HHC Champs: Owls finish undefeated in conference play

Seymour’s softball team didn’t leave any doubt in winning its first-ever Hoosier Hills Conference title.

The Owls defeated Columbus East 11-3 Friday afternoon to wrap up the HHC championship with a 7-0 record.

“That’s special. That is not something that doesn’t come along every year,” Owls coach Jerry Burton said. “Just a great tribute to the young ladies this year. They played some really great softball. Now we’ve just have to keep it going.”

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SHS had clinched a share of the title earlier in the week with a win over Bedford North Lawrence, but took the crown outright by beating the Olympians.

It was senior night for the Owls, with senior players Rachel Kaufman, Paige Kleber and Emma Ramp and their parents being introduced before the game. All three started and Burton said they have meant a lot to the program.

East used three hits to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning before the Owls took control with five scores in the bottom of the inning.

Grace Meyer opened the bottom of the first with a single and Kaufman followed with another single. Camryn Sterling grounded out with Meyer scoring, and Kaufman scored on an error.

Paige Kleber, Alyssa Perry, Stephanni Kleber and Grace Rennekamp then came up with consecutive hits with both Klebers and Rennekamp driving in runs.

Sterling doubled in the second and scored on an infield out by Jozie Nicholson, and Stephanni Kleber doubled in the third and scored on a hit by Meyer for a 7-1 score.

Kate Snook, Perry and Rennekamp had singles and scored in the fourth. Snook was safe on an error in the fifth, and Alyna Alvarado went into run and scored on a double by Perry to complete the scoring.

The Olympians came up with a single, walk and two infield outs to score twice in the fifth.

The Owls had one of their best offensive games of the season with nine different batters combining for 16 hits with Perry and Kaufman both collecting three, while Meyer, Stephanni Kleber and Rennekamp had two each.

Kaufman, Sterling, Perry and Stephanni Kleber had doubles, and seven girls had RBIs with Rennekamp driving in two runners.

“Good teams have hitting all the way through the lineup,” Burton said. “You’ll notice when we don’t hit all the way through we don’t score that many runs, so it’s really important that everyone does something good like getting on base or getting hits.”

The Owls received one walk and did not have any strike outs.

Kaufman pitched a complete game and had nine strike outs, walked one and allowed seven hits.

“We’re playing some good softball,” Burton said. “We’ve got three games (today). I’m going to try to give a lot of people playing time, and give some players some rest, and just make sure we’re prepared for the sectional.”

The Owls (16-2) will play in the Greenfield Central Tournament today and will face Frankton, North Central and Greenfield beginning at 9 a.m.

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Seniors: Rachel Kaufman, Paige Kleber, Emma Ramp.

Juniors: Alyna Alvarado, Jozie Nicholson, Grace Rennekamp, Carlee Robinson, Kate Snook, Sophia Stahl.

Sophomores: Stephanni Kleber, Grace Meyer, Ami Nishiwaki, Alyssa Perry, Camryn Reichenbacker, Tori Schapker, Mackenzie Whetstine.

Freshmen: Chloe Mellencamp, Matte Nicholson, Camryn Sterling, Kendrick Sterling, Sydney Stewart, Katie Burton, Jayla Gambrel, Stevie Sedam.

Head coach: Jerry Burton

Assistant coaches: Zabrina Nicholson, Jason Sterling, Ben Stewart

Managers: Sarah Kaufman, Zach Thompson