For the second straight season the Seward County Lady Saints softball team went to the Pratt Tournament and took care of the competition. Last season it was a Seward team averaging 9 runs a game at the tournament to lead them to the title while this season it was a pitching staff that held opponents to under 2 runs per game that helped them take the championship.
Seward’s schedule featured familiar opponents as all three teams in the tournament were teams that the Lady Saints had already met this season. Their first matchup was with Lamar and Seward wasted little time in beating the Lopes for the third time this season. Erin Roufosse allowed just 3 base runners in the game while the Lady Saints slugged out 5 runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings highlighted by a 2 run home run from Amy Schartz and a 2 RBI single from Brianna Baron to give Roufosse all the support she would need as Seward cruised to the 5-0 victory.
The Lady Saints would then take on the home team, the Pratt Beavers. Seward was unable to cash in a pair of walks in the first inning but they did score first in the 3rd inning as Jessica Gonzalez led off with a single and was driven in on a single from Alicia Reyes to make it 1-0. Pratt would knot it at 1 in the 5th but the Lady Saints would pick up the go ahead run on a solo home run from Leah Sitter in the bottom of the 6th which would turn out to be the difference. Sydney Cicchetti came in in relief of Amy Schartz and struck out a pair in the 6th as well as the side in order in the 7th as the Lady Saints came out on top 2-1. The Lady Saints spread out 8 hits in the game as all but one Seward starter had a knock in the contest but no Lady Saint had two. Schartz threw 5 quality innings against Division II’s 15th ranked team, allowing just 2 hits and 1 run.
Seward’s fortunes would change on Sunday morning when they met Northern Oklahoma as the Mavs quickly jumped on them 2-0 in the 1st inning with a pair of RBI singles. Leah Sitter would help cut the deficit in half in the 3rd as she walked to lead off the inning and stole second before being driven in by Amy Schartz with one out. Tonkawa wasn’t done scoring though as they hit two run home runs in both the 4th and 5th innings to go up 6-1. Seward would never threaten again as they struck out 7 times in the last 3 innings and dropped the game 6-1.
On to the semifinal game of the tournament it was as Seward and Pratt entered a rematch of their game a day earlier. Sydney Cicchetti was dominate early against the Beavers and had faced the minimum through 4 innings of work. The Lady Saints on the other hand had opportunities with two runners on in the 1st, a runner on third in the 2nd, and again runners on in the 3rd and 4th but were never able to capitalize and the game was scoreless after 4. A Seward error led to an unearned run in the top of the 5th inning and the score remained 1-0 Pratt as the teams went to the final inning of play. Cicchetti did her best by keeping Pratt off of the scoreboard in the top of the inning and Leah Sitter hit a leadoff home run in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 1 apiece and send the contest to extra innings. The Beaves would go quietly in the top of the 8th and after Alicia Reyes found her way aboard to start the inning and an Amy Schartz sacrifice bunt, the Lady Saints had Reyes in scoring position with just one out. Marisa Coats made short work of the drama as the ripped a single up the middle on the first pitch she saw to plate Reyes and give the Lady Saints the 2-1 walk off win. Serena Erpelding led Seward with two hits including a triple in the game while Cicchetti threw a complete game allowing just 2 hits and 1 unearned run while striking out 6 and not walking a batter.
The walk off win for Seward set up a championship game rematch for the Lady Saints as they looked to get revenge against the only team that had beat them on the weekend, the Northern Oklahoma Mavericks. Seward struck first as they got 4 straight singles to open up the 3rd inning and scored a pair of runs on RBI knocks from Shelby Casey and Marisa Coats. The Lady Saints picked up 2 more in the 5th as a triple off the bat of Kelsea Blackstock plated Brianna Baron and Leah Sitter to make it 4-0 gals in green. Tonkawa would get something going in the bottom of the 5th but a fielder’s choice groundout would strand two runners and the lead would remain 4 for Seward. A one out single followed by some sloppy Lady Saint defense would give the Mavs their first run of the game in the 6th inning but Amy Schartz would shut them down for any more than that as Seward went on to take the championship home with a 4-1 win. Schartz went the distance for Seward in just her 2nd career start for the Lady Saints, allowing just 5 hits and 1 unearned run in the win. Alicia Reyes finished the game with 3 hits and Kelsea Blackstock added a pair as the Lady Saints moved to 13-3 on the season.