Seymour baseball closes HHC tournament play on high note

NORTH VERNON — Over the past few weeks, Seymour’s baseball team went from struggling at the plate to becoming a threat with each at-bat.

The Owls hit Jennings County 13 times to come away with a 15-5, six-inning, Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament-ending win on Friday.

By defeating the Panthers, the Owls placed seventh in the tournament for the second straight year. SHS fell to Class 4A No. 7 Jeffersonville on Monday in the first round before losing to No. 1 New Albany on Wednesday in HHC play.

The Owls (12-8) scored in every inning of thegame.

Seymour took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Tiller Cummings blasted a double to score Alan Perry and A.J. Boshears, who each got on base with singles.

Boshears came back in the second inning with a two-run single to extended the Owls’ lead to four.

In the bottom of the second, Cummings, the Owls’ pitcher, loaded the bases on walks while also dealing a strikeout. After the final walk, a hit-by-pitch, he was substituted for Hunter Ahlbrand.

The Panthers took advantage of the loaded bases by scoring two runs on a pair of RBI singles and a sacrifice fly and cut the deficit to 4-3.

Michael Knecht led off the third inning with a double before Matthew Moore drove him on a sacrifice. A pair of dropped third strikes, which turned into SHS errors, led to a Panthers run in the bottom of the inning. An RBI single then tied the game at five.

R.J. Kleber was walked in the top of the fourth inning, and went on to score on a JC error to put the Owls back on top 6-5. In the fifth inning, Takumi Nishiwaki scored Moore on a sacrifice to put the Owls up by two.

The Owls scored eight runs, all with two outs, in the top of the sixth inning.

Seymour loaded the bases on a walk and singles from Seth Maki and Boshears. The Panthers’ pitcher then walked in a run before Alex Holt, courtesy running, scored on a wild pitch. Moore followed with a two-run double to put the Owls up 11-5. Two batters later, Perry doubled to score three runs. Withh is last at-bat, Boshears singled to score Perry and put the Owls up by 10.

Ahlbrand secured the run-rule win by striking out three straight batters with two runners on base in the bottom of the sixth.

The Owls outhit the Panthers 13-9. Boshears had four hits and Moore and Perry each totaled two. Perry, Moore and Boshears each finished with three RBIs.

“It was a good offensive night for us,” Owls coach Jeremy Richey said. “It felt good to score in every inning and get the big explosion there in the sixth inning. Losing Tiller early in the game, we weren’t expecting needing to change that early. Any time there is change, it can bring about different things. I think our team handled it well. It was a good win to close out the tournament.”

Ahlbrand got the win on the mound, throwing 4.2 innings with nine strikeouts, eight hits, one walk and two runs.

Seymour will host Henryville on Monday and Charlestown on Tuesday before heading to a tournament in Richmond on Friday and Saturday. SHS will then open Sectional 15 (Jeffersonville) play against New Albany.

“Everything needs to be ready to go (by sectional),” Richey said. “We need to clean some things up defensively. We need to make sure, with pitching, that we’re making them hit the ball and not walking them. Offensively, with how bad it was at the beginning of the season, this is becoming statistically one of the best seasons that Seymour has ever had. That has to continue, but we know we will see some elite pitching once we get to the sectional.

If we leave Richmond that way, we will feel confident going into sectional.”