Stars edge Owls in Sectional 15 semifinals

JEFFERSONVILLE — Jeremy Richey said the outcome of Saturday’s baseball game in the Jeffersonville Class 4A Sectional can be summed up in one word: Frustrating.

The Owls jumped on top of Bedford North Lawrence 3-0, then trailed 5-3, rallied to a 5-5 tie, but lost 6-5.

“It was frustrating,” Richey said. “We played so well for so many innings. We get up 3-0 and give them five in the second inning. That’s tough.”

The Owls lit up the scoreboard in the top of the first as A.J. Boshears hit a triple into let-center field before scoring when Michael Knecht grounded out to second base.

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Devin Hill led off the second inning by reaching first base safely when the shortstop was unable to field his ground ball. Takumi Nishiwaki then laid down a sacrifice bunt with Hill moving to second. R.J. Kleber singled past the shortstop to score Hill.

Alan Perry then doubled off the fence in left-center field to score Kleber.

That hits was Perry’s 112th of his career, which set a new school record. He was tied with Jesse Wilson going into the game with 111 hits.

“That’s a good day for him,” Richey said of Perry. “That’s something that I hoped would happen because he’s had a great career for us, and to do it on the last day is a good career for him.”

Owl sophomore right-hander Jayden Brown had trouble finding the strike zone in the bottom of the second as he issued four straight walks to force in a run.

Garrett Watson popped out to first baseman Tiller Cummings, who caught the ball in front of the Seymour dugout, and threw to catcher Ty McCory when Gavin Blackman took a few steps toward the plate. McCory thought he had a play on Blackman at third, but his throw sailed over Nishiwaki’s head and Blackman scored.

Blake Fisher then tripled to left-center to drive in two runs, and he later scored on a hit to give the Stars a 5-3 lead.

The Owls scored runs with two outs in the second, fourth and sixth innings.

In the fourth, Perry was hit by a pitch, and was safe at second when the Stars made a fielding error on a ball hit by Boshears. Knecht singled to drive in Perry.

The Owls tied the game in the top of the sixth when Perry walked and scored on Boshears’ second triple of the game.

BNL used a single and double to score the winning run in the bottom of the sixth.

Fisher had a double and a triple, drove in three runs and scored once, and Zane Harrison had three hits and drew a walk to top the BNL offense.

“The walks got us,” Richey said. “They got a big hit with guys on that we put on. That’s baseball. They took advantage of some of the mistakes that we made, and we took advantage of some of theirs and we just didn‘t get to score enough runs.

“I’m proud of our kids. We scored in four of the innings and came back, then they get a big hit in the bottom of the sixth to beat us. I’m proud of the effort. It’s been fun group of kids to coach.”

Six different Owls had hits, four of them scored and four of them had RBIs. Boshears had two triples, scored a run and had one RBI, Perry was on base three times with a double, walk and hit by pitch and scored two runs, and Hill was on base four times with two hits, a walk and he reached on an error. Knecht had two RBIs.

“We knew it was going to come down to scoring runs,” Richey said. “I would have taken our chances to win with five. We did some nice things at the plate. A.J. had a big day at the plate, and had a couple triples in big moments.

“Our top did a really nice job today of creating some things, even with one and two outs.”

The Owls scored three runs in the top of the seventh to beat New Albany in the first round of the tournament.

Richey said those rallies, “say a lot about the character of our kids. When we’re down we don’t give up, and I’m proud of this group for that and hopefully these young guys can see what these older guys did for us because they never gave up.”

Seymour will graduate nine seniors from its program.

The Owls finished 16-10. BNL will play Jeffersonville in the championship game at 1 p.m. today.