A year ago, the Seymour High School varsity softball team won a school-record 11 fall games.
This season, the Tigers took the field minus five Class 2 all-district players.
Last Friday, head coach Glenn Dawson’s ballclub won its 10th game this fall, the program’s second-highest tally.
Above that, Seymour’s winning percentage entering this week’s district action is the squad’s highest ever for a fall campaign as the Tiger record stands at 10-12 after three key victories last week.
“We just completed a massive week and nearly won all four of our games,” Dawson said. “As a result, we finished the regular season with double-digit wins at 10, and it’s the program’s best season in terms of winning percentage.
“That’s not too bad for a team that lost five all-district players from a year ago and a team that doesn’t have a single senior and only one junior on the roster.”
Last week, the Tigers captured road victories at Class 5 opponents Springfield Central and Springfield Parkview.
Seymour also defeated Walnut Grove in a Friday doubleheader before narrowly falling to Dora.
The week started Monday, Oct. 4, with a 13-2 decision at Springfield Parkview, followed by a 16-4 victory at Springfield Central. Both games ended after five innings due to the 10-run rule.
On Friday, Seymour improved its fall record to 10-11 with a 15-5 home win over Walnut Grove.
The Tigers dropped the second game of two Friday, falling 11-7 to perennial softball powerhouse Dora.
“We not only won three (games), we won all three of them by the run rule,” Dawson noted. “I told the girls when the week started that if we won all four of our games (last) week, it would be the first time ever that a Seymour softball team finished the fall season with a .500 record.
“It was a challenge, and we nearly did it. One bad inning really cost us against Dora, but we played hard and never let up against them. In the end, we posted another 10-win fall season. To me, that’s quite an accomplishment, because our roster primarily is filled with sophomores.”
Week opens with 13-2 win
Against Springfield Parkview on Oct. 4, Seymour jumped out to a 6-0 lead after one inning and cruised to a victory.
The Tigers’ lead was 7-1 after two innings and 8-1 after three.
A five-run fifth inning pushed Seymour’s lead to 13-1.
Sophomore Alleigh Warren was the winning pitcher.
She went the full five innings, allowing just two runs (one earned) on three hits.
Warren struck out two and walked two.
She needed only 68 pitches in the victory.
“Alleigh just had a great week for us,” Dawson said. “On the mound, she was super. And at the plate and in the field, she also was lights out.”
Seymour scored its 13 runs on just four hits. The Tigers drew 10 walks and reached base five times on errors.
Junior Kenzie Gage was the Tigers’ catalyst offensively as she reached base four times on walks. She scored a team high three times and had one run batted in (RBI).
Sophomore Elisa Valbuena tripled, walked twice, scored twice and had one RBI.
With a double and two RBIs was classmate Olivia Kyle.
Sophomore Aubrie Fann singled, scored two runs and led the Tigers with three RBIs.
Freshman Haydon Gage single and scored a run, while Warren helped her cause on the mound by scoring twice.
Sophomores Cameron Hanger and Katelynn Smith each scored a run.
Last Thursday at Springfield Central, the Tigers’ script was the same as Seymour opened the first inning by scoring five runs to take an early lead.
Seymour’s lead reached 9-0 in the top of the fourth inning as the Tigers cruised to the 16-4 victory.
Warren again was the winning pitcher.
She went the full five innings and gave up four runs on seven hits. She had six strikeouts and walked none.
“Again, Alleigh just came in and pumped strikes,” Dawson said, smiling. “In this game, she threw 76 pitches, and 57 of them were for strikes.”
In perhaps its best offensive game of the fall, Seymour scored 16 runs on 16 hits. The Tigers also drew nine walks and reached base three times on errors.
Warren paced the Tiger offense by going 3-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and two RBIs.
Valbuena was perfect at the plate.
She was 3-for-3 with two triples, three runs scored, two RBIs and a walk.
Sophomore Shea Peters had a double, single, one run and two RBIs.
Kyle was 2-for-4 with one run, Kaylynne Bull doubled, scored a run and had one RBI, Fann had a double and scored twice, while Kenzie Gage had a single, walked twice and scored three runs.
Haydon Gage doubled and scored once, Hanger singled, while sophomore Hannah Clark singled, scored a run and had one RBI.
Kenzie Gage had six stolen bases; Valbuena and Warren each had five.
On Friday, Seymour played a home doubleheader.
First up was Walnut Grove.
The Tigers won 15-5.
Again, Seymour’s offense got off to a fast start, scoring five first-inning runs.
At the end of four frames, the Tigers led 14-2.
Clark picked up the pitching win by going the full five frames, allowing five runs on 13 hits. She struck out two and issued no walks.
Hanger was Seymour’s offensive standout.
She was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. She also led the team with five stolen bases.
Sisters Haydon and Kenzie Gage also had big days.
Haydon Gage was 2-for-2 with a double, two runs and three RBIs.
Kenzie Gage also was 2-for-2. She had a triple and scored twice.
Warren had a single, scored twice and had two RBIs.
Smith singled, scored twice and added one RBI.
Fann led the team with three runs scored, while Valbuena scored twice.
Clark walked three times and had one RBI.
In Friday’s second game, Dora escaped with an 11-7 win, but the contest was close.
Entering the bottom of the fifth inning, Dora’s Falcons were clinging to a 5-3 lead.
Errors and miscues led to five Dora runs in the bottom of the fifth frame, but Seymour showed resiliency by scoring three runs in the final inning before falling by four runs.
Clark took the pitching loss.
Smith was the Tigers’ leader offensively. She was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI.
Kenzie Gage added two hits, including a double, and she scored a pair of runs.
Clark was 2-for-4 with a double, one run and two RBIs.
Kyle also had a double.
Fann singled, scored a run and had one RBI, Haydon Gage scored a run, while Valbuena rounded out the team’s attack with a single.
Dawson said hopes are high for next fall.
“When next fall arrives, we won’t have any excuses of being a young team, as most of my girls will be juniors,” he said. “If all of the girls on this (fall’s) squad return next fall, we should be in position not only to have a winning season, we also should contend for the conference and district championships.”