Smyrna’s softball team starting off strong

 

Sussex Tech’s third baseman Kylie Kruger tags Smyrna’s Alexis Moore on Wednesday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

SMYRNA — The new season has started quite well for the Smyrna High softball team.

And that really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

The Eagles did not graduate a single player from last year’s squad who went 15-3. Everyone is back and Smyrna is off to a 3-0 start after the first week of the season.

The Eagles come into spring break with victories over Delmar, Sussex Tech and Polytech.

“We have a great chemistry together,” said junior third baseman Sara Miller. “A lot of us have been playing together for a very long time and it shows on the field.”

They have outscored their opponents 25-5 through the first three games. Dating back to last season, Smyrna has won its last nine regular season games.

They only dropped three games a year ago in the regular season but fell to Milford in the first round of the DIAA softball state tournament. Milford went on to win the state championship.

Smyrna’s Jessica Anderson prepares to fire a pitch against Sussex Tech on Wednesday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

That has motivated the Eagles who did not have to worry about replacing any of their players from that game.

“We didn’t lose anyone,” said Smyrna coach Nicki Shirey. “These girls have wanted it so badly since the last game of last season. They put in so much work in the offseason. They’ve been ready to go since the last game of last year.”

With so many returners, Smyrna has plenty of firepower.

The Eagles are led by senior centerfielder Kaelyn Press who was a first team All-State honoree in 2017. Pitcher Jessica Anderson made second team All-State last year while catcher Madison Drummond was an honorable mention.

Lexi Moore has recorded eight hits in the first three games of this year while Abigail Mace has a home run.

Even with all the experience, there are some newcomers helping out already. Smyrna’s roster features three freshmen who were not on the team last year.

Freshman Payton Dixon has pitched eight and a third innings so far this season in relief and has not given up a run.

“We all play great together,” Miller said. “We do have some new players but it’s great that we’re playing as a family. Everyone has a role to play. We’ve had a great start to our season and many more to come.”

Smyrna’s wins this year have come against tough competition.

Delmar was the state runner-up a year ago and the Eagles beat the Wildcats 10-5 in the season opener. Sussex Tech reached the state semifinals in 2017, Smyrna earned a 5-0 victory over the Ravens on Wednesday.

“I have all the confidence in the world in these girls,” Shirey said. “The energy level is high.”

Smyrna’s next game is Friday at home against Indian River (4:15 p.m.).

 

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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