Seward County sophomore catcher Marisa Coats has been named the NJCAA National Player of the Week after a week in which she hit .667 including five home runs and 12 RBI’s. On March 15, in a double-header against El Paso CC the sophomore went a combined 5-for-8 with three runs, one double, two home runs and seven RBI's. It was in the second game that Coats hit not one, but two home runs. On March 19, the sophomore bounced back against Glendale CC by going 3-for-3 with two runs, one home run and one RBI. In the third game of the day in a 6-3 loss to Eastern Arizona, she went 2-for-3 with two runs, three RBI's, one stolen base and had another multi-homer game by rocking two out of the park. Her batting average for the week was .667 (12-18), and she had a total of seven runs, one double, five home runs, 12 RBI's, two walks and one stolen base. Coats will take her hot bat to North Platte and Colby this weekend as the Lady Saints look to knock of the Knights Friday and the Lady Trojans on Saturday.
It was one of those make or break times for a team during a season as the Seward County Saints headed back into Jayhawk West Conference play Monday and Tuesday in a weather delayed series against Barton at Brent Gould Field. The Saints went into the series losers of 5 straight games, a stretch in which they were outscored 56-13 before they returned back home to take on the Cougars. Apparently they decided it was time to flip the switch however, as they came out and took it to their opponents from Great Bend, sweeping the 4 game series and moving to 11-1 in conference play on the season.
Game one of the series featured two of the top pitchers in the Jayhawk Conference going head to head as Cameron Maldonado took the hill for the Saints and Levi Schlick opposed him for the Cougars. Barton struck first in the 2nd inning as Nathan Miller singled home Lance Woltemath with two outs to make it 1-0 Cougars. The Saints would answer in the bottom of the frame as RBI knocks from Todd Glime and Daniel Bruce would put the Saints on top 2-1. Barton evened the score in the 3rd as Hugo Hernandez came around to score after a one out double to knot the game back up at 2 apiece. Seward would strand a pair on their half of the 3rd inning but would get 2 more runs in the 4th by taking advantage of sloppy Barton defense that allowed the Saints to go back on top 4-2. The Cougars wouldn’t go away however as three consecutive hits by Barton would result in a run to cut their deficit in half and make the score 4-3. A leadoff error by third baseman Ryan Busboom would help Seward start a rally in the bottom half of the 6th inning as they would tack on a trio of insurance runs on an RBI single from Quay Grant and a 2 RBI double from Luke Campbell to make it 7-3. Thank goodness they did pick up those insurance tallies in the 6th as Barton would not go quietly in their last at bats, scoring two 7th inning runs to cut the lead to 7-5 and eventually bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Michael Edlefson before he popped out to end the game giving the Saints the win in the opener by the count of 7-5. Maldonado went 6 strong innings for Seward in the win, allowing just 3 runs while striking out 5, while picking up his 3rd straight conference win to open up the Jayhawk West slate. Campbell finished 2 for 2 in the game with 2 RBI’s and found himself aboard all 4 trips to the plate thanks to a pair of walks to go with his 2 hits. Glime went 1 for 3 in the game but reached base safely 3 times, scoring each time to give the Saints a lift at the bottom of the lineup.

After game one, fans of offense got much more of a show in game two of the series. Barton would come out of the gates swinging, scoring 3 1st inning runs on RBI knocks from Ryan Busboom and Levi Schlick to put the Cougars up 3-0 before Seward could even pine tar their bats. The Saints would strike back in the bottom half as Kelby Tomlinson and Quay Grant would find their way aboard to open up the inning and a wild pitch and a groundout later, the Saints would trail by just one at 3-2. Nathan Miller would lead off the 2nd inning with a double and would later come around to score for Barton to push them out in front 4-2 but the Saints were ready for an offensive explosion in the bottom of the inning and that is just what they did, scoring 6 runs to take an 8-4 advantage. Daniel Bruce would pick up 2 hits in the inning including an RBI double and Josh Dawson, Luke Campbell, and Tomlinson would all pick up RBI knocks in the frame which included 5 hits and 3 walks to lead to the 6 Seward County runs. The Cougars would turn 4 hits into a run in the 3rd and the Saints would leave a pair in their half of the inning and the score was 6-3 after 3 innings of play. A leadoff double by Kevin Domzralski would be followed by a 2 run home run by catcher Todd Glime that would put the Saints out in front with a comfortable 10-5 lead. Barton would get 2 runs in the 6th and another pair in the 7th but Seward would answer with runs of their own in both frames and the score was 13-9 after 7 complete innings of play. The scoreboard would not be used again as Tyler Hill came on in relief of Michael Alger in the 7th and would close the game out for Seward, allowing just 1 Barton hit in his 2 1/3 innings of work while picking up his 1st career save in a Saints uniform. In the end, the game featured 32 hits including 17 from Barton and 15 from the Saints. Seward was led offensively by Tomlinson, Grant, and Bruce who all finished the game with 3 hits as well as Dawson who knocked in 3 runs and Campbell and Glime who knocked in a pair each. Seward reliever Michael Alger picked up the win out of the bullpen going 4 1/3 innings allowing 4 runs and 8 hits through the middle innings while Barton starter Landon Fall was tagged with the loss after lasting just 2 innings, giving up 8 hits and 8 runs while walking 5 and striking out just 1.

A day/night double header was in the mix for the Saints and Cougars on day two and Seward started it off well right away by scoring 2 1st inning runs on RBI’s from Luke Campbell and Jordan Dallalio to put the home team up 2-0 after 1. Saints starter Hayden Holub would keep the Cougars off balance early, putting up 0’s on the board through the 4th to allow Seward to tack onto their lead in the bottom half of the inning as Chase Whitney singled home Daniel Bruce to make it 3-0 in favor of the Saints. Seward would score 3 more times in the 5th inning as Josh Dawson would single home Campbell and Kevin Domzralski would single him home and load the bases followed by a walk to Whitney to force home a run and put the Saints up 6-0 after 5 innings of play. That was the score as the teams went to the 7th and final inning and Seward sent Holub back out to the mound trying to complete the shutout for the Saints. After a single and walk to lead off the inning, the Saints right hander was pulled in favor of Paul Pulley and Barton would be able to come away with 3 late runs which weren’t nearly enough as Seward went on to take game three 6-3. Holub’s control could only be described as effectively wild in the win as the sophomore Texas Tech signee went 6+ innings allowing just 3 hits while walking 4, hitting 4, and throwing 3 wild pitches. On the positive side, the Saints fireballer allowed just 3 hits and 1 run while striking out a career high 9 in the win. At the plate, the Saints had solid games from Campbell and Dallalio who finished with 2 hits apiece and Whitney who ended the contest 1 for 2 with 2 RBI’s.

On to game four it was for the two teams as the Saints looked to complete their 2nd Jayhawk West Conference sweep of the season and the Cougars looked to salvage just one win after being on the road for 14 hours in two days after driving back and forth to Great Bend between the two double headers Monday and Tuesday. The Saints would again bring their big boy bats in game two of the double header as they strung together 5 straight hits in the 2nd inning with RBI knocks from Todd Glime and Chase Whitney and a bases loaded beanball of Quay Grant to put themselves up 3-0 after two under the lights. Barton would get their leadoff men on in the 3rd and 4th innings and would cash both of those runners in to cut their deficit to 3-2 but Seward would get back to scoring in the bottom half of the 4th thanks in big part to a 2 RBI gap shot double from Jordan Dallalio to push their lead out to 6-2 after 4. The Cougars would score for the third straight inning in the top of the 5th but Saints starter Jose Gonzalez would limit them to just the one unearned run as he kept his team in front 6-3 after striking out Levi Schlick on a beautiful slider to end the Barton threat in the 5th. Neither team could scratch out a run through the middle innings as night began to fall and the score remained 6-3 in favor of Seward as the teams went to the bottom of the 8th inning. A two out error by third baseman Ryan Busboom would extend the inning and the Saints would make it hurt as Grant looped an RBI single into center to give Seward a 7-3 lead and a little bit more breathing room going to the 9th. With two out and nobody on Barton would stage a mini rally against Saints fireman Tyler Hill but they would only get as close as to having the tying run on deck as Hill would induce a groundout to end the threat and give the Saints the 7-4 win and the four game sweep. Gonzalez went 7 strong innings for Seward allowing just 2 earned runs while striking out 6 Barton hitters to pick up his 2nd Jayhawk West win of the season while Hill stepped into the closers role for the second straight day and picked up his 2nd save of the series by going 2 innings and allowing just 1 hit and 1 run. All but one Saints starter had a hit in the contest including 2 hits apiece from Kelby Tomlinson, Quay Grant, Josh Dawson, and Todd Glime. Grant drove in 3 runs on the day while Dalallio knocked in a pair with his RBI double in the 4th.

The Saints now sit atop the Jayhawk West Conference with an 11-1 mark and bring themselves back above .500 overall on the season at 15-14. Their next action will come Saturday and Sunday when they will travel to Dodge City to take on an upstart Conqs team who has already picked up 5 Jayhawk West wins after winning just 9 games in the conference all of last season.
With the release of the latest NJCAA National Top 20 softball poll, the Seward County Lady Saints find themselves in uncharted territory. The Lady Saints jumped up 7 spots to #9 in today’s poll, to reach the highest position in the polls in school history. The Lady Saints had previously been ranked #11 during the 2006-07 season but were never able to crack the top 10. Seward is 10-3 in the past two weeks with losses coming only to a top 20 ranked Odessa team and tough defeats at the hands of Region 1 powers Central Arizona and Eastern Arizona. The Lady Saints double header against Butler was postponed today so they will hit the diamond again on the road Friday against North Platte and then return to Jayhawk West play against upstart 4-0 Colby on Saturday.
The Seward County Lady Saints came back from their 2010 Spring Break Trip with 6 more wins to add to their collection and a lot nicer tans after being in Southern Texas and Arizona for 6 days. Seward’s trip started with a double dip with 16th ranked Odessa in El Paso, in a rematch of their epic NJCAA National Tournament game last spring. After a 3-2 12 inning affair in that one, nobody should have expected anything different in this one and they didn’t get much else as just two runs would be scored in the contest.

