SMYRNA — For the first four innings of the Salesianum-Smyrna baseball game, there was virtually no offense.
The Sals’ bats woke up in the fifth and six innings, but Smyrna’s never came alive.
The Eagles were held to four hits and shut out by Sallies in an 8-0 defeat on Saturday afternoon. Sals starter Kyle Hinton pitched the first two innings before Nolan O’Neill threw the last five as the Eagles dropped to 11-5.
“Not to take anything away from Sallies, but we were in a funk,” said Smyrna coach Mike Henderson. “I don’t know what it was.”
Salesianum improved to 11-3.
Hinton allowed just one base-runner, via a walk, in his two innings. Jeremy Carrow greeted O’Neill with a leadoff single for Smyrna’s first hit of the game in the bottom of the third.
But O’Neill retired the next 10 batters and the Sals plated a pair of runs in the fifth before breaking the game open with six in the sixth.
It was the second consecutive Saturday the Eagles fell to an upstate Catholic school that figures to be a contender for the state title.
They lost on a walkoff single a week ago at St. Mark’s (the defending state runner-up). Smyrna even led that game 1-0 before falling 2-1.
“The St. Mark’s game was at least a well-played game,” Henderson said. “I don’t think we played that well today. The effort was there so we just have to mark it down as an experience, I guess.”
Sallies took the lead on Zach Miller’s sacrifice fly and added another in the fifth on a bloop single by Andrew deLaveaga.
Joshua Maguire had the big hit for the Sals in the sixth with a bases-clearing double. DeLaveaga also doubled in a pair of runs in the inning.
Smyrna threatened to break the shutout in the seventh when Jared Gillis doubled but he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.
Brandt Penuel also hit a double for Smyrna in the seventh. Nolan Henderson had the other hit for the Eagles, a single in the top of the sixth.
Smyrna has two more games left in its regular season, both against Henlopen Conference opposition. The Eagles travel to Laurel Monday before their home finale against Cape Henlopen on Tuesday. Both games are scheduled for 4:15 p.m. starts.
“We just have to be more aggressive at the plate and maybe step up our defense a bit,” Henderson said. “We’ll be all right.”