It was a highly anticipated matchup. Two teams that reached the NJCAA National Tournament last season going head to head in non-conference action. Unfortunately for viewers of the game, it wasn’t the prettiest of matchups, but for Seward County fans, the results were just fine as the Lady Saints took care of the Rattlers 1-0 and 4-1 to move to 7-0 on the season.
With a change of venue due to weather in the Liberal area, the Lady Saints headed to La Junta to take on Otero, perennially the best team in Region IX softball. Both teams went down in order in the first inning but Seward quickly got something brewing in the second as Brianna Baron walked to lead off the inning. After another walk and a fielder’s choice ground out, the Lady Saints had runners on 1st and 3rd with just one out. Unable to capitalize on the situation immediately, the Lady Saints struck out to keep runners on the corners now with two away. Brittany Demas walked to load the bases and Lynda Musick worked a full count before drawing a walk and picking up an RBI as Baron trotted across the plate to make it 1-0 Seward. Seward starting pitcher Erin Roufosse would do the rest as she retired the first 10 hitters she faced in the game before allowing a one out single in the 4th. However, the Lady Saints weren’t able to muster anything themselves as after the bases loaded walk, 11 straight of their batters were unable to reach base. The game was still 1-0 going to the 7th inning as the Lady Saints were still being no-hit despite holding the lead. With one out in the top of the inning, Leah Sitter was able to poke a hit to left field to break up the no hitter but was thrown out on the bases to end the threat to OJC. Roufosse continued her dominance of the Rattlers in Otero’s last at bat as the sophomore struck out the first two hitters swinging before getting a one hop comebacker to herself to end the game. Only the single by Erica Christie in the 4th kept Roufosse from throwing a perfect game and only the single by Sitter in the 7th inning kept Otero pitcher Shannon Traxinger from throwing a no-hitter of her own in the loss.
After a stern talking to by Head Coach Andrea Gustafson between games, the Lady Saints decided they didn’t want the speech again after game two and got on the board early in that one. Alicia Reyes singled to lead off the game and after a fielder’s choice by Shelby Casey, Marisa Coats sent a ball sailing over the left field wall for her first home run of the season to put the Lady Saints up 2-0. Seward would find themselves in business again in the second, but were unable to move runners from 1st and 2nd with 1 out and stranded the pair on a pop up to end the threat. Otero threatened as well in their half of the 2nd inning as a pair of singles to open the inning had them with runners at 1st and 2nd with nobody out. A big strikeout of Laura Abellanida by Seward pitcher Sydney Cicchetti and an induced pop up to the catcher after that had Seward fans breathing a sigh of relief. However, Cicchetti walked the next hitter to load the bases but struck out the next hitter to end the Otero half of the inning. Both pitchers were sharp through the next two innings and the game remained 2-0 Seward going to the 5th. A dropped fly ball by left fielder Erica Christie to lead off the 5th inning followed by back to back singles from Reyes and Casey put another run on the board for Seward and the Lady Saints led 3-0. Seward would tack another run on thanks to a leadoff double in the 6th from Kelsea Blackstock who was later driven in by Lynda Musick to make it 4-0 and put it out of reach for the Rattlers. A leadoff home run in the bottom of the 6th for Regina Aragon is all Otero could come up with as the Lady Saints went on to win 4-1. The top of the Seward order was strong in the win as Reyes, Casey, and Coats all finished with 2 hits apiece while Cicchetti did the rest, allowing just one run while striking out 6 in the victory.