Anyone looking for offense needed to check a different field on this day as the Lady Saints and Lady Wranglers dueled in El Paso. Through the first 5 innings of the game Seward managed just 2 base runners while Odessa didn’t muster much more, getting just 3 runners on. None of those 5 runners would score and therefore the game would remain scoreless going into the 6th inning of play. In that 6th inning Lady Saints starter Erin Roufosse continued to mystify the Odessa hitters and swiftly ran through the top of their order 1-2-3. Seward would take advantage of their strong pitching performance from Roufosse, scoring 2 6th inning runs on 4 hits, including two different sets of back to back hits from Brittany Kent and Amy Schartz and then Shelby Casey and Marisa Coats later in the inning to come away with the 2 runs to take the 2-0 lead. Roufosse would do the rest as Odessa was able to manage a one out single to bring the tying run to the plate but the Lady Saints right hander quickly doused the flames with back to back strikeouts to end the game and give Seward a win over the top 20 Wranglers. Roufosse would retire 15 of the final 16 hitters she would face in the game to pick up the complete game shutout while the Lady Saints would scatter their 6 hits throughout their lineup with their RBI’s coming from Kelsea Blackstock and Amy Schartz.

Game two would see another pitching gem but unfortunately for Seward, this time the performance would be against them rather than for them. Just like the first game between the two, neither team was able to get on the scoreboard early as the game was tied at 0-0 4 innings in. Odessa had many more chances to score than did Seward as the Lady Wranglers left runners on 3rd base in both the 2nd and 3rd innings while the Lady Saints didn’t manage a base runner until the 3rd inning. After a 1-2-3 inning for Seward in their half of the 5th, Odessa got the scoring started with 3 runs on 4 hits to take a 3-0 lead. The Lady Saints would again go in order in the 6th inning and Odessa would keep the momentum on their side scoring a pair of unearned runs to push their advantage to 5-0. Seward threatened in the 7th inning as they loaded the bases with just one out, bringing the tying run to the on deck circle, but a strikeout and a soft groundout would preserve the shutout and the lady Saints would fall 5-0. Caityln Crain threw the complete game shutout for Odessa striking out 12 Lady Saints and allowing just 2 hits. Seward would make 7 errors in the game, including 6 on the infield to hurt their chances to win. Kelsea Blackstock and Brianna Baron would get the only two Seward hits in the defeat.

With the start of a new week, the Lady Saints shook off the 5-0 loss to Odessa and took their frustration out on the home team, the El Paso Tejanas. Seward would take advantage of a pair of Tejanas errors in the second inning and score 3 runs on RBI knocks from Brittany Kent and Shelby Casey to take the early 3-0 lead. El Paso would get 1 run back in the bottom of the inning but the Lady Saints piled on to their lead with 4 runs in the 3rd inning on a 2 RBI single from Kent and an RBI single from Lynda Musick behind her. Seward would tack on single runs in the 5th and 6th inning and would get themselves out of a jam in the bottom of the 6th to come away with the 9-1 run rule victory. Seward outhit El Paso 16-5 in the game and were helped by 6 Tejanas errors leading to 5 unearned runs. Shelby Casey and Brianna Baron were the offensive stars for Seward in this one, each going 4 for 4 in the contest. Brittany Kent also had a big game for the Lady Saints, smacking 3 hits in 4 chances while driving in 3 runs and stealing a base. Erin Roufosse threw an economical 77 pitches in the complete game victory.

The Lady Saints would again score first in game two as Shelby Casey walked and Marisa Coats doubled behind her and then with two outs Brianna Baron would drive them home to put Seward up 2-0. The score remained the same going to the 4th inning until the Lady Saints bats started to heat up. A two out error by El Paso would open the floodgates as Seward would collect three straight hits from the top of their lineup with the big blow coming on a 3 run homerun from catcher Marisa Coats to put the gals in green up 8-0 after the 6 spot. El Paso would get one in the bottom of the inning but the Lady Saints had too much fun scoring those 6 runs so they decided to do it again and that is just what they did, plating 6 runs on 7 hits, including a 2 run home run from Lauren Barker and a 2 run home run for the second consecutive inning from Coats. After the dust settled the Lady Saints found themselves up 14-1 and the onslaught was too much for the Tejanas as they went down in order in the 5th to give Seward the 14-1 run rule victory. Coats finished the game 3 for 4 with a pair of homeruns and 6 RBI’s in the win while Brianna Baron would pick up 3 hits as well to go along with an RBI. Casey and Leah Sitter both ended the game with 2 hits and 8 of 9 Seward hitters would end the contest with at least one knock. Sydney Cicchetti picked up the win for Seward, throwing a complete game in just 69 pitches while allowing just the 3 hits and 1 unearned run.

On to Phoenix, Arizona it was for the Lady Saints after taking 3 of 4 in the Lone Star State. Seward’s first matchup was with the Scottsdale Fighting Artichokes which they were set to square off with Thursday. Both teams were unable to cash in runners in scoring position early in this one as Seward left two on in the 1st inning and Scottsdale couldn’t score a runner from 3rd in the 2nd inning or a pair of runners that were on in the 3rd. With the score still 0-0 in the 4th, Seward found their way to home plate as Kelsea Blackstock singled and was later driven in by Brianna Baron to make it 1-0 Lady Saints. The Artichokes would strand 2 again in the bottom of the inning and neither team would score in the 5th as the score remained 1-0 as the two went to the 6th. Shelby Casey was plunked to lead off the 6th inning for Seward and after a Marisa Coats single and a fielder’s choice, the Lady Saints had runners on the corners with just one out. Brianna Baron would single to bring Casey home and Brittany Kent would lift a fly ball deep enough to score Kelsea Blackstock, who moved up to 3rd on the single, to put Seward up 3-0. Scottsdale would scratch out a run and ruin Erin Roufosse’s shutout bid in the 7th but it wasn’t enough as the Lady Saints went on to win 3-1 for their 24th win of the season. Baron finished with 2 of the 3 Seward RBI’s in the game while Brittany Kent picked up the other on the sac fly in the 6th. Each team had just 5 hits in the game but Scottsdale left 8 runners on to just 5 for the Lady Saints. Before the scheduled 2nd game was set to start, Scottsdale decided that they would not be able to field a team for the 2nd contest and therefore Seward was awarded the 7-0 forfeit win.

Friday the Lady Saints had a trio of games slated with their first coming against one of the most successful teams in the NJCAA in Central Arizona. Seward would pick up 2 out singles in both the 1st and 2nd innings but could get nothing more and were kept off the board through 2. Central Arizona would put a little bit more pressure on as they loaded the bases in the 1st on just one hit but were unable to score but were able to score in the 2nd in the same situation as they picked up a 2 out single by Elisa Duarte to put them up 1-0. That is all that Central would get against Lady Saints pitcher Sydney Cicchetti as the freshman mowed through the powerful Central Arizona lineup for the remaining 4 innings allowing just 1 hit. However, the Lady Saints just couldn’t figure out Central pitcher Ginger deWeert as the Holland native allowed exactly one hit in each inning but stranded 8 Lady Saint base runners on the day as she cruised to a complete game shutout to give the Vaqueros the 1-0 victory. Alicia Reyes had 2 hits at the top of the Seward lineup but no other Lady Saint was able to get more than 1 as Seward actually outhit Central 6-5 but couldn’t push a run across in the 1-0 defeat.

The Lady Saints second game of the day came against the Glendale Gauchos. Marisa Coats started off the scoring with a solo homerun in the 1st to put Seward up 1-0. The Lady Saints would score again in the 3rd when Coats hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring home Lynda Musick who was hit by a pitch to open up the inning. Seward would manufacture another run in the 5th inning to go up 3-0 as Alicia Reyes led off with a single and after a sacrifice bunt by Shelby Casey, would come around to score on a sac fly from Brianna Baron to put the Lady Saints up 3. Glendale was able to get runners on against Lady Saint pitcher Erin Roufosse but couldn’t bring them in as the Seward ace stranded 10 Gaucho runners in the contest. The Lady Saints wouldn’t leave many ducks on the pond however as they pushed 6 runs across in the 7th inning including RBI hits from Amy Schartz, Lauren Barker, Kelsea Blackstock, and Lynda Musick to put the gals in green up 9-0. Glendale would put a pair of runners on in the bottom of the inning but a one hopper back to Roufosse would end the game as Seward took home the 9-0 victory. Roufosse tossed the complete game shutout allowing 5 hits with just 1 walk and 1 strikeout. Coats finished the game a perfect 3 for 3 with 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored while Kelsea Blackstock and Alicia Reyes finished with 2 hits apiece.

The Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters would wrap up a busy day and a busy week for the Lady Saints as they took them on in their tournament finale in Casa Grande. The Lady Saints struggled with the bats early as their first 7 hitters were retired before Lynda Musick singled with 1 out in the 3rd. Eastern had a little bit more success but not much as they were unable to push a runner past second base in the first 3. With the game scoreless into the 4th, the Gila Monsters got the scoring going as catcher Michelle Teo smacked a 2 RBI double to right to bring home a pair of runs and put Eastern Arizona up 2-0. The Lady Saints would cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning when Marisa Coats blasted her 4th home run of the week to make it 2-1. Eastern would get that run back in the top of the 5th with a pair of singles to open the inning to reclaim their 2 run, 3-1 lead. Antoinette Diaz would homer for Eastern in the 6th with 2 outs to stretch the lead to 4-1 but Seward would score a pair in the bottom half of the inning on yet another 2 run shot from Coats to tighten the game back up at 5-3. The Gila Monsters would again answer the Lady Saints offense in the 7th however as 3 hits led to a pair of runs to push the lead out to 3 at 6-3 and the Lady Saints would strikeout back to back to end the game as they fell 6-3. Eastern Arizona outhit Seward 13-7 in the win and overcame a huge game from Marisa Coats to come away with the victory. Coats finished 2 for 3 with her 4th and 5th homeruns of the week to go along with RBI’s # 10, 11, and 12 but it wasn’t enough as the rest of the Lady Saints lineup struggled in the loss.
The end of the Seward County Saints Spring Break trip undoubtedly didn’t end up being the fun trip that the rest of their friends were having across the country. Battling an illness that made its way through most of the team on top of it being the back end of a 7 game in 5 day swing, the Saints dropped three straight games to Rose State and De Moines Area CC to fall to 11-14 on the season.

