FLYING HIGH: Seymour baseball stuns No.1-ranked New Albany in sectional opener

Among the things Coach Jeremy Richey told his baseball team Wednesday night was that they get to practice again tonight.

Richey said that minutes after the Owls rallied to defeat Class 4A No. 1 New Albany 3-2 in the Class 4A Jeffersonville Sectional.

“That’s a good feeling. That’s why you play seven innings,” Richey said after the Owls rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning.

The Bulldogs entered the game with a 24-4 record, and two of those wins came over the Owls.

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The Owls missed scoring opportunities in the first and second innings as they stranded two runners in each of those innings.

Matthew Moore led off the seventh inning with a single, and Takumi Nishiwaki followed walked.

R.J. Kleber bunted in an attempt to sacrifice the runners up a base. His bunt was fielded by Bulldogs’ pitcher Chase Rudy, but he dropped the ball and all runners were safe.

Alan Perry then grounded out to third with the Bulldogs throwing Moore out at home.

A.J. Boshears then came up with his biggest hit of the season, a line single to left center that brought in Nishiwaki and Kleber to tie the game.

After the next batter struck out- Rudy’s 14th of the game – Michael Knecht got a key hit, a single to left field to drive in Perry with the winning run.

“It was a battle early,” Richey said. “Rudy was really really good early. His off-speed stuff was close to un-hittable. I just told them to ‘stick with it. We’re going to get there at some point.’ Leaving guys on second and third a couple times early in the game was frustrating.

“But when you face a strike out pitcher like that sometimes that happens, but we just kept battling. Our sophomore shortstop comes up in the seventh inning and gets it started and we just did the things we needed to do.”

Perry singled and Seth Maki walked in the first before Rudy struck out the next two batters.

Ty McCory and Kleber walked in the second inning before a pop up ended that rally.

McCory had a single in the fourth inning for the Owls’ only other hit.

Perry walked the second batter in the bottom of the first before the Owls turned a double play. He gave up a single in the second inning before Ty McCory threw him out trying to steal second.

The Bulldogs had two hits in the fourth inning but Perry struck out the next batter to end the threat.

New Albany bunched three hits and a Seymour error to score its runs in the fifth.

The Bulldogs didn’t go out easily in the bottom of the seventh as they had two hits and an intentional walk to load the bases before Dylan Clark hit a routine fly to Boshears in center field for the final out.

Perry held the Bulldogs to eight hits while striking out seven and walking two, both intentional.

Perry improved his pitching record 9-1.

“He’s a player,” Richey said “That’s a kid I want on the mound. He’s done so much for us, and A.J. getting a big hit. Michael struggled at the plate early. For him to come out and hit over .400 and just get some big hits for us (was big).”

“We talked about it in practice Tuesday, that we needed to make all the team plays, and make one or two big plays and we played well enough that we really didn’t have to make any of those big plays.

The Owls (16-9) will face the winner of the Floyd Central-Bedford North Lawrence game Saturday at 1 p.m.

“We let a couple of them get away from us to give them a couple or runs. I’m so proud of these kids because they just kept battling. We’ve been through some tough times, a couple games with New Albany, a game were winning in the fifth inning 4-1, and we ended up losing that.

”We kept closing that gap on them and it’s just great for our kids.”