The Seward County Saints run to a Region VI Championship and a berth into the 2009 NJCAA World Series came to an end Wednesday night as they lost for the second time in consecutive nights to the Cowley Tigers. Seward was the winners bracket champions and had to be beaten by the Tigers twice and after holding leads in both games, couldn’t finish the job and finish the 2009 season as Region VI Runners-Up. The Saints finish the season 37-22 and finished the tournament with a 3-2 record.
After upsetting #3 seed Allen County in the tournaments opening round, the Seward County Saints had a new season on their mind and it started with a date against rival Hutchinson in the 2nd round of the 2009 Region VI Championship Tournament. The two teams split during the regular season on the Saints home turf but this was a different Seward County team that the Dragons would tangle with this time. The Saints sent ace Bobby Doran to the hill for their weekend opener against Hutchinson, after the big right hander had already dominated the Blue Dragons in a complete game shutout earlier in the season. However, Hutch would strike first in this one as pitcher Adam Roy singled to lead off the 2nd inning and was later driven in by a 2 out single from catcher Arrow Cunningham to give the Dragons the early 1-0 lead. The Saints had trouble with Roy through the first four innings, failing to collect a hit and finding just 2 runners on base through the first four frames. Trailing 1-0 in the 5th, Seward turned the page getting back to back singles to lead off the inning from Luke Campbell and Quay Grant to put them in business. After a costly error by third baseman Mace Krohl and a sacrifice fly by Jared Broadbent, the Saints had a 2-1 lead halfway home. That lead wouldn’t last long though as a leadoff walk and three hits in the bottom half of the inning by Hutch recaptured the lead for the Dragons and Seward again found themselves in a one run hole at 3-2. Neither team managed a hit through the 6th or 7th innings and the game remained close at 3-2 after 7 innings of play. After a one out triple by Broadbent in the 8th, Hutch brought in their All-Conference closer Kyle Rosine, a decision Head Coach Kyle Crookes would come to regret. The Saints picked up back to back RBI singles from Keegan Morrow and David Cruz to take the 4-3 lead off Rosine and with just six outs left to get, the Saints had visions of moving on in the top part of the Regional bracket. Hutchinson had other ideas however as Trever Adams would lead off with a single and after a sacrifice bunt and a steal of 3rd base, found himself just 90 feet away from tying the game with only one out on the scoreboard. Doran picked up a clutch strikeout of Roy with one out but with two outs in the inning a crucial throwing error by the Saints tied the game at 4 after 8 innings of play. In the 9th Seward would waste no time on reclaiming their lead as three consecutive singles to open the inning and a bases loaded walk would swing the pendulum back in favor of the Saints with a 5-4 lead. With the bases still loaded and nobody out, the Saints looked as if they might blow the game open in the last frame but after three straight weakly hit ground balls on the infield, failed to plate another run and held just a one run advantage heading to the bottom of the 9th. Head Coach Galen McSpadden sent his horse Doran back out to the hill in the final inning but after a one out walk to Hutch’s nine hole batter, the NJCAA Hall of Famer decided it was time to go to his fireman Travis Parker. Parker gave up a hit to the first batter he faced but the runner was cut down at second base trying to advance on a bobble and gave the Saints two outs but a runner just 90 feet away from sending the game to extra innings. It was Parker time however and the Saints sophomore right hander showed why he is the SCCC All-Time saved leader as he threw a devastating two strike slider to Hutch second baseman Luke Acosta for a swing and a miss and sent the Saints on in the winner’s bracket with a 5-4 victory. Doran picked up his 10th win of the year in the victory while Parker nailed down his 11th save and 3rd in the Saints past 3 games. The win meant the Saints would take on the champions of the Jayhawk’s Eastern Division, the Cowley Tigers in round number two Sunday night in Wichita. BOX SCORE
