The season came to a heartbreaking end for Seymour’s baseball team following a tight 1-0 loss to Floyd Central on Thursday night.
A lack of timely hitting and a brief burst of untimely bad luck knocked the Owls out of the Class 4A Floyd Central Sectional and allowed the host Highlanders to advance to a semifinal showdown with New Albany tonight.
“We talked all week that it was going to come down to big hits and big moments,” Seymour head coach Jeremy Richey said. “We were right there with them the whole game. (Floyd Central) put a ball in play and legged one out, and we never got that big hit. But I’m proud of our effort. We battled our butts off.”
Seymour’s offense was limited to two hits but managed to put runners in scoring position in the first, third, sixth and seventh innings. Unfortunately for the Owls, they could not get any of those runners across the plate.
Floyd Central, meanwhile, was held in check by Seymour pitcher Aden Burnside before a couple of tough-luck plays hurt the Owls in the fifth inning.
The first such play occurred on a routine single by FC’s Evan Goforth that skipped to the fence and turned into a triple when Seymour right fielder Treyton McCormick slipped on the damp outfield grass. Moments later, Goforth scored the game’s only run when Casey Sorg beat the throw from Seymour shortstop Bret Perry on a slow, high-bouncing grounder.
The one-run loss spoiled an excellent outing by Burnside (5-2), who threw six innings, allowed five hits and struck out three.
“He’s a heck of a pitcher,” Richey said. “He battled. He trusted his stuff. He’s best when he pitches to contact, but when he needs a strikeout, he seems to come up with that strikeout. I’m glad we’ve got him back for another year.”
Burnside’s most daring escape came in the third inning when he worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam by striking out one batter and coaxing an inning-ending fly ball from another.
“I was sweating bullets,” Burnside said of the third inning. “I was just trying to pound the bottom of the zone to put the ball on the ground. I’m super proud of my teammates. I didn’t have a lot of strikeouts, but they made plays.”
Second baseman Andrew Levine highlighted the Owls’ defensive effort with a tough backhanded stab on a sharp ground ball deep in the hole to retire FC’s Caleb Slaughter in the sixth inning. Levine also was the first step in a 4-6-3 double play in the first inning.
Third baseman Brandon Hubbard added a nifty assist on a high chopper in the third inning, while catcher Brayden Wilson gunned down Highlander lead-off hitter Jake Thompson on an attempted bunt.
Charlie Longmeier and Vince Wilson accounted for Seymour’s two hits, both singles.
The loss ended the Owls’ six-game winning streak and closed their season with a 15-10 record.
“I’ve never had a group that has improved as much from the start of a season to the end of a season,” Richey said. “We took some butt whoopings early in the season. But every time we played someone the second time, it was a lot closer, and we gave ourselves a chance to win. That says a lot about the resiliency of this group.”
Richey also saluted his four seniors, Luke Brummett, Cody Ruble, Hubbard and Wilson, following their final game in a Seymour uniform.
“All of them brought something to the team,” Richey said. “(Wilson) was our leader behind the plate. With Brandon, it was his improvement from freshman year to senior year, even from the start of his senior year until now. Cody won four games for us on the mound. And Luke, he’s the epitome of a team player. I’m glad he made the decision to stick around. He made us better.”