Penn softball falls to Hamilton Southeastern in 4A semi-state championship

NOW: Penn softball falls to Hamilton Southeastern in 4A semi-state championship

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- 2023 4A state champions Penn Kingsmen miss the opportunity to go to the state finals for a second consecutive year losing 4-1 to the Hamilton Southeastern Royals.

Penn had won 27 games in the season before falling in today's game against Hamilton Southeastern.

The Kingsmen played catch up since trailing 1-0 after the first inning. On the mound for Penn was senior Aubrey Zachary. Zachary is one of four seniors on the team.

"You know, I think anytime we're season ends and you know, you have that goal on the ultimate prize of being the state championship. And, you know, anytime that season ends, it's bittersweet. It's, you know, a horrible feeling because you know that you're losing your senior class," said Penn head coach Beth Zachary.

"What a legacy because to get back here is never given, right, it's earned, and they earned that entire career that they've built. And so, they've left their legacy. And I think that's the hardest part, when you get to this point in the season is you just don't want to see them go. You don't want that one last game for them," Zachary added.

Beth's daughter Aubrey was on the mound for the Kingsmen. Although she allowed four runs, Aubrey had 11 strikeouts. Defensively, it was a rough night for the defending state champs.

"Just kind of one of those days where things seemed to, you know, go their way. And that's how the game is. It's just part of the game. And that's why it is a game at the end of the day," Beth Zachary said.

Penn went down 3-0 in the top of the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth inning, with two outs and a runner on first, Izabella Hannah went deep to left field, 3-1 Royals lead.

Offensively it was the most production the Kingsmen put together. Penn struggled at the plate, only earning three hits on sophomore pitcher Grace Swedarsky.

"She did a great job today, hats off to her, you know, our offense is strong. And she really just dominated the zone," Beth Zachary said.

Swedarsky earned 14 strikeouts and only allowed three hits. Her final strikeout sent the Penn Kingsmen home, ending a 27-game win season and a bittersweet day Monday afternoon for the Zachary family (Beth, Aubrey, and Ava).

"Tonight, even though you know, we're upset and our hearts hurt, it's a celebration at our house of you know, Aubrey’s graduation and you just got orientation this week, and we kind of go right into starting out that next chapter of her life and so you know, that's exciting and we really try to separate softball and family so you know, we're gonna take the you know, some quiet time to just relax and rest and regroup and my guess is that Ava will be in the weight room at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning. 100%," Beth Zachary mentioned.

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