The two top teams in the Jayhawk Conference in recent history had a prime time date set for Sunday night at Lawrence Dumont Stadium in Wichita as the Seward County Saints, winners of two of the last three Jayhawk West titles took on the Cowley Tigers, winners of three straight Jayhawk East titles. A premier pitching matchup between highly touted Stephen Kohlscheen of Cowley and less heralded but equally as talented Corey Collins of Seward was on tap for the 8:00 start. Seward struck first in the 2nd inning as Luke Campbell singled to lead off the inning, stole second base and later came around to score on an RBI single from Kelby Tomlinson to give the Saints a 1-0 lead. After a 2nd zero put up by Collins in the bottom of the 2nd, the Saints hammered out three more runs and successfully knocked Kohlscheen out of the game with a pair of hits and four walks in the top half of the 3rd to take a 4-0 lead. Cowley scored a run in the 4th thanks in part to a leadoff walk and sloppy Saints defense to narrow the lead to 4-1 but Seward got that run right back in the top half of the 5th as an RBI groundout by Quay Grant would reopen the lead to 4 at 5-1. The Saints would push the lead to 6-1 in the 8th as a leadoff double by Keegan Morrow and a bases loaded bean ball of Campbell would plate a run which was more than enough for the Saints pitching staff as Collins pitched into the 9th and Travis Parker came on to get the final out of the game to secure a 6-2 win and send the Saints to the tournament semifinals against Colby. Collins went 8 2/3 innings for the Saints scattering 6 hits and didn’t allow an earned run in the win. BOX SCORE
With renewed confidence on a second season the Saints moved on to take on Colby in the winners bracket semifinals Monday night. In the regular season conference opening weekend the Saints and Trojans split but as the season pushed on the Trojans propelled themselves towards the top of the conference standings while the Saints found themselves in an unusual spot near the middle of the pack in the Jayhawk West. The first four Saints hitters reached base in the 1st inning, plating two runs and giving them the quick 2-0 advantage. Three straight Colby batters would single in the top of the 2nd inning but the Trojans would be able to push just one run across and after a two run shot by Luke Campbell in the Saints half of the 3rd, Seward would lead 4-1. Jared Broadbent would call and raise Campbell’s two run bomb with a light tower two run shot of his own in the 4th to give the Saints a 6-1 lead after 4 innings of play. Just when it looked like everything was going right for the Saints, the 5th inning started and a hit parade for the Trojans started. When the dust settled in the top half of the 5th Colby had 7 runs on 7 hits to take an 8-6 lead. But a touchdown by the Trojans in the 5th wasn’t going to get the Saints down as the first 4 batters of their half of the 5th reached capped by a 2 run single by Quay Grant to tie the score at 8 apiece. To put it lightly hits weren’t at a premium Monday night as Colby responded to the Saints 4 straight hits in the 5th with 4 straight hits of their own in the 6th but were able to push just one run across but nevertheless took a 9-8 lead with that tally. Both teams went in order in their next at bats and the score remained 9-8 going to the Saints half of the 7th. Seward capitalized a pair of hits to open the inning, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly to score a run and tie the game at 9 with two innings remaining in this explosive affair. Kevin Schultz pitched around a leadoff walk in the 8th to put a goose egg on the board for Colby in the top half and kept the game tied at 9 going to the Saints half of the 8th. Keegan Morrow singled to lead off the frame and David Cruz bunted him over to second base on the sacrifice. With Morrow on second, Travis Parker picked an RBI single up the middle to score Morrow and give the Saints a 10-9 lead. After he was caught trying to advance to second on the throw to the plate, Parker made a b-line to the Saints bullpen to get loose to enter the game on the mound in the next half inning and hopefully lock down a win for the Saints and a berth into the championship game. That is just what Parker did as the right-hander pitched around a one out single and got right fielder Drew Ziegler to ground out to third and end the game in an exciting 10-9 win for the Saints to send them on to the Region VI Championship Game slated for Tuesday night. In a game that featured 35 hits, Campbell and Huston combined to go 8 for 10 for the Saints while all but one starter for the Trojans had at least two hits in the game. The win meant that the Saints would move into the Region VI Championship game against the winner of the Colby/Cowley game Wednesday afternoon with the winner of that game having to beat the Saints on both Tuesday and Wednesday night to move on to the World Series. BOX SCORE
Cowley defeated Colby 4-3 with a pair of 8th inning runs Tuesday afternoon to setup the rematch with the Saints in Championship Game #1 Tuesday night. Those looking for the well pitched, well played game they saw between the two Sunday night would need to look the other way as this one could not have been more night and day between the first matchup with the Saints and Tigers. Cowley would get a 1st inning home run off the bat of BJ Misialek but Seward would quickly get that run back with an RBI single from Mikel Huston in their half of the 1st to tie the game at 1 all. RBI singles from David Cruz and Huston in the 2nd would give the Saints a 3-1 lead but left the bases loaded as the inning ended, something that would come back to haunt them later on. Cowley evened the score at 3 in the 3rd without the benefit of a hit as 3 walks and an error led to a pair of Tiger runs in the frame. In the bottom of the 