start and Smyrna High needed all of them in a 4-1 state tournament softball win over Polytech Monday afternoon.

It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth that the second-seeded Eagles broke open a scoreless tie with four runs to establish control in the first round. No. 15 Polytech’s lefthander junior Kaite Burawski matched her mound counterpart before that as the tension built, but Smyrna eventually broke through.

“We had confidence that the top of our lineup would get it done,” said Eagles sophomore shortstop Alexis Moore, who had two hits and scored the first run of the game from her leadoff position.

“It was just a matter of time.”

Smyrna improved to 18-1 heading into today’s 4 p.m. home quarterfinal against the Lake Forest-Indian River winner. Polytech, which fell to Smyrna 10-0 early in the regular season, finished 11-8.

“Smyrna is an outstanding team and I believe that they will go far in the tournament,” Polytech coach Kristy Vodvarka said. “We waited too long to start our bats.”

The score was 0-0 when Moore opened the bottom of the sixth with an infield single, took second on sophomore Kayla Wilson’s bunt and scored on a senior Kaelyn Press bloop hit into right field that just eluded the grasp of Polytech’s first baseman. Press scored on an infield error for a 2-0 lead and senior Madison Drummond lined a two-run single into left to make it 4-0.

Polytech sophomore Kelsie Burawski broke up the no-hitter with a one-out double to the left field fence in the seventh, and scored after singles by junior Brianna Stevenson and Kaite Burawski to pull the Panthers within three.

Anderson followed by getting two infield popups to end the game.

“Usually it’s easier to pitch when you’re up a few runs, but that wasn’t happening today,” Anderson said. “I just had to do my part by rising up and keeping them from scoring as long as possible, because I knew eventually our bats would get started.”

The Eagles remembers last year’s first round loss and made an effort not to repeat the feat.

“We knew we had to focus in practice and put in the work to accomplish our goals, which include going a long way in the tournament,” Moore said. “Today was just the first step in that and we still have a lot of work to do.”

Moore bunted for a single in the first, stole second and took third on a flyball, but was stranded with Burawski got one of her nine strikeouts in the first five innings.

“She’s a great pitcher and we’ve always had to worked hard against her, and today it was the same way,” Moore said. “We just had to be patient, stay away from the high ball and wait for the right pitch to swing at, which eventually happened.”

Smyrna junior Olyvia Smith and Wilson each singled in the third, but Press grounded out sharply to second base to end the threat.

Polytech sophomore Kylie Nagle ripped a liner to shortstop Moore for the first out of the sixth, and then Moore ranged into the outfield to snag a high pop by sophomore Hailey Wich to end the inning.

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