A familiar face was in the Rose State dugout as the Saints took them on at Oklahoma City University Monday afternoon. Former Saint player Coty Cooper was leading the Raiders as Seward stepped between the lines for a 9 inning affair. The Saints scratched the scoreboard first in the 2nd inning as Quay Grant led off with a single and later scored on an RBI single from Todd Glime to put Seward up 1-0. Seward starter Hayden Holub would battle out of trouble in the 1st and 2nd innings but wouldn’t be able to wriggle off the hook in the 3rd as a 1 out walk would ignite a 3 run inning and the Raiders would go up 3-1. Leadoff walks in both the 4th and 5th would score for Rose State and after 5 innings, the score was 5-1 in favor of the team from Midwest City. Saints reliever Quay Grant would hold Rose there for the 6th and 7th innings and a Luke Campbell single in the 8th would cut the lead to 5-2. However, in the Raider half of the 8th, an error and 3 hit by pitches would spark a 5 run inning as Rose State would go on to extend their lead to 10-2 and eventually go on to win by that same count. Grant and Glime each had 2 hits in the loss and combined for 4 of Seward’s 6 hits in the game.

After being embarrassed by the Raiders in Monday’s affair, the Saints looked for some redemption Tuesday when the two teams took the field again, this time in Midwest City. Seward got on the board first when Quay Grant was hit by a pitch and later scored on an RBI groundout from Josh Dawson to make it 1-0 Saints before Rose came to bat. Seward starter Logan Hall would put up three straight goose eggs on the board for Rose State and allow the Saints to tack on to their lead with a run in the 4th courtesy of an RBI single from Tyler Hill. However, the Raiders would put a tally on the scoreboard in the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings to take a 3-2 lead with 3 innings to go. Seward couldn’t get anything going in the 7th and 8th innings and Rose tacked on an insurance run with a homerun off the bat of Jordan Hughes in the bottom of the 8th and the score was 4-2 going to the last frame. The Saints managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the top of the 9th inning but their hopes were quickly erased with a game ending double play as Rose State went on to win 4-2. Kelby Tomlinson picked up 3 hits at the top of the Seward order and Jordan Dallalio had another multiple hit game going 2 for 4 in the loss. Logan Hall picked up the tough luck loss going 7 2/3 innings allowing 4 runs while striking out 4.

After dropping the pair to Rose State, the Saints decided to pick up one more game in the Sooner State before heading home and their opponents would be the 4th ranked De Moines Area CC Bears in Enid, Oklahoma Wednesday. The game started off well for the Saints as Kelby Tomlinson singled, stole second and later scored on an RBI groundout from Quay Grant to give Seward a 1-0 lead. They would pick up another run in the 2nd after a Jared Broadbent double with one out, followed by a sacrifice fly to drive him home from Todd Glime. The Bears would tie the game up in the bottom of the 2nd with a pair of RBI groundouts and after 2 the score was knotted at 2 apiece. DMACC would get another 2 runs in the 3rd on a two out single from shortstop Brashad Johnson to go up 4-2. The Bears would blow the game open in the 4th , recording 5 extra base hits and scoring 6 runs to take a 10-2 lead. The Saints would never recover as DMACC picked up a run in the 6th and would end the game on the run rule in the 7th after a towering 3 run shot from left fielder Scott Schebler to put Seward away 14-2. The Saints managed just 3 hits in the game as Tomlinson, Dawson, and Broadbent picked up the lone knocks while De Moines Area pounded out 16 hits against 7 Seward County pitchers on the day.
The expectations had to be realistic as the Seward County Saints went into a four game weekend series with the #3 Howard Hawks in Big Spring, Texas. The Hawks were coming off of a National Championship season in which they went 63-1, an NJCAA record for winning percentage in a season, and this year’s Howard team is expected to have a number of players go early in the June Major League Baseball Draft.

With that said, the Saints came out not the least bit intimidated; or at least it seemed that way after shortstop Kelby Tomlinson led off the game with his first home run of the season to give the Saints a 1-0 lead after just three pitches were thrown. Unfortunately, that is all the offense that Seward would get in game one as Howard starter Burch Smith would find a way to wiggle out of jams in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings to keep the Saints off of the scoreboard. The Hawks on the other hand would put together a 14 hit afternoon and seemingly didn’t stop finding the barrel from the first pitch of the game that went for a triple, to the final inning when they blasted their 4th home run of the game. A home run and back to back triples in the 3rd inning would spark a 3 run frame for Howard and a pair of home runs would highlight a 4 run 5th inning for the Hawks. They would also score single runs in the 1st, 4th, and 6th as they would come away with the 10-1 win over the Saints. Luke Campbell would finish the game with 3 hits while Jordan Dallalio went 2 for 2 and Kelby Tomlinson went 2 for 3 with the leadoff homerun. Howard cleanup man Landon Steinhagen had himself quite a ballgame with a triple in the 2nd inning and homeruns in both the 5th and 6th inning for the Hawks.

The Saints would find themselves in a quick 3-0 hole in game two as Howard would start the game with a home run, a triple, and a hit batter, all of which scored and some may have wondered if Seward was on their way to another defeat at the hands of the defending national champs. The Saints would bounce back however and after the first 6 batters of the 2nd inning would find themselves aboard for Seward, the game was tied at 3. Jordan Dallalio’s double and Josh Dawson’s single were the RBI knocks in the inning while a bases loaded double play later in the inning would score a run as well. The Saints took the lead in the 3rd inning as Luke Campbell led off with a triple and Jared Broadbent would drive him in with a groundout to short but the Seward lead was short lived as Howard would score 3 in the bottom half to reclaim a 6-4 advantage. Neither team could manage a run in the 4th but the Saints would put together a big inning in the 5th to take the lead back. Broadbent would blast a one out homerun to left field and David Morgan, Dallalio, and Dawson would all single behind him to give Seward a 7-6 lead. The Saints weren’t done however as Todd Glime would walk and Kelby Tomlinson would single home two more to put Seward on top 9-6 after 5. Seward reliever Paul Pulley was able to keep Howard off the board in the 5th and 6th and allowed the Saints to build on their lead in the 7th with a run and the guys in green found themselves on top 10-6 after 6 and a half innings of play. The Hawks would get a run in the bottom of the 7th to make it 10-7 but the Saints would extend on their lead in the 8th as Seward would score 2 runs without the benefit of a hit to make the score 12-7 and then tack another pair on with RBI knocks from Quay Grant and Luke Campbell to make it 14-7 Saints. Howard would get 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th to cut the Seward lead to 14-10 but would not be able to get anymore as the Saints went on to upset the #3 ranked Hawks 14-10. Pulley picked up the win for Seward in relief of starter Logan Hall as he went 4 quality innings through the middle of the game allowing just 1 run as the Saints made their comeback run. The middle of the Seward order was deadly in this one as their 3 through 7 hitters all had 2 or more hits in the game with Dallalio going 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored and Dawson going 2 for 4 with a 3 RBI’s in the win.

With some confidence from a game two win under their belts, the Saints took the field Sunday looking to put even a little more pressure on the Hawks on their home field. Unfortunately for Saints fans, that simply didn’t happen as Howard jumped out to a 12-0 lead after 2 innings of play and would allow just one Seward hit in the game as the Saints fell by the eventual score of 17-0. Josh Dawson picked up the only Seward hit in the shutout defeat while the Hawks scored 17 runs on just 11 hits in the game. In fact, Howard at one point in time during the contest had 9 runs on just 2 hits due in part to spotty control from the Seward pitching staff.

Seward came out with a different attitude in game four after being buried by the Hawks just 20 minutes before and would get out to a 4-0 lead after 2 innings with early inning RBI’s from Josh Dawson, Jordan Dallalio, and Luke Campbell. Saints starter Jose Gonzalez was nearly flawless in through the first 3 innings as the freshman southpaw had faced just one over the minimum after 3 with just a harmless two out single in the 2nd to break up a perfect start. The Saints would increase their lead to 5-0 in the 4th as Quay Grant would single and come around to score on another RBI single from Dawson and the Saints looked to be in business with 2 outs and nobody on for Howard in the bottom half of the 4th. That is when the wheels came off for the Seward lefty as the next 7 Hawk batters would reach base courtesy of 4 hits and 3 walks and Howard would quickly find themselves on top at 6-5. The Hawks would extend upon their lead in the 5th as Kevin Sah led off the inning with a homerun, but Seward would tie it up at 7 in the 7th as they would get a pair of runs capped by a two out RBI double from Todd Glime to make it a new ballgame with 2 innings to go. Seward went down quickly in order in their half of the 8th but the same couldn’t be said for the Hawks as Saints pitching faltered down the stretch, walking three straight batters and hitting another to allow 4 Howard runs, a deficit in which they couldn’t overcome as they dropped the finale 11-7. Quay Grant and Josh Dawson each finished the game with 3 hits and Grant scored 3 times while Dawson knocked in a pair of runs.
Before the Lady Saints headed down to the desert for their trip they had a pair of double headers slated at home against McCook and Frank Phillips. Against McCook on Thursday, the Lady Saints took advantage of poor defense from the Lady Indians and a great pitching performance from Erin Roufosse to come away with a 7-0 win. The Lady Saints sophomore ace went the distance, allowing just 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 6 in the shutout. Shelby Casey and Leah Sitter had two hits apiece for the Lady Saints at the plate.