3rd Keegan Morrow picked up a 2 out RBI double to score Quay Grant and put the ball back in the Saints court as they led 4-3 after a third of the ballgame was complete. Jared Wagner gave the Saints a scoreless 4th inning and Seward took advantage in the bottom half scoring 5 runs on just 3 hits, benefited by poor Cowley defense to take a 9-3 lead after 4. With glimpses of Grand Junction in sight, the Saints bullpen imploded in the next three innings. In the 5th, Saints pitching loaded the bases and scored a run for Cowley without the Tigers even having to take a bat to the plate as a pair of hit by pitches and a matching pair of walks gave Cowley a run and kept the bases loaded with nobody out. That’s when Cowley saw light at the end of the tunnel and like a shark in bloody waters, took advantage as third baseman Frank Specht launched a 2-2 Avram Carlson pitch out of the park for a grand slam and pull the Tigers to within one at 9-8. A shell shocked Saints team went in order in the bottom of the 5th and Cowley scored another run in the 6th inning to tie the game at 9. For the second straight inning the Saints went down 1-2-3 in the 6th against Cowley closer Trevor Rosenthal and pumped full of adrenalin, Cowley shredded Saints pitching in the 7th for 6 consecutive runs to start off the inning as they capped off 12 unanswered runs to take a 15-9 lead. Again the Saints went without a fight in the bottom of the 7th against Rosenthal but Saints reliever Austin Terhune was able to quiet the storm in the top of the 8th with a zero to keep the game within distance in this shootout at 15-9. Seward clawed back into the game with three consecutive hits and runs in the bottom of the 8th to make it 15-12 but again left the bases loaded to end the inning and put themselves behind the 8 ball going to the 9th. Terhune again gave the Saints a quality inning of relief in the 9th to keep the deficit where it was but Seward was unable to put across a run in the bottom of the inning as back to back fly outs ended the game and brought the “if” game into effect Wednesday night. In the game there were 27 runs scored, 31 hits, 13 walks, 5 bean balls, and 10 errors. The Tigers left 10 runners on base while the Saints left 13 men stranded including 9 runners in scoring position to end innings. The Cowley win meant that the two teams would play again Wednesday night with everything on the line as the loss was just the first for the Saints in the tournament. BOX SCORE
Even with the game one loss behind them, the Seward County Saints felt like they had their ducks in a row against Cowley in game two of the Championship round. Seward had both their aces ready to go in Bobby Doran and Corey Collins as well as a rested closer in Travis Parker who had thrown just 2 innings in the tournament. Cowley on the other hand was seemingly out of pitching besides Stephen Kohlscheen who had an abbreviated start against the Saints just two days before and was touched for 4 runs and 5 hits in those 2 1/3 innings of work Sunday. Both Kohlscheen and Doran worked out of jams in the 1st as Seward 2 runners on and Cowley left the bases full after a 2 out strikeout by the Saints ace. After another scoreless frame in the 2nd by both clubs, back to back hits from Jared Broadbent and Keegan Morrow gave the Saints a 1-0 lead after 3 innings of play. With the score 1-0 in the bottom of the 4th, the Cowley bats came alive for a 6 run inning by putting together 6 hits on top of a walk and a 2 out error to give them a 6-1 lead. The Saints managed just one base runner through the 5th and 6th innings against Kohlscheen but a 1-2-3 inning by Doran in the 5th and Collins escaping a runner on third, no out situation for the Saints in the 6th out of the bullpen kept the game at 6-1 with 3 innings left to play. Morrow and Broadbent were again in the middle of the Saints scoring in the 7th as Broadbent singled home Kelby Tomlinson with one out and later moved to third on a double by Morrow then scored on a groundout by David Cruz to cut the lead to 6-3. Collins would induce double play balls to end the 7th and 8th innings to give Seward a chance in the 9th down 6-3. The Saints brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the 9th but a tailor made double play ball would end the game and dash the hopes of the Saints who had come so far in the last week only to finish second to the victorious Tigers. The loss for the Saints ended their season at 37-22 and places them 2nd in the Region VI Tournament. BOX SCORE
Exactly one month ago to the day, the Seward County Lady Saints Softball Team was sitting in 4th place out of 5 in the Jayhawk West Conference with a 4-4 record. Two weeks after that they finished an 8-0 run to become champions of that Jayhawk West Conference. A week after that they won their 9th, 10th, and 11th straight games to become Region 6 Tournament Champions and advance to the NJCAA National Tournament. Two weeks after that clincher, the Lady Saints finished their season as the #7 team in all of the country after a 2-2 showing at the National Tournament in St. George, Utah.
