BEAR — For four and a half innings, the Smyrna High baseball team hung right with the defending state champions.
But a bases loaded double changed everything.
Third-seeded Caravel Academy scored four runs in the fifth inning on its way to a 6-1 victory over No. 14 Smyrna in the first round of the DIAA state baseball tournament on Saturday afternoon.
“It was a good battle until the fifth inning,” said Smyrna junior Ryan Seymour. “I feel like we did well. If you were at the game, it didn’t look like a 6-1 ballgame. But they are a solid team and a couple things didn’t go our way. That’s baseball.”
Caravel sophomore Nick Jones caused most of the damage with a pair of doubles and four RBIs.
Jones gave the Buccaneers (15-4) their first run when he lined a double down the line just out of the reach of a diving Jared Gillis at third base in the fourth. Caravel added another run on a sacrifice fly by Sean Woodham in the inning.
Then in the fifth, Jones hit another hard liner in virtually the same place, this time it grazed Gillis’ glove. It rolled down the line and allowed three runs to score.
Jones was thrown out trying to advance to third and it marked the end of the day for Smyrna’s freshman starting pitcher Jeremy Carrow.
Carrow, who developed into Smyrna’s ace by the end of the season, is just one of the many underclassmen who play big roles for the Eagles (12-7).
“Teams are going to be tired of seeing him by the time he’s a senior,” said Smyrna coach Mike Henderson. “He’s stepped it up this year. My biggest mistake was probably not going to him more often in the beginning of the year because we didn’t want to throw him right into the fire. He handled it well.”
The Eagles started two freshmen, two sophomores and a bunch of juniors on Saturday. Only two batters from their starting nine won’t return next season.
“The future looks bright,” Seymour said. “Jeremy’s done an outstanding job throwing as a freshmen then we have a couple of juniors and sophomores. I think we’ll be in the playoff hunt for many years to come.”
Seymour paced the Smyrna offense with a 3-for-3 day and scored a run.
He got the first hit off Caravel reliever Brandon Fraley in the top of the fifth with a single to the opposite field. Gillis, another junior, followed with a single before Shawn Dulin, also a junior, singled Seymour home.
But Fraley forced a flyout and got out of the jam. He finished with six strikeouts in four innings of relief.
Caravel started Bryce Carney who allowed six baserunners in his three innings of work but kept the Eagles off the
board. Smyrna left 12 runners stranded on base for the game.
Jason Bilous added a RBI-double for Caravel who will play 11th seed Tower Hill on Tuesday in the quarterfinals at Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium (7 p.m.).
“We were with them for five innings but that bases-loaded hit sealed our fate,” Henderson said. “I’m proud of them. We’re a pretty young team with two freshman on the field and a couple of sophomores. We’ll be alright.”
Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 741-8224.
Follow @TimMastroDSN on Twitter,