The Lady Indians would put a little bit of fear into the Lady Saints in game two as they scored 3 first inning runs to take a quick 3-0 lead. Seward bounced back with 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the inning with the big blow coming off of the bat of Shelby Casey who launched a 2 run home run behind a leadoff single from Alicia Reyes. Seward would score two unearned runs in the 3rd as McCook couldn’t seem to get a handle on the softball and the Lady Saints broke it wide open in the 4th inning when they put a snowman up on the scoreboard. With one out in the inning, eight consecutive Lady Saints found themselves aboard and eventually scored with highlights coming off of the bats of Amy Schartz and Serena Erpelding who both roped 2 RBI singles in the inning. Up 13-4 after 4, Sydney Cicchetti would shut McCook down in the 5th to give Seward the 13-4 run rule win. The first four hitters in the Seward lineup had 2 hits apiece while Schartz and Erpelding finished the game a combined 3 for 6 with 5 RBI’s. Tawnee Steeman picked up her first career win for Seward by going 4 innings and striking out 6.

Frank Phillips was next to come to town and the going didn’t get any easier for the visitors as Seward pounded out 18 hits in game one of the double header and came away with a 14-6 win. The Lady Plainsmen would score first with 2 in the 1st but Seward would quickly answer with 3 of their own in the bottom half of the inning thanks to back to back doubles from Kelsea Blackstock and Brianna Baron. The Lady Saints would put up 3 more runs in the 2nd as Shelby Casey, Blackstock, and Leah Sitter collected RBI knocks but Frank Phillips would get 2 more in the 3rd to keep the game close at 6-4 after three. Frank Phillips would inch even closer in the 4th when they scored a run to make it 6-5, but the 3’s kept coming for Seward and another RBI double from Blackstock helped but the Lady Saints up 9-5. Another 3 spot found its way to the scoreboard for Seward in the 5th as Baron and Schartz picked up RBI hits and the Lady Saints cracked double digits at 12-5. FPC would get a run in the 6th to make the score 12-6 but an Alicia Reyes two run bomb in the 6th inning would force the run rule as the Lady Saints came away with a 14-6 win. Seven Seward starters had multiple hit games in the win and Reyes, Blackstock, Baron, and Sitter all had themselves 3 hit games.

The Lady Plainsmen would jump out to a 3-1 lead in game two after an inning and a half of play until Seward came to bat in the 2nd inning and put 4 runs on the board to take a 5-3 advantage. The Lady Saints would continue their big inning theme as Brittany Kent would launch a three run bomb to highlight a 5 run 4th inning and Marisa Coats would again kick in the run rule with an RBI single in the 5th as the Lady Saints would go on to win 11-3. Coats finished the game a perfect 3 for 3 with 2 RBI’s while Lynda Musick went 2 for 2 with a pair of runs scored. Leah Sitter went 2 for 3 in the contest with 2 triples and also scored 2 runs. Erin Roufosse picked up the win in relief, going 3 scoreless innings while striking out 5.
The Seward County Lady Saints swept the weekly Jayhawk West Conference awards this week as sophomore right hander Erin Roufosse was named conference Pitcher of the Week and sophomore backstop Marisa Coats was named the conference Player of the Week. The duo was a large part of the Lady Saints 5-2 road trip as Roufosse posted a 3-0 record with a 0.70 ERA and Coats made pitchers cringe when she stepped to the plate, batting .667 with 5 home runs and 12 RBI’s in the 7 games. Roufosse threw 3 complete games and struck out 13 opposing batters while walking just 5 on the week and spun a complete game shutout in Seward’s 9-0 win over Glendale Friday. Coats had a very memorable week, posting not one but two multiple home run games while notching at least one hit in every game and poking 2 or more hits in 5 of the 7 contests. The pair will look to return to conference play Wednesday when they are scheduled to take on #13 Butler at Lady Saint Field but the double header is in question as of right now because of impending weather.
Seward County shortstop Kelby Tomlinson has been named the Jayhawk West Conference Player of the Week for his work last week in a trio of Saints games on the Spring Break trip. The sophomore hit .364 for the week and was 3 for 3 in stolen base attempts. The Texas Tech signee is now hitting .303 on the season and leads the team in runs scored with 29. He is also currently 9th in the country with his 16 stolen bases in 17 attempts. Tomlinson and his Saints wrap up their Jayhawk West Conference series with Barton this afternoon before heading to Dodge City this weekend for a 4 game series with the Conqs.
Seward County Lady Saint forward Rachel Barnes play this season has earned her yet another accolade. This time it is the prestigious WBCA All-American nomination which goes out to only the top 10 players in all of junior college basketball, regardless of their divisional classification. Barnes was one of only two forwards picked for the team and was the only player from the Jayhawk Conference to earn the nod. This season, the Lady Saint sophomore was 3rd in the country in scoring at 21.3 points per game and was less than .8 of a point per game from leading the entire country in scoring for the season. As well as leading the conference in scoring by over 4 points per game, Barnes also finished in the top 4 in the Jayhawk Conference in field goal percentage, free throw percentage and rebounds.

Rachel Barnes and Megan Lassley better clear some space in their Seward County dorm rooms because the awards keep on coming for the pair as Wednesday the duo was named to the NJCAA All-Region VI Team one day after being named to the Region VI All-Tournament team in Wichita. Barnes not only earned 1st Team All-Region accolades but was named the Region VI Player of the Year ahead of Labette’s Satoria Bell, making her a strong candidate for a spot on the All-American team. The Lady Saint forward had a magical season for Seward, averaging nearly 30 points per game in Seward’s last 10 contests including a school record 41 point performance in the Region VI semi-finals against Cowley. She finished the year averaging nearly 22 points and 8 rebounds per game and was less than 1 point per game away from leading the country in scoring during her sophomore season. Lassley was named 2nd Team All-Region after leading the Jayhawk West in assists for the second straight season while averaging just under 10 points per game on the year.

Division 1 Women’s All-Region Team
Seward County forwards Latiq Agard and Marky Nolen were chosen to the NJCAA All-Region VI Team Wednesday afternoon after strong campaigns in the paint for the Saints during the 2009-2010 seasons. Agard was chosen 1st Team All-Region after a season in which he led the Jayhawk West in scoring at 17 points per game. The 6’4 sophomore was one of the most consistent players in the league in 2009-10, scoring 19 or more points in 8 of Seward’s final 10 games of the season. Nolen was named Honorable Mention All-Region after a season in which he was arguably the most valuable 6th man in the league. The 6’2 freshman played much larger than his size all year long and used his grit and toughness to average over 12 points and 6 rebounds per game this season. He was named to the Region VI All-Tournament Team Monday night after posting games of 23 points and 9 rebounds and 18 points and 10 rebounds in two games in Wichita.