Seward’s quest for a National Championship started Thursday where they opened the tournament with defending National Champions Wallace State-Hanceville. The 2nd seeded Lady Lions took a quick 1-0 lead on the 15th seeded Lady Saints with a one out double in the bottom half of the 1st inning. Seward shook off their early jitters and tied the game up in the next half inning as Brianna Baron doubled with one out off the center field fence and was driven in by a single by Shelby Casey to tie the game at 1. Neither team could muster any offense against each other’s pitching in the middle innings of the game and the game remained tied at 1 after 6 innings of play. In the 7th, Baron laced another one out double but was stranded on 3rd base as the third out was recorded to retire the side. In the bottom half of the inning Wallace State leadoff hitter Sallie Van Kirk led off with a single and stood at second base after Lady Saints starter Courtney Auger induced a pair of ground balls to record two outs. With two outs and the game tied at 1, Wallace 1st Baseman and All-American candidate Stephanie Needham blasted her 20th double of the season off the left field fence to score Van Kirk and give the Lady Lions a 2-1 win over the upset minded Lady Saints. The Lady Saints loss dropped them to the losers bracket in the tournament and forced them to play at 6:00 that same evening in an elimination game against the Motlow State Lady Bucks from Tennessee.
The nightcap of the Lady Saints double header was a must win for Coach Andrea Gustafson and company as a loss would eliminate them from the tournament and send them home on the first day of their first ever National Tournament. Seward took an early lead on the team from Lynchburg, Tennessee with RBI singles from Jill Rodgers and Shelby Casey in the bottom of the first. However, after a scoreless 2nd inning, Motlow State would tie the game via a 2 run home run from catcher Kayla Cole to knot the game at 2 a piece. The game wouldn’t stay tied for long as Katie Glenn singled to lead off the Seward half of the 3rd inning and promptly stole second to set up an RBI single from Brianna Baron to put the Lady Saints up 3-2. Motlow would threaten to take the lead for the first time in the 5th inning as 2nd Baseman Missy Roberts’ RBI single tied the game at 3 and a walk to Amy Buwalda following that would load the bases with two outs. In her 12th inning of work in just a couple of hours, Courtney Auger came up with possibly her biggest strikeout of the tournament, fanning Nicole Johnson with the sacks full to end the threat in the Lady Bucks half of the 5th. The renewed energy sparked an offensive attack from the Lady Saints in the bottom of the 5th as a 1 out double by Marisa Coats was followed by a 2 out home run by Baron to give Seward the lead at 5-3. Auger would allow just one base runner in her final two innings of work to eliminate the Lady Bucks and push the Lady Saints one game further in the tournament.
The win moved the Lady Saints past the first round of eliminations and into the nation’s top 12 after one day of play at the tournament. On Friday, they would match up with the Odessa Wranglers, the Region 5A champions from Texas who was also 1-1 in the tournament. The Wranglers put together back to back hits in the top of the 1st to score a run and take an early 1-0 lead. With their tournament lives on the line, the Lady Saints scrapped back in their half of the inning to score 2 runs with the big blow coming off of the bat of Jill Rodgers who lined a double over the center fielders head to score a pair of runs and take the lead 2-1. After the 1st inning of play it looked as if a barn burner was going to be on hand but that could be further from the truth as neither team could score in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th and a 2 out single by Odessa in the 5th tied the game at 2. Seward would leave Alicia Reyes and Katie Glenn on base in both the 5th and 7th innings and the fans at the Canyons Complex in St. George got to watch free softball as the game was deadlocked at 2 after the regulation 7 innings. Odessa threatened in both the 8th and 9th innings but Courtney Auger was able to divert the threat in the circle for Seward to keep the game tied at 2-2 after 9 innings of play. Both teams went in order in the 10th inning and left a runner on second in the 11th inning and the longest game of the tournament reached the 12th inning. Odessa coaxed a leadoff walk in the top half of the 12th but wasn’t able to move the runner any further than first base and the zero gave the Lady Saints a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 12th frame. After a quick strikeout and groundout to second, the game looked like it would see another inning as Lady Saints speedster Katie Glenn stepped up to the plate. Although Glenn was 3 for 4 in the game, she had reached base thanks to her legs as none of her three hits traveled past the pitchers circle, so what happened next could not have been more unpredictable. In almost slow motion it seemed, Glenn took her slap approach to the first pitch she saw but instead of bunting the ball onto the ground, the little lefty swung and surprised the Wrangler defense by hitting the ball over the head of the drawn in right fielder. That is when the excitement started. Glenn rapidly raced around first and then second before the outfield was able to corral the ball now setting on the right center field fence. As the throw approached the cutoff man just beyond the infield dirt Glenn approached third base and Coach Andrea Gustafson wasn’t putting the brakes on the fleet footed Canuck then as she waved her around third to set up an unforgettable play at the plate. As the catcher waited for the ball Glenn didn’t lose any steam as she dove into home plate head first touching the plate just as the Odessa catcher received the ball and put the tag on her hip to reach home safely and win the game for the Lady Saints. The moment for those that were there will be as memorable as Bobby Thompson’s “shot heard round the world” or Michael Jordan’s free-throw line jumper over Craig Ehlo in the 1989 playoffs. Possibly the single greatest moment in Seward County Lady Saints history sent them on to the final 8 in the National Tournament and a date with Florida Community College-Jacksonville.
