After starting the season unranked in the NJCAA polls after finishing 7th at last yearís NJCAA National Tournament, the Seward County Lady Saints had something to prove to the rest of the country. With two dominating wins over 15th ranked Pratt Tuesday at home, they probably opened a few eyes to realize that this yearís Lady Saint team is back for more.
After their season opening tournament in Texas was cancelled, the Lady Saints opened up their 2010 season Tuesday with a non-conference double header against D2ís #15 team, the Pratt Lady Beavers. Seward found themselves in a little bit of trouble early in game one as the Beavs loaded the bases in the 1st inning but Seward pitcher Erin Roufosse was able to pitch her way out of trouble as she struck out the side and left the sacks jacked to thwart a Pratt threat. In the Seward half of the first, the Lady Saints would take advantage of a Pratt error as Brianna Baron drove in Shelby Casey with two outs to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Apparently 1 wasnít enough for Seward as they blew the game open in the 2nd with a 6 run inning as they batted around and collected a 2 RBI triple from Brittany Kent to conclude the scoring and take a 7-0 lead. Pratt would pick up a run in the 3rd as they rapped three straight hits but Roufosse would again end the threat with a strikeout as Pratt would leave two on to end the inning. With the score 7-1 going to the bottom of the 4th inning, the Lady Saints decided that they didnít feel like playing a full seven innings since they still had one more game to go in the day and subsequently scored 4 runs in the inning, highlighted by a 2 RBI triple from Leah Sitter to give themselves an 11-1 lead. After giving up a leadoff single, Roufosse would mow the Beavers down after that finishing the game in style with her 9th strikeout as the Lady Saints picked up the 11-1 run rule win. Eight Lady Saints got a hit in the affair and seven picked up RBIís including a pair of knocks from catcher Marisa Coats and 2 RBI games from Kent and Sitter.
The Lady Saints wouldnít take their foot off the gas in game two as they sent freshman pitcher Sydney Cicchetti to the mound for her first collegiate start. The rookie didnít show any sign of nervousness as she started her career setting the bar high by punching out the first three Pratt batters in order. Seward went quietly in the first as well and after two more Kís for Cicchetti in the top of the 2nd the game remained scoreless going to the bottom half of the inning. Seward coaxed a pair of one out walks to set the table for the bottom of their lineup as Lynda Musick walked up with two on and two out. The freshman outfielder took advantage of her first RBI opportunity and knocked in both runs with a shot over 3rd baseman Naomi Hillís head to put Seward on the board first 2-0. Cicchetti again fanned the side in the 3rd inning but Seward couldnít capitalize on a pair of Pratt errors in the bottom half of the inning as they left two runners in scoring position and the score remained 2-0 after three. Pratt went 1-2-3 in the top of the 4th inning and Brittany Kent followed a Kelsea Blackstock leadoff single with an RBI triple to put Seward up 3-0. That was the score in the 5th when Alicia Reyes found herself all the way to third base after a single and a two base error by Pratt left fielder Lety Perez to set up another run scoring opportunity for the Lady Saints. Shelby Casey wasted no time with the runner on third and one out as she drove an 0-1 pitch to center field for a sac fly to put Seward up 4-0 as Reyes would come in to score. Another quick offensive half of an inning for Pratt in the 6th set Seward up to tack on insurance runs in their half of the 6th, and that they did as a two out Pratt error would give Serena Erpelding the opportunity to knock in Leah Sitter to put the gals in green up comfortably 6-0. Laboring as her pitch count rose over 100 in the 7th inning, Cicchetti would allow just a single in the last inning to Pratt and strike out Perez looking to end the ballgame. The Lady Saints freshman hurler would finish the game with 12 strikeouts, allowing just 3 hits in the complete game shutout. Offensively Sewardís bottom half of the lineup carried them in this one as their last four hitters combined for 4 of the teams 6 hits and 4 of the 5 RBIís in the game.