Owls pitch shutout in season opener

With their scrimmage before the start of the season cancelled due to poor weather, the Seymour baseball team itched to get back on the diamond Tuesday.

The Owls wanted to put on a dominant performance on their home turf, and the season-opener at American Legion Field against visiting Shawe Memorial provided the opportunity.

That’s what the Owls fans got. A blowout.

The Owls exploded for nine runs in the first inning against Shawe Memorial, recorded 13 strikeouts on 15 at-bats while allowing two walks, and didn’t allow a hit behind four pitchers as they cruised to a 16-0 victory in a five-inning run-rule game.

“We think (pitching) is going to be our strong suit,” Owls coach Jeremy Richey said. “We had a lot of returning innings and games coming back from last year, so we expect our pitchers to lead us — especially early. It usually takes bats longer to catch up than arms outside. I think that our pitchers did a nice job, and the hitting came along as well.”

In the first inning, junior Jorge Vega brought in the Owls’ first run with an RBI single to centerfield following a pair of steals from sophomore Satoshi Hirose after a walk.

Starting-pitcher Janzen Bloom brought the next Owls runner in with a single.

Following a walked-in run, the Owls scored three runs off a number of errors and wild pitches by the Hilltopers to take a 6-0 lead.

With his second at-bat, junior Ryan Wieneke slammed a double, which stopped just short of the wall in centerfield, to bring in two Owls runners.

Hirose concluded the Owls offensive onslaught in the bottom of the first with an RBI single that dropped near the shortstop after a long hang-time.

At the next at-bat, Owls sophomore Luis Muñoz chipped an RBI double up the middle.

The Owls scored two runs in the bottom of the second capped by a two-RBI double from catcher Seth Stuckwisch to give the squad an 11-0 lead.

Bloom recorded five strikeouts and two walks in the first two innings before senior Mitchell Moore struck out all three of his batters at the top of the third.

Following a scoreless third inning, the Owls went for the kill in the fourth as Hirose struck-out all three of his batters.

The Owls scored two runs off wild pitches before Vega blasted another two-RBI single to put his team up 15-0.

Sophomore Tyler Bloom concluded the Owls’ scoring on the evening with an RBI double up the first base line.

Wieneke closed out the fifth inning with two strikeouts from the mound for the Owls.

At the plate, Vega and Stuckwisch led the Owls going 2 for 3 and notching three RBIs each.

“We put Jorge there in the clean-up spot because we think that we’re going to get guys on base in the first three spots, and that’s his job to get them in,” Richey said. “He handles the bat really well. Coming out of the facility, I think that he was our best hitter, and he showed us that today.”

“I think (Stuckwisch) was big. He’s a senior and played a lot defensively last year without getting a lot of at-bats. For him to step up the first night out is big at the bottom of the lineup. If we can get guys hitting well at the bottom I think we’re going to be a tough team.”

On Saturday, Seymour will host the Owl Invitational.

“I just want to see more consistency,” Richey said. “I want some better at-bats. We didn’t adjust to velocity really well tonight. I thought we were out front a lot more.”

Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.