With not so much as a minute to catch their breath, the Lady Saints were set to take on the Lady Stars from Florida CC-Jacksonville in an elite 8 elimination game directly following their emotional win over Odessa just minutes before. Seward scored the first run of the game in the 2nd inning as Shelby Casey doubled with one out, advanced to third on a wild pitch and was driven in by a sacrifice fly to left field off the bat of Brittany Kent. The Lady Saints would jump out to a 4-0 lead in the 3rd inning as Katie Glenn wasn’t done staring for the weekend and singled to drive in Jamie Gilbert from second base and Casey then drove her and Marisa Coats in with a two out 2 RBI single. Lady Saints starting pitcher Erin Roufosse gave up her first run of the game in the 4th after a 2 out error allowed FCC-Jax to climb to within 3 at 4-1. Roufosse settled in and set down the Lady Stars in order in the 5th and 6th and the Lady Saints looked primed to collect another victory in the tournament as they led by that 4-1 score going into the last inning of play. With two outs and the bases loaded, FCC pitcher Chrystal Chesser singled up the middle to score a pair of runs and an errant throw from center field allowed runners to move up to 2nd and 3rd with those two outs. Still with the 4-3 lead, the Lady Saints needed just an out to advance to the final six of the tournament. But, as a two out ground ball took a bad hop, both Lady Stars base runners came around to score and the Lady Saints now found themselves down for the first time in the game at 5-4. With the wind out of their sails, the Lady Saints went in order in the bottom of the 7th therefore ending their 2009 season but not before they reached the 7th place plateau in the nation with their showing in the tournament.
The Lady Saints finish the season with a 40-16 overall record and a 2-2 record in the NJCAA National Championship Tournament, good for that 7th place finish. With 40 wins, a Jayhawk West Conference Championship, a Region VI Tournament Championship, and their 7th place finish at the school’s first National Tournament, this year’s Lady Saints team will undoubtedly go down as one of the finest in school history. Seward will return seven full time starters from this National Tournament team and will strive to achieve even higher in the 2010 campaign. For a photo gallery of the Lady Saints 2009 National Tournament run CLICK HERE.
Five Seward County Saints Baseball players were named to the KJCCC Western Division All-Conference team as announced by commissioner Bryce Roderick. Travis Parker, Mikel Huston, and Bobby Doran were all named 1st Team All-Conference while Corey Collins and Luke Campbell were named to the Honorable Mention All-Conference squad. Parker was a 1st Team pick at 3rd base for the Saints hitting .371 with 16 doubles, 9 home runs, and 54 RBI’s. Parker was also worthy on the mound for the Saints saving an all-time school record 12 games while posting a 1.85 ERA on the year. Huston followed up a solid freshman season in 2008 where he was named Honorable Mention All-Conference with an even better sophomore campaign this season where he was named a 1st Team All-Conference pick in the outfield. Huston led the Saints in hitting at .417, as well as hits (85), and runs scored (53). The Saints workhorse Bobby Doran was named 1st Team All-Conference on the mound for the guys in green as the 6’6 righty logged 92 1/3 innings, posting a 10-3 record and a 2.58 ERA. The sophomore allowed just 1 home run on the season while striking out 81 batters and walking just 24. Campbell was the lone Saints freshman to make the list as he batted .362 with a team high 11 home runs and 58 RBI’s en route to being named Honorable Mention All-Conference. Collins posted nearly identical numbers to Doran but was named to the Honorable Mention All-Conference list as he finished the year 9-3 with a 2.59 ERA in 75 2/3 innings pitched for the Saints. The Saints have now had 14 players named All-Conference in the last two seasons, more than any other school in the Jayhawk West Conference.
