South-Doyle grabs District 2-AAA title from Seymour with three in the seventh
Breaking out of a defensive standoff in which neither team could shift momentum, South-Doyle scored three runs in the top of the seventh to shut out Seymour, 3-0, and claim the District 2-AAA Softball Tournament on Thursday at Seymour Middle School.
Both teams advance to the region tourney, but the Eagles will have to play on the road Monday, while the Cherokees host.
"We're kind of new at this and as best as I can tell it's been 20 years since South-Doyle has been to the region tournament," said coach Robby Howard, who earned district coach of the year honors.
"So for these girls to overcome the tradition (of Seymour softball) and a really well-coached team says a lot about the character of the girls I've got."
South-Doyle pitcher Taylor Plemons struck out only five but was effective in getting Seymour hitters to pop up or fly out with runners on base.
"Taylor was hurt earlier in the season but this is something like her sixth or seventh shutout, and in this tournament she's given up only two runs," Howard said.
The Lady Cherokees finally found enough offense in the top of the seventh, loading the bases for the second time in the contest. With one out, Kenslee Lowe lifted a fly ball to center and a run scored. Katelyn Smelcer's double gave S-D two more runs and its winning edge.
Eagle starter Miranda Duncan took the loss despite striking out 11. She also combined with her defense to strand 11 Lady Cherokees before allowing the winning runs in the final inning.
Seymour coach Jess Sterling said it was just the way the game of softball goes.
"We had our chances offensively. We just didn’t get the hits," Sterling said. "It's a little frustrating. We were hitting a lot of fly balls, but Taylor is a good pitcher.
"We're going to use this as a positive. The goal is to get back to the 'Boro, but we know we have to win Monday."
It was a pitchers' duel until the fourth inning when both teams loaded the bases and could have gained an advantage by putting a run or two across. But Duncan held South-Doyle scoreless by striking out Shelby Williams and getting Plemons on a grounder to first.
The Eagles then led off the bottom of the inning with a single from Bailey Pierce, followed by a bunt single from Duncan. After one out, another bunt – this time by Taylor Erjavec – loaded the bases. But Plemons, like Duncan, ended the threat.
Seymour's Duncan, Pierce, Reid Ballard and Lauren Irwin were named to the all-tourney team. Overall district season honors went to Eagle Sam Baldwin as co-offensive player of the year and Irwin as Player of the Year.