The expectations had to be realistic as the Seward County Saints went into a four game weekend series with the #3 Howard Hawks in Big Spring, Texas. The Hawks were coming off of a National Championship season in which they went 63-1, an NJCAA record for winning percentage in a season, and this yearís Howard team is expected to have a number of players go early in the June Major League Baseball Draft.

With that said, the Saints came out not the least bit intimidated; or at least it seemed that way after shortstop Kelby Tomlinson led off the game with his first home run of the season to give the Saints a 1-0 lead after just three pitches were thrown. Unfortunately, that is all the offense that Seward would get in game one as Howard starter Burch Smith would find a way to wiggle out of jams in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings to keep the Saints off of the scoreboard. The Hawks on the other hand would put together a 14 hit afternoon and seemingly didnít stop finding the barrel from the first pitch of the game that went for a triple, to the final inning when they blasted their 4th home run of the game. A home run and back to back triples in the 3rd inning would spark a 3 run frame for Howard and a pair of home runs would highlight a 4 run 5th inning for the Hawks. They would also score single runs in the 1st, 4th, and 6th as they would come away with the 10-1 win over the Saints. Luke Campbell would finish the game with 3 hits while Jordan Dallalio went 2 for 2 and Kelby Tomlinson went 2 for 3 with the leadoff homerun. Howard cleanup man Landon Steinhagen had himself quite a ballgame with a triple in the 2nd inning and homeruns in both the 5th and 6th inning for the Hawks.

The Saints would find themselves in a quick 3-0 hole in game two as Howard would start the game with a home run, a triple, and a hit batter, all of which scored and some may have wondered if Seward was on their way to another defeat at the hands of the defending national champs. The Saints would bounce back however and after the first 6 batters of the 2nd inning would find themselves aboard for Seward, the game was tied at 3. Jordan Dallalioís double and Josh Dawsonís single were the RBI knocks in the inning while a bases loaded double play later in the inning would score a run as well. The Saints took the lead in the 3rd inning as Luke Campbell led off with a triple and Jared Broadbent would drive him in with a groundout to short but the Seward lead was short lived as Howard would score 3 in the bottom half to reclaim a 6-4 advantage. Neither team could manage a run in the 4th but the Saints would put together a big inning in the 5th to take the lead back. Broadbent would blast a one out homerun to left field and David Morgan, Dallalio, and Dawson would all single behind him to give Seward a 7-6 lead. The Saints werenít done however as Todd Glime would walk and Kelby Tomlinson would single home two more to put Seward on top 9-6 after 5. Seward reliever Paul Pulley was able to keep Howard off the board in the 5th and 6th and allowed the Saints to build on their lead in the 7th with a run and the guys in green found themselves on top 10-6 after 6 and a half innings of play. The Hawks would get a run in the bottom of the 7th to make it 10-7 but the Saints would extend on their lead in the 8th as Seward would score 2 runs without the benefit of a hit to make the score 12-7 and then tack another pair on with RBI knocks from Quay Grant and Luke Campbell to make it 14-7 Saints. Howard would get 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th to cut the Seward lead to 14-10 but would not be able to get anymore as the Saints went on to upset the #3 ranked Hawks 14-10. Pulley picked up the win for Seward in relief of starter Logan Hall as he went 4 quality innings through the middle of the game allowing just 1 run as the Saints made their comeback run. The middle of the Seward order was deadly in this one as their 3 through 7 hitters all had 2 or more hits in the game with Dallalio going 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored and Dawson going 2 for 4 with a 3 RBIís in the win.

With some confidence from a game two win under their belts, the Saints took the field Sunday looking to put even a little more pressure on the Hawks on their home field. Unfortunately for Saints fans, that simply didnít happen as Howard jumped out to a 12-0 lead after 2 innings of play and would allow just one Seward hit in the game as the Saints fell by the eventual score of 17-0. Josh Dawson picked up the only Seward hit in the shutout defeat while the Hawks scored 17 runs on just 11 hits in the game. In fact, Howard at one point in time during the contest had 9 runs on just 2 hits due in part to spotty control from the Seward pitching staff.

Seward came out with a different attitude in game four after being buried by the Hawks just 20 minutes before and would get out to a 4-0 lead after 2 innings with early inning RBIís from Josh Dawson, Jordan Dallalio, and Luke Campbell. Saints starter Jose Gonzalez was nearly flawless in through the first 3 innings as the freshman southpaw had faced just one over the minimum after 3 with just a harmless two out single in the 2nd to break up a perfect start. The Saints would increase their lead to 5-0 in the 4th as Quay Grant would single and come around to score on another RBI single from Dawson and the Saints looked to be in business with 2 outs and nobody on for Howard in the bottom half of the 4th. That is when the wheels came off for the Seward lefty as the next 7 Hawk batters would reach base courtesy of 4 hits and 3 walks and Howard would quickly find themselves on top at 6-5. The Hawks would extend upon their lead in the 5th as Kevin Sah led off the inning with a homerun, but Seward would tie it up at 7 in the 7th as they would get a pair of runs capped by a two out RBI double from Todd Glime to make it a new ballgame with 2 innings to go. Seward went down quickly in order in their half of the 8th but the same couldnít be said for the Hawks as Saints pitching faltered down the stretch, walking three straight batters and hitting another to allow 4 Howard runs, a deficit in which they couldnít overcome as they dropped the finale 11-7. Quay Grant and Josh Dawson each finished the game with 3 hits and Grant scored 3 times while Dawson knocked in a pair of runs.