It’s been a scrapbook season to remember for Randy “Tojo” Delaney.
The veteran Southeastern High School softball coach not only notched his 400th career win earlier this year, but watched his upstart Trojans gel into the tournament-tough squad he always knew they could be.
“I thought the year had possibilities, but things had to come together from where we were in the beginning,” he said. “We had high hopes of an (Ohio Heritage Conference) championship, but we had problems early at times, especially on defense. It caused some games to get away from us.
“Once we got (league) done and over with, and got a second life in tournament, it’s amazing how this group turned things around.”
No matter that the Trojans dropped a 9-3 decision to Minster in Saturday’s Division IV regional final at Tippecanoe Middle School — getting there was a sweet climb for this late-start club with four seniors.
“For me, personally, I’m going to remember this season as one of the bigger highlights of my coaching years — just how well we did. Especially these seniors and what they’ve accomplished,” said Delaney, whose squad finished 23-6.
Winner of six district championships and nine sectional crowns, Southeastern has gone 79-32 over the past four seasons and claimed a sectional title in three of the last four.
But a six-run third inning from Minster (26-3) kept a regional championship trophy at bay.
The Trojans had two outs in their back pocket and the bases empty before the Minster fireworks started.
“It’s a hard hill to climb any time, but especially coming in a regional final,” Delaney said of the early deficit. “But we did stay after it. We didn’t go quietly. We showed a little pride in ourselves. We put some runs on the board in the end. We could have easily rolled over and been run-ruled, but we fought.”
Junior Savannah Sullivan and freshman Maddy McKee had hot bats all through the post-season. Sullivan went 7 for 10 in the Trojans’ final three games; McKee 6 for 14 over the past four.
Junior Jessica McCombs went 2 for 3 with a two-RBI double in the loss — the third straight game in which she collected two hits.