Two Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball players signed their NCAA Letters of Intent last week to compete at Division 1 Universities next season. Jelena Simic, arguably one of the best players in school history signed to play at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, Florida this fall. Simic is the All-Time kills leader at Seward County and is the first player to ever record 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in her career. She was the Region 6 Most Valuable Player this season and will look to follow in fellow Serbian and friend Ana Kokanovic’s footsteps as the Atlantic Sun player of the year for the Eagles. Ami Wang will play for Hampton University next season after signing her national letter of intent to play for the Pirates Wednesday. Wang will join a Pirates team who fell in the quarterfinals of the MEAC tournament last season. Wang led the Lady Saints in hitting percentage in 2008 making just 6 errors in 80 attacks. With Simic and Wang moving on, the rest of the Lady Saints are closing in on just 3 months until the start of the 2009 volleyball season.
The final three unsigned Seward County Lady Saints Basketball Players inked their national letters of intent last week and will continue their athletic careers at four year universities. Reagan Broadie signed first and will attend Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska. She averaged 4.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game for the Lady Saints this season and led the team in free-throw shooting at 71.4%. Head Coach Toby Wynn described Reagan as a “very versatile player.” “She has the chance to go in there and play a lot of minutes and become an All-Conference type player for them” he continued. Vannessa Simmons was the next Lady Saints hoopster to sign as she put her John Hancock on the paperwork of South Alabama University. She will join a Jaguars team who won 21 games a year ago and that plays in the Sun Belt Conference. Simmons averaged 8.3 points and 5.9 rebounds for the Lady Saints last season. “Vannessa is a very talented player that can do a lot of different things for a team” coach Wynn said. He went on to say “she has the abilities to go into a school like South Alabama and make an immediate impact for a good division 1 team.” Karen Brown was the final Lady Saints Basketball player of 2008-2009 to sign. The sophomore from Republic decided to go a different route than her other teammates as she will take her athletic abilities to Montana State University where she will compete in track and field for the Bobcats. She was a four time state qualifier while at Republic County High School and will throw the javelin for MSU.

Amanda Pierson- University of Arizona
LaNell Taylor- University of Texas-Arlington
Raegan Broadie- Concordia University
Vannessa Simmons- University of South Alabama
Karen Brown- Montana State University
Bailey Crandall- Newman University
The Seward County Lady Saints Softball Team punched their ticket for the 2009 NJCAA National Tournament Monday night with a win in the Region VI Championship game against Garden City. The Lady Saints clinched their berth to the title game Saturday night but had to wait until Monday night and a change of venue later to finish their quest.
Seward drew Garden City who won in extra innings in the semifinal game to reach their date with the Lady Saints. After a 1-2-3 inning from newly announced 2 time Jayhawk West Conference Most Valuable Player Courtney Auger, the Lady Saints jumped on the board first in their first trip to the plate. Alicia Reyes reached base on an error to leadoff the game and after a sacrifice bunt from Brianna Baron was driven in by Marisa Coats who launched her first triple of the season to the right field fence to give the Lady Saints a 1-0 lead. The middle innings of the game went by swiftly and without much action as each team was able to muster just one total baserunner through the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings combined and the game sat at 1-0 going into the 6th inning of play. The Lady Busters then scored for the first time in their past 17 innings off of Auger with a 2 out RBI single to tie the game at 1. The Lady Saints wouldn’t keep it tied for long as their bats came alive in the bottom half of the 6th inning as they racked up 4 runs, capped off by bases loaded RBI single from Shelby Casey to plate a pair of runs and extend their lead to 5-1. Garden City was not ready to go down without a fight however and after a pair of singles and a hit batter to lead off the inning, had the tying run at the plate with nobody out in the 7th. Left fielder Alex Wall squeezed a ball past Baron at third base but Reyes was able to dive to make the play and remarkably throw the runner out at third base for the force out. A run scored on the play to make it 5-2 Seward but that is all they would get as Auger tightened up her cleats and struck out the final two batters of the game to preserve the win and send the Lady Saints to the National Tournament for the first time in school history.
The win took the Lady Saints to 38-14 on the season and extends their season long win streak to 11 games. Their next stop will be St. George, Utah for the NJCAA National Tournament where they look to improve on arguably the best season in school history. Seward will likely leave Monday for the 1000 mile journey where they will practice Wednesday morning and partake in a welcoming banquet Wednesday evening before starting play at either 11:00 or 2:00 on Thursday. Depending on their first round outcome, they will then play at 6:00 or 8:00 Thursday night following opening ceremonies of the 2009 National Championships.
