Smyrna baseball team tops Seaford 17-2 to reach .500

SMYRNA — After a bumpy start, the Smyrna High baseball team used this week to stabilize its season.

The Eagles won back-to-back games to get their record back to .500.

It was highlighted by a 17-2 victory over Seaford in five innings on Thursday afternoon. The small winning streak comes after the Eagles (3-3) dropped three consecutive games.

“We definitely haven’t played our best baseball yet,” said senior centerfielder Nolan Henderson. “We were still trying to find ourselves and this was good to get the bats going. We just played a cleaner game overall.”

Smyrna’s losses are all to likely state tournament teams — Delmar, Appoquinimink and Dover.

But it was the nature of those defeats which troubled coach Mike Henderson.

“We lost to good teams but we didn’t play well against those teams and that’s what bothered me,” Henderson said. “We played better today. We jumped out early and that helped us. We hit the ball pretty well. We needed this W to get back to .500.”

And the win against Seaford looks a lot better considering how strong the Blue Jays have been this season.

They knocked off Polytech 2-0 on Monday and suffered one-run defeats to Dover and Caesar Rodney earlier in the year. Seaford is also .500 entering spring break at 4-4.

“We saw some of the scores of their other games and their upset of Polytech so we knew not to take them lightly,” said senior catcher Brandt Penuel. “We just came out hungry. I was very happy about how everybody did. It was a good team win and everybody hit.”

It didn’t take long for the Eagles to get going on Wednesday, they scored 12 runs through the first two innings.

“In our previous games we haven’t really gotten on top at the start,” Nolan Henderson said. “We were able to do that and the momentum kept building. That start really helped us in the end.”

Smyrna has made the state tournament each of the last three seasons but there’s a lot of new faces on this year’s squad.

Due to graduation and injuries, the Eagles only have three seniors available right now (Henderson, Penuel and Zach Zlock). Smyrna is trying to replace former All-State players Jared Gillis and Ryan Seymour who each graduated from last year’s team.

“There’s a lot of players who didn’t have varsity experience at the beginning of the season,” Mike Henderson said. “With just the three seniors, it’s nice to see some of the weight taken off their shoulders with these younger guys stepping up.”

With so many new players, the growing pains earlier on were almost expected.

“It had to mesh and I think everything is clicking,” Penuel said. “I think it’s coming together now.”

“I just think we were in a funk and we can’t do much about that now,” Penuel added. “We were hitting the ball well it just wasn’t falling. We weren’t getting runs but now I feel like we can get on a roll. We’re hitting the ball better and pitching better.”

Things don’t get any easier for Smyrna when the Eagles return from a week off during break.

They are scheduled to resume a contest with Cape Henlopen next Thursday at 1 p.m. It was tied 2-2 in extra innings when it was called due to darkness back on April 3.

Smyrna then will play Caravel afterwards as part of a doubleheader with first pitch tentatively scheduled for 4:15 p.m.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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