The Seymour softball team didn’t let a little rain get in the way of punching a ticket to the Hoosier Hills Conference championship game Thursday.
With a 6-3 victory against visiting rivals Jennings County in sloppy conditions, the Owls earned a matchup with Class 4A No. 5 Floyd Central in the HHC title game today.
Seymour will make their first ever HHC finals appearance against the Highlanders.
After a hitless first inning, the Panthers got in on the boards in the top of the second.
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Following a double play by the Owls’ Faith Rebber at shortstop to first, Jennings County senior Kaylin Klosterman hit a homer over the left field fence.
The Owls’ offense then came to life.
Seymour scored five runs in six hits in the bottom of the second inning.
Sophomore Tori Snook got the Owls rolling with an RBI double before Rebber smashed an RBI triple.
Owls junior McKenna Curry then sacrificed to score Rebber.
Looking for a change of pace, the Panthers switched freshman pitcher Gabby Mahoney out for senior Bug Donnell after 1⅔ innings pitched.
With senior Avery Clark on first, Seymour freshman Rachel Kaufman blasted a homer to give the Owls a 5-1 advantage.
“We talk constantly about feeding off energy,” Owls coach Brian Personett said. “Hitting is contagious, and in that inning it was. When Faith hit that triple, that was a big shot that got us going.”
The Panthers got two on base, led by a double from junior Tesla Koptizke, but the runners were left stranded in the third inning.
With one out in top of the fifth, Rebber extended for a catch between second and third base gap before forcing a runner out at third for another double play.
“That was a huge play, if she doesn’t make that they probably score two runs and it changes the complexion of the game,” Personett said. “It was all instincts. In the grand scheme of the game, it took the wind out of their sails. They had one out and runners on second and third and were in pretty good shape.”
Freshman Haley Mobley led off with a home run over the scoreboard in center field to give the Owls the 6-1 lead after five.
Personett said he has been pleased with Kaufman and Mobley’s progression.
“Hannah has been consistent throughout the season and Haley has really gotten into it while dealing with an injury all season,” he said. “That was just a monster shot she had over the scoreboard.”
The Panthers struck back in the sixth inning with an RBI double from Mahoney.
McKenzie Byram, a junior, followed with a sacrifice to score sophomore Alexis Brown.
Both teams went down in order to close the contest.
Junior Lo Schmidt pitched all seven innings for the Owls, with two strikeouts three walks and six hits given up.
Seymour out-hit Jennings County 8-6 in the game.
With the win, the Owls improved to 15-3 on the season.
Yesterday, it was also announced that the Owls will host Floyd in the opening round of their home sectional.
“Floyd Central is the best team in the conference and everyone knew that coming into the season,” Personett said. “We feel like we’re pretty good too.
I don’t think we’re in a position to hide anything — we are what we are. A lot of times, you play mind games. We’re going to stick with our rotation.”
The Panthers (10-8) will host New Albany for the third place game today.