Just hours after winning following up their 2009 Jayhawk West Conference Championship with a win of the 2009 Region VI Championship, 5 Seward County Lady Saint Softball players were named both 1st Team All-Conference as well as 1st Team All-Region for their performances throughout the season. Adding another accolade to her file, sophomore pitcher Courtney Auger was named the conference’s Most Valuable Player for the 2nd straight season. Also, for the 3rd time in 7 seasons, Lady Saints Head Coach Andrea Gustafson was named the Jayhawk West Conference Coach of the Year.
Auger led the list of Lady Saints making the teams as she followed up her 2008 Jayhawk West Freshman of the Year and MVP season with a sophomore campaign equally as good receiving the MVP award for a second straight season. The sophomore pitcher from Edmonton, Alberta has recorded a 23-5 record with a 1.46 ERA thus far to go along with her 243 strikeouts in 167 innings pitched. As well as being named MVP in consecutive seasons, Auger was again named 1st Team All-Conference as well as 1st Team All-Region. Marisa Coats was named 1st Team All-Conference and All-Region for her work behind the plate for the Lady Saints this season as the freshman from Riverside, California has compiled a team high .452 batting average to go along with 18 doubles, 6 home runs, and 62 RBI’s. Alicia Reyes tied down 1st Team All-Conference and 1st Team All-Region honors at shortstop for Seward after batting .415 as a freshman while knocking in 40 runs and stealing 13 bases in the leadoff spot for the Lady Saints. Reyes, a freshman also from Riverside, California, has started all 52 games at shortstop for Seward County and has a team high 188 at bats for the Lady Saints. Katie Glenn finds her way into postseason honors for the second straight season as the sophomore lefthander from Maple Ridge, British Columbia follows up a 2nd Team All-Conference performance as a freshman last season with a 1st Team All-Conference and All-Region nod this season. Glenn has been a staple in the Lady Saints success batting .384 and scoring 43 runs for the gals in green while swiping an amazing 22 bases in 22 chances on the season. Brittany Kent was the 5th Lady Saint to receive regional recognition for her solid freshman season as the center fielder from Carlsbad, New Mexico was tabbed 1st Team All-Conference as well as 1st Team All-Region performer after batting .420 in conference play for Seward and knocking in 22 runs including 4 home runs on the season. Andrea Gustafson was named the conferences Coach of the Year Monday after leading Seward to a .730 winning percentage this season including 11 straight wins to this point and winning both Jayhawk West Conference and Region VI Championships in the last two weeks. This is the third time that Gustafson has won this award in her 7 years at the helm for the Lady Saints.
The Lady Saints will take their awards with them as they head to the National Tournament next week in St. George, Utah with a chance for a National Championship on the line. Action from the desert will begin Thursday where they will play either an 11:00 or 2:00 game before playing again that night at either 6:00 or 8:00.
The SCCC Women’s Tennis team didn’t fare nearly as well Monday as they did Sunday at the 2009 NJCAA National Tournament in Tucson. Fabiola Wisnesky was the only Lady Saint to win a singles match while her and partner Valerie Stevens were the only tandem to win in doubles play. Wisnesky won her singles match in the consolation bracket against Elgin CC 8-6 in the #1 singles division while Juliana Boas fell in the sweet 16 round of the #2 singles bracket to 7th ranked St. Petersburg 6-2, 6-2 to end her National Championship hopes. Alyssa Larson and Antigone Lowery also fell in the tournaments 2nd round in their respective singles brackets as Larson fell 6-1, 6-2 to 5th seeded Jacksonville while Lowery ran up against a tough draw in 2nd seeded Collin and lost 6-2, 6-2. Sylvia Perez’s tournament came to an end with a consolation bracket loss to IMM 8-4 and her day didn’t get much better as her and Lowery came up on the short end of a tough 6-3, 6-3 loss in doubles play to Eastern Arizona in the tournament’s first round. Stevens and Wisnesky were the only of the three SCCC doubles teams to advance to the round of 16 as they defeated Hagerstown 6-3, 6-0 while Larson and Boas fell 6-0, 6-0 to Arkansas in the round of 32. The Lady Saints now sit in 20th place with 8.5 points in the tournament.