Division 1 Men’s All-Region
For the second straight season the Seward County Lady Saints softball team went to the Pratt Tournament and took care of the competition. Last season it was a Seward team averaging 9 runs a game at the tournament to lead them to the title while this season it was a pitching staff that held opponents to under 2 runs per game that helped them take the championship.
Seward’s schedule featured familiar opponents as all three teams in the tournament were teams that the Lady Saints had already met this season. Their first matchup was with Lamar and Seward wasted little time in beating the Lopes for the third time this season. Erin Roufosse allowed just 3 base runners in the game while the Lady Saints slugged out 5 runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings highlighted by a 2 run home run from Amy Schartz and a 2 RBI single from Brianna Baron to give Roufosse all the support she would need as Seward cruised to the 5-0 victory.
The Lady Saints would then take on the home team, the Pratt Beavers. Seward was unable to cash in a pair of walks in the first inning but they did score first in the 3rd inning as Jessica Gonzalez led off with a single and was driven in on a single from Alicia Reyes to make it 1-0. Pratt would knot it at 1 in the 5th but the Lady Saints would pick up the go ahead run on a solo home run from Leah Sitter in the bottom of the 6th which would turn out to be the difference. Sydney Cicchetti came in in relief of Amy Schartz and struck out a pair in the 6th as well as the side in order in the 7th as the Lady Saints came out on top 2-1. The Lady Saints spread out 8 hits in the game as all but one Seward starter had a knock in the contest but no Lady Saint had two. Schartz threw 5 quality innings against Division II’s 15th ranked team, allowing just 2 hits and 1 run.
Seward’s fortunes would change on Sunday morning when they met Northern Oklahoma as the Mavs quickly jumped on them 2-0 in the 1st inning with a pair of RBI singles. Leah Sitter would help cut the deficit in half in the 3rd as she walked to lead off the inning and stole second before being driven in by Amy Schartz with one out. Tonkawa wasn’t done scoring though as they hit two run home runs in both the 4th and 5th innings to go up 6-1. Seward would never threaten again as they struck out 7 times in the last 3 innings and dropped the game 6-1.
On to the semifinal game of the tournament it was as Seward and Pratt entered a rematch of their game a day earlier. Sydney Cicchetti was dominate early against the Beavers and had faced the minimum through 4 innings of work. The Lady Saints on the other hand had opportunities with two runners on in the 1st, a runner on third in the 2nd, and again runners on in the 3rd and 4th but were never able to capitalize and the game was scoreless after 4. A Seward error led to an unearned run in the top of the 5th inning and the score remained 1-0 Pratt as the teams went to the final inning of play. Cicchetti did her best by keeping Pratt off of the scoreboard in the top of the inning and Leah Sitter hit a leadoff home run in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 1 apiece and send the contest to extra innings. The Beaves would go quietly in the top of the 8th and after Alicia Reyes found her way aboard to start the inning and an Amy Schartz sacrifice bunt, the Lady Saints had Reyes in scoring position with just one out. Marisa Coats made short work of the drama as the ripped a single up the middle on the first pitch she saw to plate Reyes and give the Lady Saints the 2-1 walk off win. Serena Erpelding led Seward with two hits including a triple in the game while Cicchetti threw a complete game allowing just 2 hits and 1 unearned run while striking out 6 and not walking a batter.
The walk off win for Seward set up a championship game rematch for the Lady Saints as they looked to get revenge against the only team that had beat them on the weekend, the Northern Oklahoma Mavericks. Seward struck first as they got 4 straight singles to open up the 3rd inning and scored a pair of runs on RBI knocks from Shelby Casey and Marisa Coats. The Lady Saints picked up 2 more in the 5th as a triple off the bat of Kelsea Blackstock plated Brianna Baron and Leah Sitter to make it 4-0 gals in green. Tonkawa would get something going in the bottom of the 5th but a fielder’s choice groundout would strand two runners and the lead would remain 4 for Seward. A one out single followed by some sloppy Lady Saint defense would give the Mavs their first run of the game in the 6th inning but Amy Schartz would shut them down for any more than that as Seward went on to take the championship home with a 4-1 win. Schartz went the distance for Seward in just her 2nd career start for the Lady Saints, allowing just 5 hits and 1 unearned run in the win. Alicia Reyes finished the game with 3 hits and Kelsea Blackstock added a pair as the Lady Saints moved to 13-3 on the season.
The Seward County Saints Tennis team made a statement to the rest of the region this weekend by winning 23 of 24 matches and finishing first in their first tournament of the season. Seward was simply dominate all day at every slot with their 8 singles players combining to go 16-0 in the two day event. Laercio Lobo won 6-2, 6-1 and 6-1, 6-2 over opponents from Kansas Wesleyan and Bethany while Nathan Nelmes handled the same two teams equally as easily with 6-0, 6-1 and 6-1, 6-2 wins. Carlos Souza won his first match 6-2, 6-0 before being challenged in his next contest but pulling it out 6-3, 7-6. Fernando Soni took care of his opponents 6-2, 6-0 and 6-4, 6-0 while Christian Romanzini won 6-0, 6-3 and 7-6, 6-4. Eduardo Munoz had two very different matches on the weekend winning 6-0, 6-0 on Saturday and battling 7-6, 6-4 to win Sunday with Stefan Ignjatovic’s weekend being very similar winning 6-0, 6-1 and 6-4, 7-5. Rafael Raw finished up singles play in the #8 slot for Seward winning consecutive matches 6-0, 6-1 to give Seward the clean sweep in singles play. Lobo and Nelmes paired to win 2 doubles matches 8-3 with Romanzini and Munoz won their doubles match by the same score. Soni and Souza won in straight sets 8-0 in their first doubles match and took care of their second 8-5 and Ignatovic and Raw swept their doubles play 8-3 and 8-2. Seward was far and above the tournament champions going 23-1 on the weekend.
Seward County right hander Sydney Cicchetti has been named KJCCC Player of the Week after posting a 1.02 ERA in four games on the week. Cicchetti threw a complete game without allowing an earned run against Northern Oklahoma Tuesday and threw 5 2/3 innings against Garden City on Thursday while striking out 8. The Canadian freshman also picked up a win in relief Saturday in Seward’s 2-1 win over Pratt while throwing 2 innings striking out 5 without allowing a hit. Cicchetti again beat the Beavers Sunday when she threw all 8 innings in an extra inning affair while striking out 6 without walking a batter and allowing just 2 hits. She is now 6-1 on the season with a 1.34 ERA while posting a walks to strikeout ratio of 40 to 13.
Seward County 2nd Baseman Ty Jacobs has been named the Jayhawk Conference Player of the Week. Jacobs put up big numbers on the week from a position that you don’t normally see big numbers from at 2nd base. He hit .565 with 5 doubles, a home run, and 11 RBI’s in 8 games while helping lead Seward County to a 7-1 week. He had a huge weekend against Butler going 2 for 4 in the opener with 3 runs scored and 4 RBI’s including a double and a home run. In game two of the series he was 2 for 3 with a double and 3 RBI’s and in game four he was 2 for 2. Jacobs left Sunday’s game with an undisclosed injury and is likely to miss the Saints next series against Howard but should be ready for the Saints next conference series against Barton on the 20th and 21st.
As soon as you stepped into historic McDonald Stadium this weekend in El Dorado during batting practice you knew it was going to be a weekend for offense. With ooh’s and aah’s abundant during the hitting practice and balls flying over the wooden wall with regularity, it was relatively obvious that it wasn’t going to be a day that any pitcher fantasized about stepping to the mound on. After 51 hits and 8 home runs on the weekend, the Saints returned to Liberal with a series win and a 7-1 Jayhawk West Conference record.
Seward sent Wichita State transfer Cameron Maldonado to the mound in game one of the series after the sophomore posted 16 2/3 straight scoreless innings to start his Seward County career. He got some help early in game one and after Kelby Tomlinson was drilled in the head by a Connor Sinclair fastball to lead off the game, he later came around to score on a gap shot double from Luke Campbell to put the Saints ahead 1-0 before Butler grabbed their bats. A throwing error by third baseman Brett Macari would lead to 2 Seward runs in the 2nd inning and the Saints found themselves up quickly 3-0. Maldonado’s scoreless inning streak would come to an end just short of 19 as Butler scored three times in the 3rd inning to tie the game after a mishandled ground ball started a Grizzly rally. The offense really got going in the 5th as Seward scored 4 times on three hits to open the inning and a 2 RBI double from Ty Jacobs put the Saints up 7-3. Butler answered in the bottom half of the inning with a 2 run home run from Macari and a two out RBI single from catcher Seth Wheeler made the game 7-6 in favor of Seward. The Saints didn’t like the feeling of being too close to the guys in purple and therefore scored 4 more runs in the 6th inning after home runs from Quay Grant and Jacobs as they pushed back out to a 11-6 lead. Paul Pulley stopped the Butler offensive momentum in the bottom of the 6th with a scoreless inning and allowed the Saints to score three more times in the 7th on a 3 run shot over the center field wall from Campbell to make it 14-6 Seward. Butler’s Kyle Kinman would lead off with a solo home run in the 7th but it was fall to little to late as the Saints went on to win 14-7. Maldonado moved to 3-0 on the season with the win while Pulley picked up his 2nd save of the week with a 2 2/3 inning effort to close the game. The middle of the Saints lineup was deadly as their 2-5 hitters combined to go 11 for 20 with 7 RBI’s in the win. Campbell finished 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles and the home run to go along with 4 RBI’s while Jacobs ended the contest with a double, a home run, 3 runs scored, and 4 RBI’s as well.
Unfortunately for Butler, the Saints weren’t out of juice in the back end of the double header as they raced out to a 4-0 lead in the 1st inning capped by a 2 out Ty Jacobs bases clearing double to again give them an early advantage. The Saints would blast away again in the 2nd as this time a Jared Broadbent 3 run home run was the big blow as Seward put up a 5 spot and buried the Grizzlies in a 9-0 hole. Butler would score an unearned run in the bottom of the inning but that was quickly outdone by a Kevin Domzralski bomb and a Kelby Tomlinson double and run scored as the Saints took an 11-1 lead. JC Ochoa would hit a solo shot in the 3rd for the Grizzlies but Seward would get 2 more in the 5th after Tomlinson led off with a triple and was driven in by Quay Grant who was then knocked home by Josh Dawson to make it 13-2 Saints. That was all Seward starter Logan Hall would need as he pitched around a leadoff single in the 5th to put up a zero and give the Saints the 13-2 run rule win after 5. Tomlinson finished 4 for 4 with 4 runs scored and was just a home run away from the cycle in the win while Dawson picked up a trio of hits with a pair of runs driven home in the clean up slot. Ty Jacobs continued his hot hitting with 2 hits and 3 RBI’s in the game.
After 27 runs and 31 hits on Saturday, runs would not thought to have been at a premium Sunday afternoon as the same two teams wrapped up their series with another double header at McDonald Stadium. Butler would score first for the first time in the series as a leadoff single and a Seward error helped create a run and the Grizzlies were up 1-0 after 1. Seward answered in the top of the 2nd as David Morgan walked and Kevin Domzralski drove him home with 2 outs to tie it up at 1. Butler would score 3 unearned runs in the 4th with 2 outs to go up 4-1 and the Saints simply couldn’t get their bats going for the rest of the 7 inning contest. A two out solo home run from Luke Campbell and a lonely two out single from Kelby Tomlinson in the 7th was all the Saints would muster in the last three innings as they fell by the eventual count of 5-2. Seward’s Hayden Holub went the distance allowing 2 earned runs on 8 hits but did come out of it with a positive in 5 strikeouts to just 1 walk, a problem that plagued the right hander last season. The Saints picked up just 4 hits in the game after pounding out 17 and 14 in wins Saturday.
Seward looked for the series win and Butler looked for the series split in game four in a game that much more closely resembled Saturday’s matchup than Sunday’s game three. The Saints left 6 runners on in the first three innings of the final game of the series and allowed Butler to score the first run without putting the ball in play in the 3rd. RBI singles from Kevin Domzralski, Luke Campbell, and Jared Broadbent paced a 4 run attack in the 4th but the Grizzlies quickly answered with 2 of their own in the bottom of the inning and the Saints lead was just one after four, 4-3. Butler would take the lead in the 5th after a pair of mishandled balls by the Saints but Quay Grant would knot the contest up at 5 a side with a solo home run to lead off the Saints 6th inning. Campbell would again deliver the big blow for the Saints in the 7th on his second three run bomb of the weekend as Seward went on to score 5 7th inning runs and take a 10-5 lead at stretch time. Todd Glime would knock in Ty Jacobs and Jordan Dallalio with a single in the 8th to add a pair of insurance runs for Seward in the 8th and two Butler runs in the bottom of the 9th wouldn’t be nearly enough as the Saints went on to win 13-7 in another slugfest. Michael Alger picked up the win in relief of Jose Gonzalez for the Saints, going 4 1/3 allowing just 2 earned runs. Campbell was again the star at the plate for Seward, going 4 for 6 with a double and a home run in the win. Glime and Domzralski did an admirable job at the bottom of the Seward order, driving in a combined 5 runs in the win.
The 3-1 weekend moves the Saints to 7-1 in the conference and puts them at 10-8 overall on the season. Seward will now face their toughest task to date as they travel to #3 Howard this weekend to take on a Hawks team that went 62-1 last season for a 4 game weekend set. They will then take on Rose State in Oklahoma on Tuesday before returning home next weekend as they jump back into conference play against Barton on Saturday and Sunday at Brent Gould Field.
The Seward County Lady Saints had an admirable showing in their opening weekend tournament against Kansas Wesleyan, Bethany, and Concordia Universities. Fanny Benincasa and Kauna Goncalves, the Lady Saints top two players were a perfect 6-0 on the weekend as Benincasa won her singles matches 6-1, 6-4 and 6-1, 6-1 while Goncalves cruised 6-3, 6-1 and 6-0, 6-2. The two combined in doubles play to win 8-4 in their first match with Kansas Wesleyan and 8-2 over Bethany in their second match. Antigone Lowery and Sylvia Perez went 1-1 in two matches of singles competition as Lowery defeated Bethany’s #3 player 6-2, 6-2 and Perez won 6-2, 6-4 over Concordia’s #4. The two also paired to split their doubles action winning 8-5 over Kansas Wesleyan and losing a tough match to Bethany 7-8. Shaley Thomas lost the match of the day as she battled with Kansas Wesleyan’s #5 player winning the first set 6-3, losing a second set tie break 7-5, and losing a thrilling third set 10-8. Seward finished with 9 match wins on the weekend tying them for first in the tournament.
There was no doubt who the most dominate player in the conference was this season and Wednesday she was honored for it as Rachel Barnes and three other Seward County Lady Saints were named to the Jayhawk West All-Conference team. Barnes was named the Conference Player of the Year after she led the conference in scoring by over 3 and a half points per game at 20.7 per contest. Not only was Barnes a lethal scoring threat, she was one of the conference’s top rebounders at just 5’9, pulling down over 8 rebounds per game and ranking 5th in the West in that category. Megan Lassley earned a 2nd team All-Conference selection after leading the Jayhawk West in assists for the 2nd straight season and finishing in the top 5 in steals for the 2nd straight year. The sophomore started every game at the point for Seward this season averaging 10 points and 4 assists per game. Maputo, Mozambique natives Vaneza Junior and Nadia Rosario were both named Honorable Mention All-Conference after stepping up their game during their sophomore seasons. Junior averaged 10 points per game and was in the top 5 in the conference in steals with 82 this season. Rosario returned from a injury that ended her season last year to average 9 points and 7 rebounds per game and finished the season with 53 blocked shots, which was 3rd in the Jayhawk West. The four selections was the most from any team in the conference. The Lady Saints will travel to Wichita Friday for a date with Coffeyville at 7:00 in the 2nd round of the Region VI Tournament as they look for their 30th win of the year.
Jayhawk West All-Conference
Seward County Saints forwards Latiq Agard and Marcus James have been named to the Jayhawk West All-Conference teams for their efforts on the floor this season. Agard was named 1st Team All-Conference after a season in which he led the conference in scoring at 17.1 per contest. Agard was a three time KJCCC Player of the Week pick as well, more than any other player in the conference. James was named All-Conference for the 2nd straight season as he earned the Honorable Mention nod by averaging 11 points and 5 rebounds per game this season. James shot 52% from the field this season and was the team’s leading offensive rebounder with 65 on the year. James and Agard will push their honors to the side this weekend as they try to earn a berth to the National Tournament in Hutchinson with a win of the Region VI Tournament Saturday, Sunday, and Monday against the best the Jayhawk has to offer.

