Lets just say the Seward County Saints Baseball team will be ready to open a new chapter of their 2010 season and forget about the first when they start Jayhawk West Conference play on Saturday. After opening the season 1-3 with a pair of double dips against Northeaster and Clarendon, the Saints headed to Texas last weekend to take on Midland in a four game set before tangling in an ice bowl double header with New Mexico JC Monday.
The start of their trip would more less set the stage for a somewhat forgettable three day span as in game one against Midland the Saint seemed to be in business in their first at bats after a pair of batters reached with two outs. After David Morgan singled, Luke Campbell was hung up between 3rd and home where he was tagged out and the Chaps avoided an early deficit. Midland took advantage of that momentum as they would score 4 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning to take the 4-0 lead. It didnít get any better for Seward as after a 1-2-3 inning in the top half, Midland tacked on 2 more runs to make it 6-0 after starter Jared Wagner walked the leadoff hitter and allowed him to score for the second straight frame. The Saints would get it going in the 3rd as 3 hits and 4 free passes turned into 5 runs, highlighted by back to back bases loaded walks and a two out, 2 RBI single from Todd Glime to cut the deficit to 1. A two out solo home run by Midland DH Casey Jackson would make it 7-5 in the bottom half of the inning and Seward would go down in order in their half of the 4th. Still in the game at just 7-4, Seward started the 4th inning with a defensive miscue that would lead to 4 unearned runs and would put them behind the eight ball with just 9 outs to go as they were down 11-4. The 5th inning was over as quick as it started as both teams went down in order and with just 2 frames to go, Seward would put up their last charge in the 6th. Ty Jacobs would single to lead off the inning and Glime would walk behind him and with one out Kelby Tomlinson would drive in the high school teammates and later score himself and the Saints were down just 3 at 11-8. Reliever Tyler Hill would give the Saints a chance in the 7th as he sat down the Chaps in order again in the bottom of the 6th but with the tying run at the plate, the two Saints pinch hitters failed to get the ball out of the infield as they fell by the count of 11-8. Tomlinson finished with 2 hits and 2 RBIís for the Saints while the middle of the Midland lineup did the work for them as their 3-4-5 hitters finished with a combined 8 RBIís including 4 from catcher Nick Smelser.


Game two wouldnít alleviate any pain from the first game mishaps as the Saints would quickly find themselves in a 6-0 hole after two innings as the bulk of the Midland order was at it again. The Chaps would score 4 in the first after taking advantage of a 1 out error and three straight hits to take the 4-0 lead exactly as they had in game one. With 2 outs, 2 strikes, and nobody on in the 2nd, Midland would get a single from Austin Taylor and a bomb to follow from Trey Whaley and put the Saints in a 6-0 hole. Kelby Tomlinson and Luke Campbell would pick up RBI singles in the 3rd as the Saints got back in it but after zeros for both teams in their next two at bats, Midland would score 4 more in the bottom of the 5th as they put on a hitting display with three consecutive doubles to put the game out of reach at 10-2. Seward would scratch a run out in the 9th as Jared Broadbent tripled and was driven in by Josh Dawson but that was it as the Saints went down again 10-3. Eight of the nine Saints starters had a hit in the game but only Dawson was able to put together a multiple hit game as he finished 2 for 4. Ty Jacobs threw 3 and 2/3rds innings of scoreless relief to close the game for Seward. An interesting side note from the day for Seward pitchers was that none of the four used by Head Coach Galen McSpadden in the two games were able to record a strikeout of a Midland hitter.


The Saints hoped Sunday would be a new day and a new day it was as sophomore Hayden Holub took the mound against Midland starter Steven Valles. Both pitchers were on early as a two out single by Luke Campbell was the only tick on the scoreboard for either team through two innings as the game was tied 0-0. The Saints broke through in the 3rd as four consecutive hits camped by RBI doubles from David Morgan and Jared Broadbent gave Seward their first lead of the series at 4-0. Holub would work his way out of traffic in the bottom of the inning and would throw the next three innings without allowing a hit and seeing just one man over the minimum. The Saints were unable to tack on until the top of the 7th when a one out Campbell double was followed by an RBI single from Dawson to bring him in and put the guys in green up 5-0. Holub would do the rest as after a leadoff walk would spark hope for the Chaps, the sophomore induced a 6-4-3 double play to erase the baserunner and would get a pop out two batters later to end the game as he finished off the complete game, 2 hit shutout. The CG shutout was the first for a Saints pitcher in over 10 months as current Texas Tech right hander Bobby Doran did it last for Seward April 19th last season in a 3-0 win over Hutchinson. Campbell, Broadbent, and Dawson combined in the middle of the Seward order to go 7 for 11 with 4 RBIís and 4 runs scored in the win.


