Smyrna comes out swinging to win softball title

Smyrna celebrates after winning the State Softball Final against Appoquinimink in Roxanna. Delaware (State News/Marc Clery)

ROXANA — Hits, hits and more hits.

Line drives early and often, from every player in the lineup.

Twenty-two hits overall, including two homers, two doubles and a triple.

Scoring at least two runs in every inning but one, Smyrna High clubbed Appoquinimink 16-7 Saturday afternoon to win its first softball state title in 25 years before a crowd of 619.

The Eagles were as hot as the 80-something degree temperature at the Lower Sussex Little League Complex.

Afterward, losing coach Brian Timpson said Smyrna was the best hitting team he’d seen in 15 years.

Five players had three hits each for SHS — senior Kaelyn Press, juniors Abigail Mace and Olyvia Smith, and sophomores Alexis Moore and Kayla Wilson. Senior Madison Drummond had two hits, as did juniors Sara Miller and Laiken Zay. Sophomore Julia Thuer added the other hit.

No. 8 hitter Mace crushed two homers to center her first two times up, then lined a double off the fence in the first four innings, and her five RBIs helped power Smyrna to a commanding 13-7 advantage.

“We know we’re a good hitting team and if we come out swinging well then nothing will stop us,” Press said afterward.

Smyrna’s Sara Miller connects for a hit during the State Softball Final against Appoquinimink in Roxanna. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Smiling Smyrna head coach Nicki Shirey, who played with assistants Kelly Roscoe and Jennifer Hall on the program’s last title team in 1993, didn’t hesitate when asked which championship she enjoyed more.

“This one, no doubt,” she said. “To watch these girls work as hard as they did and be able to bring the title back to our town is a wonderful feeling.”

Center fielder, Press — one of three seniors starters — described the state championship feeling as “surreal. I don’t know how else to describe it.”

“Nothing beats playing with this team.”

The Eagles finished with a 22-1 record, dropping only a 2-1 decision to Indian River on April 6. Smyrna outscored its four tournament foes by a combined 31-9 score. The Eagles were motivated by the sting of a first round tournament loss in 2017.

Pitchers Jessica Anderson, a senior, and Payton Dixon, a freshman, combined to allow 10 hits, but induced big outs each time Appo threatened to perhaps pull close enough to make it suspenseful.

Appo got three hits from junior Mallory Weir, two by freshman Madeline Olivas and one each from seniors Andrea Johnson and Brooke Miller, sophomores Tayler Vitola and Alicia Bruce and freshman Madison Bauerle. The Jaguars finished with a 20-2 record in making their first state title game appearance.

“We fought every inning and knew it would be a shootout, but we haven’t seen bats like that all year,” Timpson said. “Hat’s off to Smyrna for that, they earned the title, they deserved to win it after a performance like that.”

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