Family Affair: Sherando’s Seymour following in footsteps of softball sisters

Tori Seymour is the third of three sisters to play for Sherando. The senior has 11 career home runs. Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY – Softball is a family affair for Tori Seymour.

The Sherando senior is the youngest of three sisters to play the sport for the Warriors and on various travel teams.

“I first started playing machine pitch (softball) in first grade,” Seymour said. “That was my first entrance into the game. My dad had played baseball growing up. My sisters had played it. I hadn’t really been into it, but once I started it,  didn’t stop. It just kept going and going and going.”

Seymour’s sisters, Jessica and Katie Seymour, made big impacts on the Warriors’ program during their time there. Tori Seymour said that they were a big influence on her and her game.

“They were good teachers for me,” Tori Seymour said. “They helped with my dad coaching me. And they were just good role models to see how it was supposed to be. I was always watching them play travel ball when I was younger. We went every weekend. I was watching them non-stop. It was my life then even before I even started playing.”

The 5-foot-9 senior said she joined her sisters in playing travel ball when she was in the fourth grade, and then things got hectic for the family.

“There was one point where we all played on different travel teams, traveling all over the place,” Tori Seymour said. “It became very difficult (for the family). Then, as I started getting older, I became the only one playing travel ball. …That’s basically just what my summer is. My summer is just all softball.”

Tori Seymour said her dad is also still a major influence on her game. She said he’s helped her a lot with her swing.

“I’ve always been one of the taller, bigger players,” she said. “So my dad noticed that and we took advantage of it and started working on the mechanics of my swing. And that’s mainly what we work on is swinging. I swing every day in my garage, basically. And we work on it. And if he sees something in a game he tells me. He lets me know right away and we go home and fix it and hopefully it works out.”

Another person who has coached all three Seymour sisters is Sherando softball coach Clarence Smith, who said it will feel strange next season not having a Seymour on the team.

“This is my 13th season and I’ve had a Seymour for 12 of those,” Smith said. “I was really excited about her, because even her own sisters would tell me how Tori was going to be so much better than themselves. That sometimes is hard to live up to when you’ve had a couple of sisters who’ve had very good careers here. Katie is in our record books, Jessie was a collegiate player herself. That’s a lot to be kind of measured up to. But Tori, in my own opinion, has not only stepped up to that but she’s far exceeded it.

“She’s one of the best players that I’ve ever had the privilege to coach. She offers a lot of different skill sets that makes my job a lot easier.”

Tori Seymour was on Sherando’s varsity team as a freshman, but she wasn’t the only one. She said fellow senior Korenn Paige were on the team together and have a special friendship.

“We started playing ball together in first grade, and we’ve just grown together,” Tori Seymour said. “We’ve played on the same travel team until recently, and we still have high school to play on. Next year will be the first year that we’re not playing together. It’s pretty weird, but it’s been a nice bond to have with her and to be able to play with her.”

Last year Tori Seymour hit .375 (30-for-80) for the Warriors with 10 doubles, 23 RBIs and five homers. For her career, she has 11 home runs.

Smith said Tori Seymour is pretty special with the bat in her hand.

“If you’ve ever seen Tori swing the bat, there’s a lot of power in there,” Smith said. “I always make sure when I walk around at practice that I don’t walk into her back-swing, because I don’t think that would be a good thing. With her competitive nature I don’t know if there’s too many pitches that Tori doesn’t like, and with her experience she has a very good recognition of the strike zone. She rarely offers at pitches that are outside of it. But if you make a mistake inside that strike zone her contact to damage ratio, as I like to call it, is pretty high.”

As solid as Tori Seymour is as a hitter, she is also strong defensively. While she typically plays in the infield, Smith said that she has played at just about every position, including once at pitcher.

Tori Seymour said that she enjoys playing defense.

“I love playing in the infield and in the outfield,” she said. “It’s probably one of my favorite parts of the game. It’s so much fun to give your all on a ball, especially on diving plays. It’s like a nice adrenaline rush.”

Tori Seymour’s playing career won’t be ending this season at Sherando. She will be playing at Division II Shepherd University in the fall.

She said that she felt like the school was a great fit for her.

“Everything seems right,” Tori Seymour said. “I love the school, the coach is so nice. And I’m just really excited to see how it goes.”

The Warriors are 0-3 on the season but have played a tough early-season schedule. Tori Seymour said she wants to do the best she can in her final season and help the team win games.

Smith said it’s been great being able to coach her these last four years.

“She’s the kind of kid that comes every day to practice and is ready to work,” Smith said. “I like to say that when everyone is sitting around and being kids that you’ll look up and Tori is still working off of the tees. Any time you have a kid that exhibits that kind of work ethic it really makes the coaches job a lot easier.”