Jayhawk West All-Conference Team
Seward County forward Latiq Agard has again been named Jayhawk West Conference Player of the Week for his efforts in the Saints last week of regular season play against Garden City and Butler. In a tough road loss at Garden City, Agard scored 19 points and had 7 rebounds and on Saturday in an upset win over 15th ranked Butler Agard scored 21 big points and had 5 assists in 25 minutes of work. He has now taken home the honor three times in the last four weeks and looks to keep his strong play up this weekend as he leads his Saints to Wichita for the Region VI Tournament where Seward will square off with Cowley at 5:00 Saturday in the Quarterfinals.
Home sweet home it was for Seward County on Tuesday and Wednesday as the Saints swept the Cloud County T-Birds in the four game set after starting 3-7 on the road this season. The Saints cruised to a sweep on day one behind solid starts from Cameron Maldonado and Logan Hall and relied on their bats on day two with 28 hits in the two wins.


Just two weeks before the 2009-2010 school year started, you would have never guessed who the Seward County Saints Jayhawk West Conference opening day starter would have been. A couple of phone conversations between Hall of Fame Head Coach Galen McSpadden and former Wichita State Shocker Cameron Maldonado was all it took to have the 6’4 righty on his way to Liberal to play for the Saints and oh is the Seward County skipper happy he is now. The Saints sophomore right hander mowed down the Cloud County Thunderbirds to record his second straight complete game shutout and move his scoreless innings streak to 16 and 2/3rds on the season. Seward did their scoring early as they put up a 4 spot in the 2nd inning on just one hit, an RBI double from Josh Dawson and added 3 more in the 3rd on RBI doubles from Ty Jacobs and Daniel Bruce to put the home team up 7-0. Seward scored an unearned run in the 4th to go up 8-0 and would go on to win by the same count to pick up the win in their first conference game. Bruce finished the game with 3 RBI’s while Jared Broadbent, Dawson, and Jacobs all crossed the plate a pair of times for 2 runs each. Maldonado finished allowing just the 5 hits and 1 walk for base runners in the complete game win while striking out 6 on the day.

After game two was finished it was almost as if you had pushed the clock back one year to the 2009 baseball season when the Saints had hard throwing right hander Bobby Doran going game one and lanky sinker-baller Corey Collins going in game two to give the Saints a 2-0 day. This time it was Maldonado going game one and Logan Hall going game two and Hall finished up the back end of the duo much as the current Mississippi State Bulldog Collins did last season. After going in order in the first, the Saints bashed out 6 hits in the 2nd inning and took advantage of 3 Cloud errors as the first 10 Saints hitters of the inning reached base with 8 of those scoring to put a snowman on the scoreboard and take an 8-0 lead. Hall would set down 13 consecutive batters through the middle innings for the Saints and allow the home team to tack on a run in the 4th and then one in the 6th on an RBI from David Morgan to give Seward the 10-0 mercy rule win in game two. Hall allowed just 2 hits in the game while going the distance and a well rounded offensive attack gave the Saints the 10 runs for the wins as every player had at least one hit with Morgan and Luke Campbell finishing with two hit games.

Cloud County was hoping that Wednesday would be a new day, and it was, but the team from Concordia didn’t fare any better as the Saints would stay hot at the plate coming away with a pair of wins. Cloud did have hope early in game one on Wednesday as a bean ball and walk set the table for catcher Ethan Vinson in the first who came up with a 2 RBI single to put the T-Birds up 2-0 before the Saints stepped to the plate. Seward would get a run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single from Josh Dawson and would score three times in the 2nd to take a 4-2 lead. A pesky Cloud team would not trail for long as they took advantage of poor Seward County defense to score three times in the 3rd and go back on top 5-4. The seesaw battle would continue in the bottom of the inning as the Saints would get 4 runs on 5 hits including 4 consecutive singles to start the inning from David Morgan, Ty Jacobs, Todd Glime, and Kevin Domrzalski to put themselves ahead 8-5. Saints starter Hayden Holub would come out and put up a big zero on the board after the 4 run inning for Seward to keep their stake at the 3 run lead. Neither team would be able to get their offensive touch going again as Holub went 6 and Quay Grant came in in the 7th to shut the door and pick up the save as Seward collected their third straight win with the 8-5 decision. The bottom three in the Seward order did a number on the Cloud County pitching staff in this one as Jacobs, Glime, and Domrzalski combined to go 6 for 8 with 5 RBI’s and scored 6 runs in the win.

Freshman lefty Jose Gonzalez took the mound for the Saints as they looked for the sweep in game four and the rookie did a solid job early, setting down the T-Birds in order in the first three innings allowing the Saints to lead 4-0 after three thanks to a 4 run 1st highlighted by a 2 RBI single from Josh Dawson. Cloud would threaten in the 4th but Gonzalez would induce a double play to end the inning and avoid the threat and the Saints would answer by scoring 2 more in the bottom of the inning on an RBI triple from Kelby Tomlinson and an RBI groundout from Quay Grant. The T-Birds would strike for 3 runs in the 5th inning to bring them back into the game at 6-3 and that is where the game stood as the teams went to the 7th inning of play. Cloud would pick up another run in the 7th to cut it to a 2 run game but Paul Pulley would come in out of the bullpen to relieve Gonzalez and squash the T-Bird rally to keep the Saints out in front. Seward would take the momentum and score three in the bottom of the 7th on a 2 RBI double from Dawson and an RBI single from Ty Jacobs after the Saints loaded the bases without the benefit of a hit with no outs and the home team would find themselves on top 9-4 with a little more breathing room as the teams went to the last two innings of play. Pulley would shut the T-Birds down for the last two innings to pick up his first college save and the Saints would tack an insurance run on in the 8th as they went on to win 10-4 to complete the sweep of Cloud. Gonzalez went 6 1/3 allowing just 2 earned runs to pick up his first collegiate win while Pulley slammed the door for 2 2/3 of hitless relief to pick up the save. Tomlinson went 3 for 4 at the top of the Seward order while Dawson and Jacobs both also went 3 for 4 with a combined 6 RBI’s in the victory.

The Saints quickly vault themselves to the top of the Jayhawk West standings with the 4-0 opening series sweep and pull themselves back to 7-7 overall on the season with the wins. They will now have a short turnaround time with the Cloud games being pushed back because of the weather and will take on another 4-0 team in Butler Saturday and Sunday in El Dorado.