Midland took the early lead in game four as Matt Moreno would lead off with a double and would later score on a sac fly from Trey Whaley to make it 1-0 Chaps. Todd Glime would blast a solo shot to lead off the 3rd inning to tie the score at one but Midland would quickly reclaim the lead in the bottom half with a flurry of activity on the base paths to score 3 runs and make it 4-1. Chap starter David Walking would go on to retire 14 straight Seward hitters after the Glime home run and Midland would tack on another run in the 7th to win 5-1. The Saints would finish with as many errors as hits with 3 as the first four in the Seward order just couldnít figure out Walking as they went a combined 0 for 16 in the loss. Seward starter Jose Gonzalez threw 6 1/3 innings giving up 5 runs while Paul Pulley came in for a perfect inning and 2/3 to finish it for the Saints.


With the weekend over it was a new day as the Saints traveled up to Lubbock to take on New Mexico JC in a double header at Lubbock Christian University. With their metal bats feeling like icicles in their hands, Monday was not a day for hitters as through the first three inning Seward had managed just 2 base runners and the T-Birds just a 3rd inning walk against Saints starter Cameron Maldonado. Seward got on the board first in the bottom of the 4th inning as Jared Broadbent laced a one out triple to right followed by a double from David Morgan to score him. With two outs, 1st baseman Josh Dawson came up big with a single up the middle to score Morgan and put the Saints up 2-0. That is all that the Saints big righty Maldonado would need as he retired 5 straight batters to close the game as Seward came away with the 2-0 win. Maldonado gave up just 3 hits in the complete game shutout while striking out 6 T-Bird hitters. Seward managed only 5 hits against T-Bird starter Levi Saenz but made them count as Broadbent finished 2 for 3 with a run scored and Dawson collected 2 hits as well as his RBI.


The Seward bats started out much better in game two of the double header as Kelby Tomlinson and Quay Grant started the game with back to back singles to put the Saints in business. The middle of the Saints order couldnít capitalize however and would leave the pair stranded on the sacks as the inning came to a close. Seward starter Michael Alger would retire the T-Birds in order in each of the first two innings of the game but the Saints were able to push nothing across themselves and the game was scoreless after two. Neither team could muster anything through the 3rd or 4th innings and the game stayed 0-0 into the 5th. Seward would dent the scoreboard first as Tomlinson doubled with one out and Grant drove him in just one pitch later and the Saints were up 1-0. New Mexico JC would answer though as a leadoff single and sac bunt moved 2nd baseman Carlos Senluis to second base with one out. Alger induced a ground ball to make it two outs but after a walk to shortstop Josh Pfeil, Jordan Buckley was able to come through with a two out knock to tie the game at 1 apiece. A leadoff single was stranded by Seward in the top of the 6th and the T-Birds went down 1-2-3 and the game was still 1-1 after six. Tomlinson and Grant were at it again in the top of the 7th as the two reached and set up a 2nd and 3rd, one out situation as the meat of the Seward order came into the box. Another costly RISP strikeout and pop out would end the Saints threat but Alger was able to keep NMJC off the board in the 7th as well and the game headed to extra innings. San Diego State transfer Matt Skipper quickly dispatched of the Saints in their half of the 8th as it took just 7 pitches to set them down 1-2-3 and it was now the T-Birds chance to put the game away with the snowflakes falling on the diamond. Buckley singled with one out but remained at first with two outs after a fly out by left fielder Will Corey. A two out walk would push Buckley to second and with two outs and an 0-2 count on the hitter Nicholas Hinojos, a slider hung in the zone and was bounced through the infield to score Buckley and end the game 2-1. Tomlinson and Grant provided most of the offense for Seward as they combined to go 5 for 7 atop the lineup while the rest of the Saints offense combined managed just a 2 for 25 day. Alger went 7 strong innings for Seward in his initial outing of the 2010 season yielding just one run on 5 hits. The T-Birds 9 hole hitter Buckley tormented the Saints in the game going 3 for 3 and accounting for both NMJC runs.


The Saints are now 3-7 in the early season after the 2-4 road trip but are scheduled to play their first home games this weekend as the Cloud County T-Birds are set to come to town to open up Jayhawk West Conference play. Saturdayís games are set to begin at 2:00 with Sundayís double header slated for 1:00. With already wet field conditions and impending weather moving into the area today, make sure to stay tuned to www.scccsaints.com for schedule updates.