The Seward County Community College softball team won its seventh and eighth games in a row heading into the post-season with a Division I Region VI doubleheader sweep over Neosho County Community College, 14-4 and 14-6, with both games ending premature due to the five-inning mercy rule. Six Lady Saints, who have helped lead the Lady Saints’ program to 87 wins in two years, were honored between games on Sunday afternoon during sophomore recognition at Lady Saints Softball Field in Liberal. Freshman Cara Russell ended game one in the fifth inning with a walk-off grand slam, and sophomore Jennifer Collins hit two homers on the day to help give Seward County the four-game series sweep over Neosho County.

The Lady Saints end the regular season with a 38-17 overall record, and they enter the NJCAA Division I Region VI Tournament as the No. 2 seed with a 20-4 district record. Neosho County drops to 13-32 overall and will be the No. 6 (6-18 district record) in the upcoming Region VI Tournament. Seward County will face No. 7 district seed Cloud County Community College (1-34, 0-22) in the first round on Friday, May 2, at 3 p.m. at the Two Rivers Sports Complex in Wichita.

Seward County had a big day offensively batting .375 (21-for-56), and they took advantage of 14 errors committed by the Neosho County defense.

The Lady Saints needed three runs in the bottom of the first inning to tie the score at 3-3, after the Lady Panthers scored three unearned runs in the top of the first. Seward County’s offensive attack continued to plate runs scoring three in the second, one in the fourth and seven in the fifth inning to end the game after five innings.

Russell collected the big hit with a grand slam to left field with two outs in the fifth frame. Eight Seward County position players tallied a base hit, including Lindsay Garchinski (2-for-3, two doubles), and Rachel Adaza (2-for-3, double) who led the Lady Saints with multi-hit games and three RBI apiece. Collins was issued three walks, but made her only at-bat count with a two-run home run in the second inning.

Sophomore pitcher Courtney Auger earned the victory allowing three hits, four runs (no earned runs), six walks and posting seven strikeouts. Auger finished the regular season with a 1.14 earned run average, 21 victories and 280 strikeouts in 177.2 innings pitched.

In game two, Seward County actually trailed 2-1 after the first inning, but took the lead 4-2 after freshman Alicia Gonzales tagged a two-run double to left field in the bottom of the second inning.

Collins hit her second home run of the day, and ninth of the season, with a two-run blast in the fourth inning during the Lady Saints’ eight-run inning. In 169 at-bats this season, Collins now has more home runs (9) than strikeouts (7) at the plate.

Seward County collected 11 base hits in its final home game of the season while Neosho committed eight errors in the field.

Gonzales (2-for-2, four RBI), Garchinski (2-for-4, two RBI), Adaza (2-for-3) and freshman shortstop Tasia McEntire (2-for-3, RBI) all had at least two hits for SCCC.

Russell was a double-threat on Sunday collecting her 15th win of the season in the circle allowing seven hits, six runs (two earned) and recording five strikeouts.

Sixth-year head coach Andrea Gustafson has now led the Lady Saints to at least 37 victories for the fourth straight season. During that time span, Gustafson has guided SCCC to an overall record of 170-74 (.697), including a 51-13 (.797) record in Jayhawk West competition.