DMA snaps Smyrna’s 30-game in-state softball win streak

Senior Abigail Mace lays down a bunt single for her second of two hits on the day. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

SMYRNA — It’s been a while since the Smyrna High softball program has lost to an in-state opponent, but the Eagles knew they’d have their hands full against an undefeated Delaware Military Academy team on Monday.

Behind a third-inning rally and a three-run home run in the fifth, Delaware Military Academy pulled away to a 7-2 nonconference road win over the defending state champion Eagles.

The Seahawks used the seven unanswered runs to improve to 14-0 and avenge last season’s 2-1 regular season loss to the Eagles (13-2).
It marks the highest run total against Smyrna, which allowed just 11 combined runs in its previous 14 games.

“They definitely brought it today,” Smyrna coach Nicki Shirey said of DMA. “We definitely have to keep working hard and stay humble about this. We knew they were going to be tough and we’re hoping to meet them again.”

Smyrna sophomore Payton Dixon struck out 10 DMA batters Monday afternoon.

“We knew they were a good team coming in, they’re undefeated still and we knew that we had to adjust at the plate,” senior Abigail Mace said. “I feel like we hit pretty well, we just couldn’t get the runs in.”

This was Smyrna’s first in-state loss since falling to Indian River High, 2-1, on April 6, 2018, snapping a 30-game win streak against Delaware opponents (including state tournament).

“We lost a game last year and I think it humbles us and kind of reminds us that we have a lot of work to do, and that it’s not going to be easy if we want to make it where we did last year,” Mace added.

The senior centerfielder paced the Eagles’ offense by driving a two-run homer over the centerfield wall.

Sophomore starting pitcher Payton Dixon struck out 10 batters in her complete game, while also going 2-for-3.

Junior Kayla Wilson slides back safely into first base underneath the tag from DMA’s Graceyn Frost.

Seniors Sara Miller and Zoe Wilcox added one hit each for the Eagles.

DMA’s Delani Sheehan and Graceyn Frost utilizes their off-speed pitches well, combining to allow six hits and four strikeouts.

Brooke Conaty provided a three-run homer and five RBIs for the Seahawks, while teammates Angelina Dell’Oso, Samantha Freeland and Nikki Elliott each had multi-hit performances.

Mace’s two-run blast got the scoring started, putting the Eagles ahead 2-0 in the first while Dixon stranded a pair of base-runners and combined for five strikeouts in the first and second innings.

“With a 3-1 count I knew that pitch was going to be there, and I just did what I had to do,” she said of the homer.

DMA took control with four consecutive singles to begin the third inning.

Elliott’s two-run single to shallow right field scored Ashley Conaty and Freeland. Two more runs were scored by Dell’Oso and Elliott on a Brooke Conaty groundout to put DMA ahead 4-2.

Smyrna Shortstop Lexi Moore makes the throw over to first base after fielding a ground ball.

Brooke Conaty’s three-run blast in the top of the fifth inning capped DMA’s scoring.

Smyrna stranded eight runners on base and recorded just two hits in the final four innings.

With its 21-game Henlopen Conference win streak still intact, the Eagles hope to finish strong over the final three games against Caesar Rodney High, Lake Forest High and Laurel High as they prepare for the start of the state tournament in just nine days.

“We just try to work hard every day, take every rep at practice 100 percent because we know the playoffs are coming,” said Mace.
“We’re trying to clinch the conference in the last three games, so we just have to work hard and play our game.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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