Everything starts from the circle in softball.
For Seymour, that’s where the Owls relied on much of their success for the 2016 season.
They leaned on their contingent of pitchers throughout the season to achieve an 18-8 record.
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In some of the team’s biggest games of the season, the Owls consistently relied on their ace — Lo Schmidt.
The junior tossed 67 strikeouts in 57.3 innings to command games.
Despite not pitching for the first three weeks due to tendonitis, Schmidt amassed a record of 9-4.
In one of the biggest games of the season, Schmidt limited Jennings County to three scores en route to the Owls’ first Hoosier Hills Conference championship game appearance.
The team needed Schmidt to control games, and she delivered.
With all of her accomplishments this past season, Schmidt has been named The Tribune’s 2016 Jackson County Softball Player of the Year.
“She’s a junior, and it was her time to step up,” Owls coach Brian Personett said. “I thought she was more than capable. Mentally, I think she got a lot stronger this year. She got tougher. It was our expectation to throw her in big games. She wanted the ball, and we gave it to her.”
As far as pitches go, Schmidt developed a much stronger changeup.
“Her changeup got better. If she can throw a change-up for a strike, it’s devastating. It can make a decent hitter look silly,” Personett said. “She hit her spots well. We mostly lived on the rise ball. As long as the ball got up, we didn’t have many problems.”
Hitting the pitching facilities around 6 a.m. before school, Schmidt was able to work on her game much earlier in the year.
“This year, we got a key to the (pitching facility), so we got in earlier,” Schmidt said. “It was a lot easier to get pitches in. My pitching really improved. I think I hit my pitches a lot better.”
Personett also credited the extra time in the hitting and pitching facility.
“I think that the key was that we had pitchers start throwing back in December,” he said. “It was a real key in the early success. The pitchers were way ahead of the curve compared to the (opposing) pitchers.”
She also got it done at the plate with an average of .487 behind 37 hits.
Schmidt was named All-Hoosier Hills Conference at the end of the season and second-team All-State.
It is just the third time in the program’s history that a player was named to the state team.
“It’s a really big deal,” Personett said. “To the best of my knowledge, in the history of the program, we’ve only had three make the list. We’ve had two first-team players, and she has another year to accomplish that.”
For Schmidt, the main goal was for the team to finish with a winning record.
“I think we were a lot closer this year,” Schmidt said. “Everyone was able to play together a lot more before the season. I wanted us to have a winning season. I’m excited for next year’s team. We have a pretty good freshman class coming up.”
Moving forward, Personett feels Schmidt will continue to have success in her senior season.
“She leads more by example,” Personett said. “She works hard and shows up every day. I think she needs to continue that, and as a senior, she will have two sophomore pitchers behind her.
“When it’s a big game, the ball needs to be in her hands.”
Katelyn Gray, Brownstown Central, senior
Hitting: 32 H, 10 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 24 R, .405 AVG.
Other: All-Mid-Southern Conference
Beth Wayman, Brownstown Central, senior
Hitting: 29 H, 6 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 29 R, .341 AVG.
Other: All-Mid-Southern Conference
Lisa Scott, Brownstown Central, senior
Hitting: 23 H, 6 2B, 10 RBI, 13 R, .284 AVG.
Jami Bryant, Brownstown Central, junior
Pitching: 162.2 IP, 97 K, 248 H, 4.32 ERA, 11 wins
Hitting: 28 H, 1 2B, 16 RBI, 13 R, .346 AVG.
Other: All-MSC honorable mention
Haley Mobley, Seymour, freshman
Hitting: 28 H, 4 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 16 RBI, .458 AVG.
Rachel Kaufman, Seymour, freshman
Pitching: 64.6 IP, 79 K, 26 BB, 2.39 ERA, 9 wins
Hitting: 33 H, 7 2B, 5 HR, 13 RBI, .434 AVG.
Faith Rebber, Seymour, junior
Hitting: 32 H, 10 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 19 RBI, .458 AVG.
Other: All-HHC honorable mention.
Katie Suits, Seymour, junior
Hitting: 25 H, 4 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 27 RBI, .385 AVG.
Baylee Robinson, Seymour, senior
Hitting: 11 RBI, .346 AVG
Taylor Reynolds, Trinity Lutheran, senior
Hitting: 32 H, 8 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 39 RBI, 25 R, .500 AVG.
Taylor Russell, Trinity Lutheran, junior
Hitting: 27 H, 5 2B, 1 3B, 19 RBI, 26 R, .403 AVG.
Morgan Gabbard, Trinity Lutheran, sophomore
Pitching: 100 IP, 76 K, 114 H, 4.410 ERA, 6 wins
Hitting: 24 H, 6 2B, 2 3B, 5 RBI, 11 R, .429 AVG.
Savannah Harweger, Trinity Lutheran, freshman
Hitting: 41 H, 2 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 38 R, .539 AVG.
Jodi Goecker, Trinity Lutheran, sophomore
Hitting: 36 H, 5 2B, 18 RBI, 35 R, .529 AVG.
Leah Stidam, Brownstown Central, junior
Allison Davidson, Crothersville, junior
Brittany Clem, Crothersville, junior
Avery Clark, Seymour, senior
Jewels Jones, Seymour, freshman
Haley Westfall, Seymour, junior
McKenna Curry, Seymour, junior
Amanda Wright, Trinity Lutheran, junior
2016 Jackson County Softball Player of the Year
Lo Schmidt, Seymour, junior
Pitching: 57.3 IP, 67 K, 39 BB, .209 ERA, 9 wins
Hitting: 37 H, 9 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 16 RBI, .487 AVG.
Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association All-State second team
All-Hoosier Hills Conference
“It was our expectation to throw her in big games. She wanted the ball, and we gave it to her.” — Seymour softball coach Brian Personett on junior Lo Schmidt