The road to a Region VI championship for the Seward County Community College softball team will be a long journey on Saturday after going 1-1 in tournament action on Friday afternoon at the Two Rivers Sports Complex in Wichita. Seward County blew out Cloud County Community College 18-0 in five innings in its opening game, before losing 6-5 against Garden City Community College. The double-elimination format still allows SCCC an opportunity to advance to the title game scheduled for 4:15 p.m. today. But it will take three victories in the loser’s bracket for the Lady Saints to make a fourth straight appearance in the championship game.

Seward County (39-18) will take on Barton County Community College (23-35) at 11 a.m. Saturday morning with the winner advancing to play at 12:45 p.m. and the loser being eliminated from post-season play.

The Lady Saints started the tournament cruising past Cloud County (1-38) in the five-inning run-rule contest. SCCC jumped out big in the first inning with 11 runs, and freshman right-handed pitcher Cara Russell tossed her first collegiate no-hitter allowing only two walks with seven strikeouts in the complete-game victory.

Seward’s top eight batters all recorded base hits, with five players tallying a multi-hit game. Sophomore catcher Melissa St. Clair led all players going 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs and six RBI.

Other key contributors in the victory over Cloud was Katelyn Glenn (2-for-2, double, RBI), Alicia Gonzales (2-for-3, three RBI) and Lindsay Garchinski (2-for-4, three RBI).

During the regular season, Seward County defeated Garden City three out of four meetings, but the Lady Busters were able to hold on to the 6-5 win to send SCCC into the loser’s bracket.

Garden City scored in the top of the first inning on a two-run home run by sophomore Kirsten Bahr off of Lady Saints’ starting pitcher Courtney Auger.

Seward County plated a run in the third frame with a RBI single to right field by Garchinski. The Lady Saints then tied the score at two apiece with a solo home run to center field from second baseman Rachel Adaza.

Auger, who recently was named the Jayhawk West Conference Most Valuable Player and Freshman of the Year, settled down in the circle picking up three straight scoreless innings in the second, third and fourth innings.

The Lady Busters then used the long ball to secure the victory with four runs on a double and two home runs in the fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead.

Seward County tried to rally scoring a run in the fifth inning and two in the seventh inning, before Garden City recorded a St. Clair groundout with runners at first and third base to end the game.

Auger finished the game pitching seven innings, allowing eight base hits, six runs (four earned), with 12 strikeouts and three walks.

Gonzales went 2-for-2 with a triple and RBI, and Garchinski added a 2-for-2 performance with two RBIs.

NJCAA D-I REGION VI TOURNAMENT SCORES (FRIDAY):
No. 4 Colby defeated No. 5 Barton County, 4-3 (9)
No. 3 Garden City defeated No. 6 Neosho County, 9-4
No. 2 Seward County defeated No. 7 Cloud County, 18-0 (5)
No. 1 Butler defeated No. 4 Colby, 12-0
No. 3 Garden City defeated No. 2 Seward County, 6-5
No. 6 Neosho County defeated No. 7 Cloud County, 12-2 (5)

SCHEDULE FOR SATURDAY, MAY 3
Game 7: 11 a.m. Seward County (39-18) vs. Barton County (23-35) – Field 6
Game 8: 11 a.m. Colby (30-31) vs. Neosho County (14-35) – Field 5
Game 9: 12:45 p.m. Butler (46-6) vs. Garden City (34-15) – Field 6
Game 10: 12:45 p.m. Seward/Barton winner vs. Neosho/Colby winner – Field 5
Game 11: 2:30 p.m. Loser’s Bracket winner vs. Butler/Garden City loser – Field 5
Game 12: 4:15 p.m. Butler/Garden winner vs. Loser’s Bracket winner (Championship) – Field 5
Game 13: “If Necessary Game” – Field 5