If you were to ask Seward County Head Baseball Coach Galen McSpadden what he thought of his teams play Sunday after they swept a double header at Dodge City you would have probably gotten a fairly positive response. If you would have asked him the same question Monday after the Saints had the favor returned on them by the Conqs, the response would likely have been a whole lot different. After holding the Conqs scoreless Sunday in 5-0 and 6-0 wins, the Saints managed just 1 unearned run in the two games Monday as they were beaten 10-1 in game one and 4-0 in game two to split the series at Cavalier Field.
Everything started out good for the Saints as they came into their series with Dodge City 11-1 in conference play on the season and coming off a four game sweep of Barton at home on Monday and Tuesday. The guys in green jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 3rd inning Sunday with RBI singles from Josh Dawson and Jordan Dallalio and tacked on 3 more runs in the 4th on five hits in the frame to take a 5-0 advantage. That would be 4 runs more than Seward starter Cameron Maldonado would need as the Saints ace finished the game by retiring 12 of the final 13 batters he would face as he closed out an 81 pitch complete game shutout for his 5th win of the season. The Saints right hander allowed just two runners to second base in the win and didnít allow any base runners any closer than 180 feet from home plate. He allowed just two hits in the game and struck out a season high 8 batters without walking any in the 5-0 victory. Quay Grant, Josh Dawson, and Jordan Dallalio had 2 hits apiece in the contest for the Saints while the Conqs had twice as many errors (4) than hits (2) in the loss.
Game two shaped into an unexpected pitchers dual as Dodge starter Zane Watkins who entered the game with nearly an 8.00 ERA matched up with Saints starter Logan Hall who had scuffled out of the gates after being one of the Saints top arms in the fall. The two teams offensive production nearly mirrored each other through 3 innings of play as each team had their leadoff man of the game single before being erased on an inning ending double play along with two out singles in the 3rd that would be stranded and the teams were scoreless after 3. Quay Grant led off the Saints 4th win a double and would find his way to home plate moments later on a double from Josh Dawson to put the Saints up 1-0. Dodge would get a pair on in the bottom of the inning but couldnít do anything with them as they would end the inning with 2 LOBís and the Saints remained up 1-0 midway through. Neither team would get anything going through the middle innings and it was the 7th inning before another run was scored as Seward would load the bases with no outs and score only thanks to a wild pitch to plate Jordan Dallalio with two outs to make the game 2-0 Seward. The first three batters for the Saints in the 8th would reach base and Dawson and Ty Jacobs would pick up RBI singles to give the guys in green some breathing room as they extended their lead to 4-0. The Conqs would threaten in their half of the 8th inning with runners on first and third with just one out but Rudy Krist would bounce into a double play to end the inning and the threat and the Saints would take a 4-0 lead to the 9th. The Saints werenít done scoring however as a pair of bases loaded walks would plate runs and put Seward up 6-0 and that is the score they would win by as Hall induced yet another ground ball double play in the 9th on his way to a three pitch inning to complete his 96 pitch complete game shutout in the Saints 6-0 win. The Saints freshman right hander fanned 6 Conqs and induced 4 double plays in the win. Grant finished the game 2 for 4 with 3 runs scores while Luke Campbell picked up a pair of hits and scored a pair of runs in the win. Josh Dawson added onto his team leading RBI total with 2 RBIís and Ty Jacobs finished with a 2 for 5 day.
Unfortunately for the Saints, the next two games of the series were on Monday, which was a totally different story for the guys in green. The 1st inning would tell the story for the Saints as a 1-2-3 top of the inning led off by a looking strikeout would be followed by a bottom of the 1st inning in which 1 out of the first 17 pitches of the game would find the strike zone while Dodge would score its first runs of the series in a 6 run explosion capped by a 3 run home run from left fielder Miguel Ortega as the Saints found themselves shell shocked down 6-0. Seward would manage just one hit through 5 innings and Dodge would tack on a run in the bottom of the 5th as the Saints found themselves behind 7-0 after 5. The Saints would finally scratch a run out in the 6th inning on a two out error but Dodge would score three more times in the bottom of the inning to go up 10-1 and go on to win by the same score to snap an 11 game losing streak against the Saints for Dodge City. Seward came away with just 3 hits in the game while the middle of their lineup struggled mightily going 0 for 11 in the loss.
Looking for their 4th straight Jayhawk West series win, the Saints entered game four trying to bounce back from an ugly game three loss at Cavalier Field. Throwing their rotation in reverse order against the Saints, Dodge City sent their ace TJ Millspaugh to the bump in game four and he held Seward in check through the first two inning and allowed his Conqs to take a 1-0 lead after two on a solo home run from 1st baseman Rudy Krist. The Saints remained hitless through 4 innings and Dodge took advantage scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning thanks in large part to a triple to the right center field wall from Zach Danowicz to score a pair and after 4 the Conqs led 4-0. The Saints would respond in their next at bats as Jordan Dallalio would lead off with a walk and Daniel Bruce would single to left and after a sacrifice bunt from Todd Glime the Saints were in business with runners on 2nd and 3rd with just 1 out. The threat ended unfortunately for the Saints after a pop up to 1st base and a groundout to end the inning without the Saints crossing the plate for a run. Jose Gonzalez would pitch 6 innings for the Saints keeping the score at 4-0 but Seward offense couldnít manage any scoring and the southpaw was on the hook for the loss as he left after 6 with his team behind. The Saints again threatened in the 7th inning as a Dallalio single and a Glime double would put the two in scoring position with two outs but a strikeout would end the inning and the threat and Seward was down to their final 6 outs trailing by 4. Saints reliever Paul Pulley would wriggle out of a jam in the 7th to give Seward a chance in the 8th but the Saints were unable to score after putting runners on 2nd and 3rd with 0 outs and loading the bases with 1 out, before being blanked again in the 9th to fall 4-0. Gonzalez struck out a career high 7 in the 6 innings of work while Pulley threw 2 innings out of the Seward bullpen to earn himself a likely game four start in the next series but the Saints offense just couldnít push runners home on the day leaving 10 runners on base in the 4-0 defeat.
With the split the Saints sit at 17-16 on the season and still atop the Jayhawk West Conference at 13-3. They will now look ahead to a huge weekend series upcoming at Brent Gould Field as the 2nd place and 22nd ranked team in the country, the rival Garden City Broncbusters come to down for a split Saturday/Monday four game set in Liberal, slated at 1:00 both days.