Seymour softball coach Jerry Burton said people underestimate how good his team is.
“This team can play with anybody in the state,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize how good this team is because they will go out and compete with anyone on our schedule.”
That seemed to be the case, as his team was able to keep pace with Roncalli on Thursday evening at home.
The Class 4A eighth-ranked Rebels defeated the Owls 14-12, but the team’s ability to battle such a high-caliber opponent and losing narrowly is a victory itself and accomplishes what the team set out to do this season.
“One of our goals this year was to get mentally tougher, and playing Roncalli prepares you that way and prepares you for whoever you will play in the sectional,” Burton said. “I’m very pleased with their effort and the way we battled.”
After being down 11-5 heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Owls battled back and ended up having the tying runs in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh.
Things started off hot for the Owls, as they were able to take an early 5-1 lead after the first inning.
Tori Snook led off with a walk after falling behind in a 1-2 count, fouling off multiple times before drawing the walk. Lo Schmidt singled, and Snook moved to second with two on and two out. Faith Rebber stepped to the plate and worked a full count and walked to load the bases. Katie Suits then drove a pitch up the middle to plate Snook to tie it at 1.
Kate Snook then hit a blooper to center to score Schmidt and Rebber to give the Owls a 3-1 lead.
Suits and Kate Snook completed a double steal before Haley Westfall drove them in with a double to center field to give the Owls a four-run lead.
The Rebels quickly answered with a big second inning. After Jen Smith struck out, Roncalli piled on seven hits and drew a walk to score six runs and regain the lead.
Both teams were then scoreless until the Rebels notched three runs in the top of the fourth and one in the fifth.
That’s when the Owls made things interesting and scored three in the bottom of the inning.
Schmidt led off with a home run hit off the right center fence. Rebber, Suits and Kate Snook followed with singles to load the bases with no outs. Rebber and Marie Lenart, who pinch ran for Suits, scored on an error to bring the Owls within three runs with one out.
The Rebels then erased the Owls’ momentum by earning back all three runs in the sixth inning. Two runs came from a home run by Abby Hickson, and the other one came from a blooper by Jordan Jenkins that fell near the right field foul line.
The Owls were retired in order in the sixth inning, and the Rebels were unable to score in the seventh.
That’s when things got really interesting for Seymour.
Down 14-8 heading into the bottom of the seventh, it looked as though the Rebels were going waltz their way to victory. But the tough team Burton talked about showed itself, as the Owls were able to record four runs and get both tying runs in scoring position before ultimately coming up short.
Tori Snook batted in Lenart and Carlee Robinson on a double to center field. Rachel Kaufman then doubled in Snook to make the score 14-11.
Schmidt drew a walk to load the bases, and then Haley Mobley scored on a wild pitch to bring the score 14-12 with two outs. A strikeout, though, ended the game.
Burton said it was difficult to keep within reach of Roncalli because once his team would make a run at it, the Rebels were able to find a way to score.
“It didn’t seem like anything was ever enough, but they’re a hard team to stop,” he said. “I think we got a lot out of this, and we had a lot of good at-bats.”
The Owls (16-6) will host Jeffersonville tonight at home.