The Seward County Lady Saints Tennis Team faired quite well on day 1 of their 2009 NJCAA National Tournament in Tucson, Arizona. After one day of play Seward sits in a tie for 10th, but just 2 points out of 5th place in the tournament. Fabiola Wisnesky faced a tough draw in round one, squaring off with the 5th ranked player in the country from Meridan CC. She lost that match 6-0, 6-2 but will still compete in the consolation round of the tournament. Juliana Boas moved onto the round of 16 by defeating a player from Sauk Valley CC in straight sets 6-0, 6-0. Valerie Stevens fell in one of the best matches of the day 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 against St. Petersburg College while the Lady Saints picked up points in both the #4 and #5 singles matches with wins from Alyssa Larson and Antigone Lowery. Larson lost her first set 6-4 before coming back to take the 2nd set 7-5 and then really turned it on in the 3rd and deciding set, winning 6-0 against Lewis and Clark CC. Lowery continued her solid play and followed up her Region VI Tournament Championship with a win in the first round of the National Tournament 6-0, 6-4 against Marion Military Institute. Sylvia Perez lost 6-0, 6-0 against Eastern Arizona in the #6 singles bracket but will continue her road in the consolation bracket later. Check for updates throughout the week.
The Seward County Lady Saints Softball Team continued their march to the Region VI Title Saturday as they defeated Colby in the 2nd round of the Region VI Tournament and then Garden City in the Semifinals. The Lady Saints will now play in the Championship Game with a National Tournament bid on the line tonight at 6:00 in Pratt.
After receiving a first round bye thanks to their #1 seed in the tournament, the Lady Saints were opposed by Colby in the 2nd round after the Lady Trojans upset Barton County earlier in the day Saturday in Wichita. Neither team was able to score in the first two innings as Seward starter Erin Roufosse pitched out of a couple jams and Colby starter Marissa Elsberry kept the Lady Saints bats off balance. In the 3rd inning, Cara Russell led off with a single for Seward and eventually came in on an error by Colby third baseman Kali Brester to give the Lady Saints a 1-0 lead. Seward threatened to put a crooked number up in the frame but a bases loaded groundout thwarted the rally and a 1-0 advantage is what the Lady Saints took into the 4th inning of play. Colby managed a run of their own in the top of the 4th after a leadoff single and a misplayed groundball led to the Lady Trojans first run of the day to tie the game at 1. The Lady Saints weren’t able to take advantage of a pair of Colby walks in the bottom half of the 4th and left the pair stranded to end the inning. Courtney Auger came into the game in relief of Roufosse in the 5th and mowed the Lady Trojan hitters down in order her first two innings. In the bottom of the 6th with the game still tied at 1, Brianna Baron singled to lead off the inning, followed by back to back doubles from Brittany Kent and Russell to put the Lady Saints on top 3-1. The NJCAA National Pitcher of the Week Auger did the rest as she quickly disposed of the Colby lineup in the 7th to secure the 3-1 win for Seward. The win sent the Lady Saints onto the Semifinal game in which they would take on the winner of the Garden City/Butler matchup on the adjacent field.
The Lady Saints took on Garden City in game two of their 2009 Region VI Tournament with a trip to the Championship Game on the line. Garden, coming fresh off a 7th inning come from behind win against Butler in their first game had visions of back to back upset victories on their mind but Courtney Auger and the Lady Saints would quickly put those thoughts to rest. After a swift 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 1st for Garden, Seward jumped on the board in the bottom half as three straight 2 out hits would plate Marisa Coats after doubling to give the Lady Saints the 1-0 advantage. In the 2nd, the Lady Saints struck again as Brittany Kent blasted the first pitch she saw over the right center field fence to give Seward a 2-0 lead looking for more. Cara Russell walked behind Kent’s blast and later came around to score on a 2 out single from Alicia Reyes to make it 3-0 Lady Saints after 2. Auger punched out the side in the top half of the 3rd and a pair of Garden City errors to open up the inning ended up turning into 3 Seward County runs to put the Lady Saints on top 6-0. As usual, Auger would need no more as she cruised into the top of the 7th inning with a no-hitter, allowing just 2 Garden hitters to reach base in the first 6 frames. A leadoff single would quickly douse those hopes, but it didn’t seem to faze the reining Jayhawk West Player of the Year Auger as she struck out to of the last three Lady Buster hitters she would see to finish up her 19th complete game of the year in the 6-0 shutout win to send Seward to the title game.
Now follow this closely if you care to find out who the Lady Saints will be taking on in the title game Monday night in Pratt. Colby and Barton County will play the first game of the day with the winner of that game moving on to take on Garden City. The winner of the Garden City vs. Colby/Barton game will then advance to the title game to take on the Lady Saints. IF Seward happened to lose the first championship game, there would be another game at 8:00 between the Lady Saints and that team again with the winner of that game going to the National Tournament. If Seward can win their 6:00 championship game they can go ahead and pack their bags for the Big Dance in St. George which starts May 14th. For up to date scores of tonight’s game check