SMYRNA — The Smyrna High softball team is putting up its fair share of crooked numbers in the box score to start the season.
As a result, the Eagles keep winning.
Smyrna earned its fourth victory in a row on Friday, 20-0 in five innings over Laurel High. With only three seniors and one junior on the roster, the youthful Eagles are even surprising themselves a little bit.
“It’s almost shocking how strong and how powerful we’ve come out,” said senior Tayler John. “We knew we were a good team and we had talent. But years before, we would have a shaky start and then come on eventually. Right out of the gate in the first practices, we knew we had something here. We like where it’s going and we want to keep it that way.”
Friday was the third time in four games Smyrna scored double-digit runs. The Eagles had 10 runs in their opener, a win over Delmar, and scored 17 this past Tuesday against Dover.
The win over Laurel avenged a 1-0 defeat to the Bulldogs from the first round of last year’s DIAA state tournament, when Smyrna finished the season at 10-9 overall.
Smyrna is off to the strong start with five freshmen and five sophomores on the roster. They may be young, but they give the Eagles a deep lineup.
“All the way down the lineup, there’s not a weak spot,” said coach Nicki Shirey, “I’m in a happy place right now. I’m not going to complain, it’s a good start to the season. We’re excited to get through some more conference games and see where we end up.”
Shirey had no reservations about taking so many young players to the varsity level so quickly.
“You can just tell how they mesh on the field,” she said. “They didn’t skip a beat. There’s no fear in their eyes, you can see that. They were ready for this so I put them out there and they’ve shown what they’ve got.”
In the win over Laurel, Smyrna was led by a solo home run from sophomore Jessica Anderson and a three-run shot by freshman Sara Miller. John drove in four runs while sophomore Kaelyn Press blasted a pair of doubles and also drove in four runs.
While the five freshmen are playing for the first time together in high school this year, they have a wealth of experience together thanks to travel ball teams and the middle school. It helped build a bond that instantly carried over to the rest of the varsity team.
“Having all these freshmen come up has really helped us,” Press said. “We’ve really come together as a team and as a family and it’s really important to play as a family. We’ve definitely shown that with our hitting and how we pick each other up. We’re very encouraging and definitely bust our butts at every practice.”
“We know and we have faith that our teammates are going to do what they need to,” John said. “It’s just a really good team this year. We did feel like we lost a couple of games we shouldn’t have last year. We’re ready to come back strong and really leave a name for ourselves on the field.”