Freshman Mikel Huston led the Seward County Community College baseball team to a doubleheader sweep over Barton County Community College on Sunday afternoon at Brent Gould Field in Liberal. Huston hit a two-run RBI single in the seventh inning to tie the game and followed with a walk-off game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Seward County a 9-8 come-from-behind victory in game one. The Saints completed the four-game conference sweep over the Cougars with a 6-4 win in the nightcap, as Huston went 2-for-3 with two RBI. The first-place Saints have now won 11 straight games and improve to 22-12 overall and to 13-3 in league play. Barton County has now lost five straight games and is 16-15 overall and 11-9 in the Jayhawk West.

The Saints battled back in game one after trailing 7-2, as the Cougars chased Saints’ starting pitcher Bobby Doran after 2.1 innings of work. Doran exited the game in the second inning after allowing three straight hits, including Kenny Burkhead’s second extra-base hit of the game.

Seward County remained in the game thanks in large part to the relief work of sophomore Tyler Binkley. The 6-foot-6 right-hander faced 12 batters before allowing a base hit in the middle innings and allowed only one run and three base hits over six innings with one strikeout.

The Saints found opportunities as the Cougars committed four errors, which led to eight unearned runs by Seward County.

In the seventh inning, the Saints trailed 8-4 with two outs and a runner at second base. Sophomore Austin Roff followed with a chopper to the left side of the infield that wasn’t handled by Barton County third baseman Clayton Karst, to extend the Saints’ rally with runners at first and second base with two outs.

Sophomore shortstop Erik Hansen then delivered a two-run RBI single to right field scoring Davis Masters (doubled) and Roff to bring the Saints within two, 6-8.

Freshman second baseman Kade Kauk singled to left field, and sophomore Luke Hardcastle, who was 2-for-5, also reached base on an error by Barton County shortstop Blaine Clark to load the bases for Huston. The 6-foot-1 freshman from Greeley, Colo., then hit a hard groundball up the middle and into center field on a 2-1 pitch to score Hansen and Kauk to tie the score.

Binkley worked into the ninth inning where he was relieved by Saints’ closer Jordan McClintick with one out and a runner at first base. McClintick faced only two batters, recording a fielder’s choice and a ground out to Kauk at second base to end the Barton rally in the top of the ninth.

Huston again delivered with the game-winning hit in the ninth inning with a shot through the right side of the infield past a diving Burkhead at first base to give the Saints their 10th straight win, and third in a row over Barton County.

Huston went 3-for-5 with three RBI, Hansen finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two driven home, and Masters went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI.

McClintick earned the victory throwing 2/3 of an inning in relief. The Saints out-hit Barton County, 15-8, and both teams committed four fielding errors.

In game two, the Saints led 3-0 after five innings as Huston tallied two straight RBI singles, and Hardcastle added a run-scoring single to center field. Freshman Austin Terhune pitched 5.1 strong innings on the mound for the Saints. Terhune held the Cougars scoreless in the opening five innings while posting four strikeouts.

Barton County took the lead in the sixth inning scoring four runs, all issued to Terhune, on three base hits and two walks. McClintick again entered in relief for the Saints, where he was able to allow just one hit and pick up one strikeout in 1.2 innings of work.

Seward County regained the lead in the sixth inning scoring three runs. Sophomore first baseman Will Gowdy led off the inning with a double to left field and advanced to third base on an infield error as Kauk also reached base for the Saints.

Hardcastle lined a single into right field to tie the game at 4-4, while Brock Gifford (sacrifice fly) and David Masters (RBI single to left field) added the go-ahead-runs for the Saints. McClintick allowed only one base runner in the seventh inning as the Saints swept their second straight conference series, and improved their winning streak to 11 games.

In six Jayhawk West Conference appearances, McClintick is 4-0 with a save in 6.1 innings pitched. Huston went 2-for-3 with two RBI in game two, and is now batting .667 (16-for-24) with six doubles, 11 RBI and three stolen bases during the Saints last seven conference games.

Hardcastle went 2-for-3 with three runs, two stolen bases and two RBI, and Masters finished 2-for-4 with a RBI.

NOTES:
The Saints’ current 11-game streak is the longest winning streak by any Region VI team this season.

Seward County head baseball coach Galen McSpadden is once again closing in on monumental coaching milestone needing just four victories to win his 900th career game at Seward County. McSpadden will join Allen County head coach Val McLean (1,020-578) as the only head coaches in Region VI history to win at least 900 games. McSpadden, later this year, will join McLean and Johnson County head coach Kent Shelley as the only head coaches in Region VI history to be inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.

Sophomore catcher David Masters improved his hitting streak to 10 games on Sunday, with a 3-for-4 performance in game one and a 2-for-4 outing in game two. During Masters’ current 10-game streak, he is batting .541 (20-for-37) with four doubles, a home run and 10 RBI.

Sophomore right handed pitcher Jordan McClintick is tied for the team lead with six victories (6-1, two saves) on the mound this season. Only once this year has McClintick earned a victory while throwing in more than two innings in any appearance (four innings vs. Lamar C.C. – Feb. 24)… McClintick’s 13 career wins move him into a tie for eighth-place all-time in Seward County history for most career wins… McClintick is also nearing the top 10 in Saints’ history for most career games pitched, needing only seven more appearances to tie for ninth-place all-time.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Christian Kowalchuk needs only five strikeouts to break into the Seward County top 10 career-record book for most strikeouts. Kowalchuk, who struck out 71 batters as a freshman, will move into 10th place all-time on the Saints’ chart with 108 career Ks, moving past Curtis White (2000-01) who struck out 107 batters in his two-year career... Kowalchuk is currently ninth all-time in Seward County history for most career innings pitched (110.2).