After a week long layoff following their Spring Break trip to Arizona, the Seward County Lady Saints Softball team was back in action this past weekend with a trip to North Platte, Nebraska followed by a return to conference play with a date with the Lady Trojans of Colby on Sunday. After dropping the Knights 4-0 and 14-2, they split their matchup with Colby losing game one 2-0 before taking game two 3-1 to move to 26-7 on the season and 2-2 in Jayhawk West conference play.
The trip started with a visit to North Platte, Nebraska to take on the Knights. Seward and North Platte were locked in a pitching duel early as after 5 innings were complete, each team had managed just 1 hit with the game still scoreless. The Lady Saints got on the board first in the 6th as Alicia Reyes launched a 1-0 offering over the left field fence to give Seward a 1-0 lead. North Platte would attempt to answer in the bottom half of the inning as pitcher Kayla McDonald singled to lead off the inning but would later be thrown out at third base and after a pair of Erin Roufosse strikeouts, the game stayed 1-0 in favor of Seward. In the 7th the Lady Saints would get it going as a leadoff single from Brianna Baron and a one out single from Kelsea Blackstock would set the table for Brittany Kent who sent an 0-1 pitch towering over the center field wall for a 3 run home run to put Seward up 4-0. Roufosse would cruise in the bottom of the inning through the Knight lineup and would finish the game on a comebacker that she would toss to first base to finish off the 4-0 shutout win on just 87 pitches in the game. Seward picked up just five hits in the ballgame but with the pitching performance they got from Roufosse, that would be more than enough as the sophomore ace allowed just 3 hits in the game while punching out 11 North Platte batters without walking one.
The Lady Saints got a much better start in game two of the double dip as they scored 4 1st inning runs on just 2 hits, thanks in part to a pair of Knight fielding miscues. A leadoff walk in the bottom of the inning led to 1 North Platte run but in the Lady Saints next at bat they continued to put the pressure on the home team as three consecutive singles and a walk loaded the bases for Brittany Kent who crushed a 1-2 pitch out of the park for a grand slam home run to put Seward up 9-1. Leah Sitter would pick up an RBI single for Seward in the 3rd to give them their 10th run of the game and a Kelsea Blackstock 2 run bomb in the 4th would stretch the lead to 12-1. After a single by Sitter and a double from Marisa Coats, Brianna Baron would lace her 3rd hit of the ballgame in the 5th to drive in those two and put the Lady Saints up 14-1 after 4 Ĺ innings of play. Facing a run rule loss on their own field the Knights were able to pick up one run in the bottom of the inning but would ground into a double play with two runners on to end the game and give the Lady Saints the 14-2 win. The middle of the Lady Saint lineup was deadly in the win as their 2 through 5 hitters went a combined 11 for 16 with 12 RBIís and 13 runs scored. Leading that pack were Brianna Baron who finished 3 for 4 with 3 RBIís, Kelsea Blackstock who ended the afternoon with 3 RBIís and 3 runs scored, and Brittany Kent who went 2 for 2 with 5 RBIís before exiting in the 3rd inning.
After two wins over North Platte in convincing fashion, the Lady Saints looked to continue their road show with a double header Sunday at Colby as they returned to Jayhawk West Conference play. Apparently someone forgot to remind the bats to come with them as they re-entered Kansas as the Lady Saints were shutout picking up just 3 hits in a 2-0 loss to the Lady Trojans. Colby scored an unearned run in the 4th inning on a two out error and picked up another in the 6th on a 2 out RBI double from Peggy Nichols while Seward threatened in 7th with one runner being thrown out at the plate and two runners left on as the game came to the end. Kelsea Blackstock, Brittany Kent, and Lynda Musick picked up the only Seward hits in the game.
Seward nearly equaled their offensive production in game one in the 1st inning with a one out single from Shelby Casey followed by a double from Marisa Coats but the Lady Saints couldnít capitalize as they left the pair stranded to end the inning. Colby would take a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning as game one pitcher Holly Denny would hit a home run on the first pitch of the inning and Seward was again behind. The Lady Saints matched the Colby home run with a first pitch bomb of their own as Lauren Barker went up top on the initial pitch of the 3rd inning and the game was tied at 1 after 3. Neither team could push a run across in the 4th inning and Seward would take their first lead of the game in the 5th as Lynda Musick drilled a two out single to score Brianna Baron to put the Lady Saints ahead 2-1. Baron would pick up a 2 out RBI single as well in the 6th inning to score Alicia Reyes and Seward would find themselves ahead 3-1 after 6. Colby would put together a furious rally in the bottom of the 7th inning getting the tying run to second base with just one out and loading the bases with two outs, but they couldnít push a run across against Seward starter Sydney Cicchetti as the Lady Saints would hold on to win 3-1 and manage the split. The Lady Saints outhit Colby 14 to 5 in the game as they got hits from 8 of 9 starters including a 4 for 4 day from Brittany Kent and a 3 hit effort from Brianna Baron for the second time in 3 games.