After starting the season swinging the bats extremely well, the Seward County Lady Saints bats had been about as effective as wet newspapers in their two wins over Otero last weekend. They hoped that would change Tuesday as they took on a quality Northern Oklahoma team in Tonkawa. Unfortunately for the gals in green it didn’t in game one of the double header and they dropped their first game of the season 2-0 in 8 innings before mercy ruling the Mavs in the second game 10-2.
In the Lady Saints first game of the day against Northern Oklahoma an extremely odd occurrence happened for the first four innings. Seward went down in order in the first inning followed by Northern Oklahoma going down in order as well. In the second the Lady Saints managed a one out single with Brittany Kent eventually moving over to second base where she was stranded when the inning ended. In the Mavericks half of the second they got a one out single with Lyndsey White moving over to second where she was stranded to end the inning. In the third Seward went down 1-2-3 with one strikeout, Northern Oklahoma went down 1-2-3 with one strikeout. In the fourth inning the Lady Saints 2,3, and 4 hitters went down in order and the Mavs 2,3, and 4 hitters went down in order. For all intents and purposes, both teams had mirrored each other’s plate appearances and the game was scoreless with one hit per side after four innings of play. Neither team would score in the fifth while Tonkawa stranded one base runner after an error and to the sixth the two teams went. Seward went quietly in their half of the sixth but a leadoff single by Shelby Hass had the Mavs in business in the bottom half of the inning. After a sacrifice bunt and a single, Northern Oklahoma had runners on 1st and 3rd with just one out looking to take a 1-0 lead in the game. A ground ball at Alicia Reyes who fired it home to tag Hass out at the plate put two outs on the board and a groundout to Shelby Casey next would spoil the Mav rally. Again the teams would mimic each other in the 7th as two quick outs followed by a strikeout sent a game into extra innings for the first time this season for Seward. A one out single and stolen base by Casey went un-capitalized on as Seward would leave her stranded after a pair of pop outs and the Mavs would have a chance to win the game in the bottom of the inning. Justin Kodesh would single to lead off the inning and after a sacrifice bunt by Hass, Kelsea Schultz would send an 0-1 Erin Roufosse pitch over the center field wall to give Northern Oklahoma the 2-0 walk off victory. Seward managed just two singles in the game and never got a runner to third base in the defeat. Roufosse allowed just 5 hits in 7 and 1/3 innings of work while striking out 4 without walking a batter. Mavs pitcher Elizabeth Agpalo was nearly untouchable as she went 8 innings striking out 9 Seward batters while allowing just the two singles as base runners. After allowing the second inning single, she retired 18 straight Seward hitters before the 8th inning single by Casey.
After a disappointing loss in game one, the Lady Saints decided that they weren’t going to let it happen again in game two and they woke the bats up between games to put a whoopin on the Mavs in game two. Seward would strand runners at 3rd in both of the first two innings but Sydney Cicchetti would match zero’s with Northern Oklahoma pitcher Leah Shofner and the game moved quickly to the third inning scoreless. That’s when the Lady Saints broke out of their hitting drought scoring 4 runs on 3 hits with the big blow coming off of the bat of Brittany Kent with a one out 2 RBI double to center field. Cicchetti would sit the Mavs down in order in the bottom of the third and the Lady Saints were right back at it in the fourth as singles from Brianna Baron and Amy Schartz set the table for Alicia Reyes who popped a 1-2 offering out of the park for her first home run of the season and put Seward up 7-0. Northern Oklahoma would get a pair of unearned runs in the bottom half of the inning but the Lady Saints wanted to go home early and forced that to happen as Kelsea Blackstock, Kent, and Leah Sitter started the fifth with hits and all later scored to push Seward to a 10-2 lead and after a quick shutdown inning on defense the Lady Saints won by that count of 10-2 thanks to the mercy rule in the fifth inning. Reyes and Kent both finished with 3 hits and 2 RBI’s in the game while every Seward starter with an official plate appearance had at least one run scored or RBI in the game. Cicchetti picked up the win with her 4th complete game of the season, throwing just 70 pitches in the process to move to 4-0 on the year.
The split makes Seward 8-1 on the season as they head into today’s conference openers at home against Garden City at 2:00. After Thursday, the Lady Saints will go on the road to the Pratt Tournament where they will face a trio of teams that they have already seen this season in Pratt, Lamar, and Northern Oklahoma.

When Seward fans saw that Allen County scored 94 points and took a good Independence team to double overtime in their regular season finale Saturday night, they might have thought they were going to have a good game on their hands Tuesday night as the Region VI Tournament opened up in the Greenhouse. They quickly found out they were wrong as the Lady Saints took control right from the get go and dominated the game in route to a 98-56 win to move onto the quarterfinals against Coffeyville Friday night.
In Tuesday night’s Region VI Tournament 1st Round game between the #1 seed from the West, the 28-2 Seward County Lady Saints and the #8 seed from the East, the 8-22 Allen County Red Devils, there was little doubt from the opening tip who was the better team and who would control the game for the entire 40 minutes. Seward got out to an early 18-6 lead and would never look back. The Lady Saints pushed out to a 49-23 lead at halftime with Rachel Barnes leading the way with a 17 point first half. Seward shot 56% in the first frame while Allen shot just 28% on 9 of 32 from the field.
While the Seward starters played just a few minutes to open the second half, the Lady Saints reserves were better than the Allen County starters in the game as they continued to build on the lead. A barrage of second half three pointers by Kendra Spresser, Liz Ginther, Tameka Sanchez, and company piled the points on the scoreboard as the Lady Saints found themselves up 40 points late in the second half. Seward would finish the half going 5 of 7 from the three point line and 18 of 35 overall shooting in the final 20 minutes. The Lady Saints finished the game just 2 points short of 100 as they went on to win 98-56 to move on to the tournament’s second round.
Every Lady Saint dressed for the game had at least 3 points with 8 players topping the 7 point mark. Rachel Barnes led all scorers with 23 despite playing just 7 minutes in the second half while Kendra Spresser came off the Seward bench to score 16 to go along with 5 assists. Liz Ginther scored a career high 12 points in the win and Morgan Skomal played strong off the Seward County bench as well finishing with 7 points and 6 rebounds.
The win moves the Lady Saints to the second round of the Region VI Tournament as they will face Coffeyville for the second time this season. Seward will enter the game with a 29-2 record and the Red Ravens with a 22-9 mark. The first time these two met in the Jayhawk Shootout, the Lady Saints came out on top 61-43 on Coffeyville’s home floor behind 23 points from Rachel Barnes. The game between the two will be at 7:00 Friday night in Wichita’s Koch Arena on the campus of Wichita State University.

It seemed as if roles were reversed early in Tuesday night’s Region VI Tournament first round game between the 3rd seeded Seward County Saints and the 6th seeded Kansas City Kansas Blue Devils. It was the team who drove 8 hours to get to the game that jumped out to the 12-1 lead rather than the team who was comfortable in their own gym. The Saints however would make their run and would outlast the Blue Devils in the end as they came out on top of an 85-66 score in the Greenhouse to move on to the second round of the playoffs.

Seward would find themselves in a hole early as Scott Fruehling couldn’t miss from the outside for KCK and there seemed to be a lid on the bucket at the other end as the Saints were down 12-1 after failing to connect on a field goal for over 4 minutes. The tides would turn in the next 10 minutes as Seward would go on a 26-8 run to take a 7 point lead and eventually a 5 point, 33-28 lead into the locker rooms at half. The Saints shot 43% in the first half while KCK shot 46% and after the Blue Devils started 3 for 4 from the three point line, they went 0-6 in the final 14 minutes of the half as their lead evaporated.

Kansas City Kansas would again start the half hot as they erased Seward’s lead and took a lead of their own a few minutes into the period. The two teams would go back and forth for much of the half and the game would remain close as KCK seemed to forget about their two 6’9 big men inside, choosing instead to rely on their three point shooting to bring them down the stretch. That is when Seward went on their run, building a double digit lead late thanks to clutch free throw shooting and strong work inside by outsized Latiq Agard and Marky Nolen. The Saints would blow the game open late as their pressure defense caused numerous turnovers by the KCK guard and nearly eliminated the outside shooting of Fruehling and Derrick Denny. The Saints would go on to win by the count of 85-66 in a game closer than the score would tell to move on to the second round of the tournament.

Latiq Agard finished with a season high 29 points thanks in large part to a strong effort from the free throw line where he went 11 for 13. Marky Nolen was Agard’s partner in crime for most of the night down low as the freshman scored 21 points and had 8 rebounds against a much larger front line for the Blue Devils. Donte McCarter finished the game with 9 points including 5 for 5 from the line in the second half and guards Robert Sigala and Spencer Moore scored 8 apiece in the game.

The win makes Seward 23-8 on the season and pushes them to the second round of the Region VI Tournament Saturday night where they will take on the Cowley Tigers. This marks the third straight season that the Saints and Tigers will have met in the tournament with the 08 matchup going to the Saints and last year’s game going to the Tigers in OT to end the Saints season. The Saints and Tigers did tangle earlier this season with Seward coming out on top 83-67 in the Jayhawk Shootout but playoff time would suggest Saturday night’s 5:00 game at Koch Arena in Wichita will be much closer than that.

