Many in southwest Missouri, even throughout the state, called the Seymour High School baseball team the “Cinderella” of the Class 2 playoffs.
The shoe fi t, so to speak, when the second-seeded Tigers defeated No. 1 seed Mansfi eld by a 4-2 count in the Class 2, District 5 Tournament’s championship game.
It continued when the underdog squad defeated a 24-1 Purdy team 3-2 in the sectionals.
In the state quarterfinals, Liberal was the Tigers’ next victim, falling 10-3.
And the wonderful run continued last Thursday afternoon with Seymour’s comeback 5-4 victory over Silex in the state semifinals at O’Fallon.
But much like the fate of Cinderella, the clock ultimately struck for the Tigers.
It didn’t happen at midnight.
Actually, it struck at noon Friday.
That’s when a 1-0 deficit quickly became 5-0, then 8-0 and eventually 9-0, as the Ellington Whippets defeated Seymour for the Class 2 state championship.
Regardless, it was a special year for head coach Jason Duey and his Tigers.
They finished the season with a 21-8 record, the program’s first district championship and the highest finish of any Tiger team in school history.
For two weeks, it was a wild ride.
After the first game at the Neelyville Tournament in late April, when Seymour fell to a one-win ballclub in the Missouri “Bootheel,” the Tigers reeled off 11 straight victories, five of them comeback wins, five coming in Seymour’s last at-bat.
The run energized the community.
Hundreds traveled to suburban St. Louis to watch the team make school history. Most of them stayed an extra day as the Tigers’ semifinal contest against Silex was postponed last Wednesday due to lightning.
Seymour sent off its ballclub with a parade last Tuesday, May 28, and welcomed its team home late Friday night with a celebration at the high-school baseball field.
Again, hundreds were present for each event.
Simply stated, Seymour is proud of its 17 players and three coaches who advanced to the biggest stage in high-school baseball for the first time in school history.
There are nearly 120 Class 2 baseball teams in Missouri.
Seymour has one of the two best.