Caylee Ledbetter said she enjoys the challenge that fast-pitch softball offers, while Grace Meyer enjoys being with her friends in weekend tournaments, such as the Thunder Classic.

“(Softball) is so challenging,” Ledbetter said. “It makes your blood boil, basically for me anyway. It’s just so fun.”

Ledbetter played with the Southern Heat, of Brownstown, in the 11 to 12 division in the Thunder Classic in Seymour this past weekend.

She started playing fast-pitch softball when she was 8 years old and she is now 11.

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Ledbetter said it is hard to pick up a pitchers’ grip, and you have to be ready to swing at strikes.

“You don’t have time (to watch the grip),” She said. “If you watch the ball then you’ll know its coming. You just scoot back in the back of the box and have a faster swing if it’s a really fast pitcher.”

Ledbetter split her time between second base and pitcher during a pool game in the Thunder Classic this past weekend, but she said her favorite position is first base.

The Southern Heat have played in five tournaments this year and have three second-place finishes, including a tournament in Seymour in April, plus this weekend.

Meyer, 13, said she began playing softball seven years ago.

“I love the rush when people start hitting really well and it’s a really close ballgame and everyone is real excited and pumped up,” Meyer said.

Meyer also plays basketball and volleyball and said she enjoys all three.

The Thunder won the U-12 division by defeating the Southern Heat 10-1 in the championship game and went 5-0 in the tournament.

This is the second tournament they have won this year with the previous title coming at Shelbyville, and they also placed second in a tournament at Edinburgh.

Most of the current team members played on the Thunder last year when they finished the summer by winning 52 of their final 56 games and won five straight tournament during that span.

The Thunder were the only Seymour team to place first in their division this weekend.

The Seymour Stealth placed second in the 13 to 14 softball division as they advanced through the loser’s division to defeat Prime Time, from Madison, 7-6 for force another ‘championship’ game and Prime Time won that contest 2-0.

The Seymour Bats baseball teams both placed second.

The U-10 team played at Shields Park, while the U-12 team played at Kasting Park and lost to an Indianapolis team 6-4 in the championship game of the tournament.

This marks the third time this spring that the Bats have finished second in a tournament.

Cody Ruble is a pitcher, and plays either shortstop or first base with the Bats.

“First base would be my favorite position,” he said. “I enjoy being with my friends and getting to play on the weekends. Also, my dad (Zach) coaches, and I enjoy playing for him.”

Ruble has been playing baseball since he was 6 years old.

“I think our team is pretty good,” Ruble said. “We have a lot of good players, and we’re all friends so we play very well together. We’re all 12 except one of our players is 11. This is our second year being together.”

The Bats play in senior league games during the week, then play in travel tournaments on weekends.

“It’s fun to go to different places and see teams that give you a challenge when you’re playing instead of just playing in the league,” Ruble said. “We have to play very well each game in order to win. Our defense has been a little better than our hitting. We have to work on our hitting.”

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.