It was a highly anticipated matchup. Two teams that reached the NJCAA National Tournament last season going head to head in non-conference action. Unfortunately for viewers of the game, it wasn’t the prettiest of matchups, but for Seward County fans, the results were just fine as the Lady Saints took care of the Rattlers 1-0 and 4-1 to move to 7-0 on the season.
With a change of venue due to weather in the Liberal area, the Lady Saints headed to La Junta to take on Otero, perennially the best team in Region IX softball. Both teams went down in order in the first inning but Seward quickly got something brewing in the second as Brianna Baron walked to lead off the inning. After another walk and a fielder’s choice ground out, the Lady Saints had runners on 1st and 3rd with just one out. Unable to capitalize on the situation immediately, the Lady Saints struck out to keep runners on the corners now with two away. Brittany Demas walked to load the bases and Lynda Musick worked a full count before drawing a walk and picking up an RBI as Baron trotted across the plate to make it 1-0 Seward. Seward starting pitcher Erin Roufosse would do the rest as she retired the first 10 hitters she faced in the game before allowing a one out single in the 4th. However, the Lady Saints weren’t able to muster anything themselves as after the bases loaded walk, 11 straight of their batters were unable to reach base. The game was still 1-0 going to the 7th inning as the Lady Saints were still being no-hit despite holding the lead. With one out in the top of the inning, Leah Sitter was able to poke a hit to left field to break up the no hitter but was thrown out on the bases to end the threat to OJC. Roufosse continued her dominance of the Rattlers in Otero’s last at bat as the sophomore struck out the first two hitters swinging before getting a one hop comebacker to herself to end the game. Only the single by Erica Christie in the 4th kept Roufosse from throwing a perfect game and only the single by Sitter in the 7th inning kept Otero pitcher Shannon Traxinger from throwing a no-hitter of her own in the loss.
After a stern talking to by Head Coach Andrea Gustafson between games, the Lady Saints decided they didn’t want the speech again after game two and got on the board early in that one. Alicia Reyes singled to lead off the game and after a fielder’s choice by Shelby Casey, Marisa Coats sent a ball sailing over the left field wall for her first home run of the season to put the Lady Saints up 2-0. Seward would find themselves in business again in the second, but were unable to move runners from 1st and 2nd with 1 out and stranded the pair on a pop up to end the threat. Otero threatened as well in their half of the 2nd inning as a pair of singles to open the inning had them with runners at 1st and 2nd with nobody out. A big strikeout of Laura Abellanida by Seward pitcher Sydney Cicchetti and an induced pop up to the catcher after that had Seward fans breathing a sigh of relief. However, Cicchetti walked the next hitter to load the bases but struck out the next hitter to end the Otero half of the inning. Both pitchers were sharp through the next two innings and the game remained 2-0 Seward going to the 5th. A dropped fly ball by left fielder Erica Christie to lead off the 5th inning followed by back to back singles from Reyes and Casey put another run on the board for Seward and the Lady Saints led 3-0. Seward would tack another run on thanks to a leadoff double in the 6th from Kelsea Blackstock who was later driven in by Lynda Musick to make it 4-0 and put it out of reach for the Rattlers. A leadoff home run in the bottom of the 6th for Regina Aragon is all Otero could come up with as the Lady Saints went on to win 4-1. The top of the Seward order was strong in the win as Reyes, Casey, and Coats all finished with 2 hits apiece while Cicchetti did the rest, allowing just one run while striking out 6 in the victory.

The Seward County Lady Saints won their 4th Jayhawk West Championship in the past 7 years Saturday night as they beat a hot Butler Lady Grizzlies team 93-46 to win the conference outright with a 15-1 record. Seward dominated Butler in the win, leading wire to wire, and holding a 10+ point lead for 35 of the 40 minutes in the game.
It didn’t take long for the Lady Saints to get the lead Saturday night in their regular season finale against Butler as Sheila Washington banked home a jumper just one minute in and it was off to the races for Seward. They continued their onslaught led by Rachel Barnes to take a 16-3 lead 5 minutes into the game. After 5 minutes of play, Barnes had outscored the Lady Grizzlies by herself 9-3. Seward continued to build their lead and had their first 20 point margin with 8:09 to go thanks to, guess who, Rachel Barnes. The Lady Saints would put it in cruise control for the rest of the half and would finish the first 20 minutes nearly doubling up the Lady Griz, 47-24. Just how good was Barnes in the first half? The Seward sophomore headed to the locker room with 23 points, just one short of Butler’s team total of 24. Barnes shot 90% from the field in the first half and Butler shot 32%. The numbers don’t stop there, Barnes 4 steals matched Butler’s team total and her 4 assists were just 2 shy of the Grizzlies team total.
Butler’s leading scorer Alysia Hart would bring the Lady Grizzlies to within 18 with a three pointer 5 minutes into the 2nd half but Seward would follow that with a 13-0 run capped by 5 straight buckets from Megan Lassley and Barnes to take a 31 point lead 69-38. The Lady Saint starters would begin to find themselves resting on the bench midway through the half but that didn’t stop the lead from growing as Sumr Robinett, Kendra Spresser, and company would continue to build the Seward lead. In fact, Seward would close the game on a 19-2 run and would run away with the game at the end to the tune of a 93-46 win. The Lady Saints finished the game shooting 49% as a team while Butler struggled to just 37% from the floor. Seward outrebounded the Lady Griz as expected 48-31 and forced 28 Butler turnovers and committed just 11 themselves.
Rachel Barnes finished a memorable performance on sophomore night with 33 points and 6 rebounds on 14 of 17 shooting while also picking up 6 steals and 5 assists in the win. Sumr Robinett had her best game as a Lady Saint scoring 15 points and pulling down a game high 13 rebounds in 25 minutes of work. A trio of Lady Saints scored 11 points in the game as Megan Lassley finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals, Kendra Spresser finished with 11 points and 4 rebounds, and Sheila Washington ended the night with 11 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds.
The win gives Seward the outright Jayhawk West Conference Championship with a 15-1 conference record and moves them to 28-2 overall on the season. They will now take on Allen County in the first round of the Region VI Tournament at home Tuesday night at 6:00. With a win, the Lady Saints will then move onto Wichita Friday night where they will take on the winner of the Coffeyville/Butler game at 7:00 in Koch Arena. Free tickets for Tuesday’s play-in game can be found at Seaboard Foods (1120 N. Washington), Stu Emmert, Pizza Hut, and First National Bank in Liberal.

The Seward County Saints weren’t buying into the old cliché that ‘this game doesn’t mean anything’ Saturday night as they took on the 15th ranked Butler Grizzlies in the Greenhouse on Sophomore Night. While Butler already had a share of the conference title clinched and the Saints were locked into the 3rd seed in the West win or lose, the two teams came out ready for a battle and that was what they both got as the game went down to the wire with Seward coming out on top of the 80-75 decision to end the Grizzlies 12 game win streak.
The start of this one didn’t exactly play out to script as most expected a high flying offensive explosion early as the region’s top two scoring teams went head to head. It was anything but that for the first 7 minutes of the game as the game was tied at just 4 apiece as the 13:00 mark hit the clock. Latiq Agard would give the Saints their first lead of the contest at 6-4 at the 12:44 mark and after a Butler free throw, Donte McCarter would tack onto the lead with a three pointer to put Seward up 4. The Grizzlies would go on a 7-0 run in the next two minutes and take a 3 point lead of their own but Robert Sigala would connect from deep to end the run and tie the game back up at 16. The Saints would take over the rest of the half and would find themselves up 9 after a bucket and a foul on Marcus James. With the score now 32-26 after a pair of free throws for Butler, Agard hit a 10 foot jumper as time wound down in the half and the Saints went up 8, 34-26 as the teams broke for the locker rooms. The Saints shot 46% and held Butler to just 33% shooting in the first 20 minutes.
The Saints pushed the lead to double digits early in the 2nd half on a finish from James assisted by Sigala. However, Butler would go on a mini 6-0 run, capped by an alley-oop dunk by Caleb Walker to slice the lead to just 4 at 38-34. Marky Nolen would put Seward up 7 shortly with a hoop and a foul but the Grizzlies went on another 7-0 burst to erase the lead and tie the game at 41 each. The teams would go back and forth for the next 3 minutes and the game would remain tied at 47 with 12:05 to go. Offense wouldn’t lack in the next 5 minutes and Butler showed why they were the top team in the Jayhawk West as the Grizzlies quickened the tempo of the game with the Saints a step behind as they pushed out to a 9 point 66-57 lead on a three pointer from Kyle Sloan. Just when it looked like the Saints were going to go down easy, they held Butler scoreless for nearly 3 minutes while going on a 10-0 run to retake the lead 67-66 as Sigala became hot. The sophomore from Liberal scored 9 of the 10 Seward points in the run including a three pointer falling into the Seward bench to bring the game to within one. The teams would trade baskets in the next 2 minutes and with 2:43 remaining on the clock, the game was tied for the 6th time, 72-72. After a foul was called on Butler’s DuShawn Brooks on the inbound, the sophomore apparently said something to the disliking of the man in stripes and was issued a technical foul for his actions. The foul and the technical foul sent Agard to the line for 4 free throw attempts, 3 of which he connected on to put the Saints up 75-72. Butler would miss three pointers twice on their next possession and Agard was again able to find the bottom of the net on a jumper to put the home team up 5 at 77-72 with 1:10 to go. The Grizzlies Anthony Cousin would drive coast to coast on the ensuing play and it was again a 3 point game 77-74. That was as close as Butler would get however, as another free throw from Agard and a steal by Nolen who fed it ahead for a slam by Sigala would seal the deal for the Grizzlies as the Saints would come out on top 80-75. Seward shot 56% in the second half compared to just 46% for the Grizzlies and the Saints cashed in 16 of 22 free throw attempts to 11 for 16 from the guys from El Dorado. The win snapped the 12 game winning streak Butler came into the game holding but thankfully for the Grizzlies, Hutchinson was handled by Cloud County to allow the Griz to hang onto their #1 seed coming out of the West for the Region VI Tournament.
Statistically for the Saints Latiq Agard scored 21 on 7 of 11 shooting and also dished out a team high 5 assists while Robert Sigala continues to gain steam coming down the stretch, topping his previous career high set last week with a new career high 21 Saturday. Sigala finished the game shooting 7 for 9 from the field and a perfect 5 for 5 from the three point line in the win. Marky Nolen put in 29 minutes of hard work down low for the Saints scoring 10 points and grabbing 8 boards while Donte McCarter finished in double figures as well with 10.
The win pushes the Saints to 22-8 on the season and 11-5 in Jayhawk West Conference play where they will finish 3rd heading into the Region VI Tournament. The win gives the Saints an interesting distinction as they have now beaten the top 2 teams in the Eastern Division of the Jayhawk Conference (Cowley, Coffeyville), as well as having beat every single team in the Western Division this season with the win over Butler. The Saints will kick off the Region VI Tournament at home on Tuesday against Kansas City Kansas CC who finished 6th in the Jayhawk East this season. A win would send the Saints to Wichita where they would face the winner of the Cowley/Pratt game at 5:00 Saturday evening at Koch Arena. Free tickets for Tuesday’s play-in game can be found at Seaboard Foods (1120 N. Washington), Stu Emmert, Pizza Hut, and First National Bank in Liberal.