The Seward County Lady Saints softball team picked up two huge Jayhawk West Conference wins Tuesday at Lady Saints Field with 2-0 and 5-0 shutouts of previously 17-1 Butler to move to 4-2 in conference play.
Seward got the scoring started in the 2nd inning as Brianna Baron doubled to lead off the frame and later scored on an RBI groundout from Kelsea Blackstock to make it 1-0 gals in green after 2. Leah Sitter would walk to lead off the 3rd inning for the Lady Saints and after a sacrifice bunt from Shelby Casey, would come around to score on an infield single from Marisa Coats to stake Seward to a 2-0 lead. Seward wouldn’t see another base runner reach base but they would need no more offense in this one as Erin Roufosse dealt her way through the Butler lineup allowing just 3 hits in the game, battling out of a jam in the 6th inning and finishing with a 1-2-3 7th as Seward collected the 2-0 win over the rival Lady Grizzlies. Each team would get just 3 hits in the game as Roufosse tossed the complete game shutout and Regina Lehr came in out of the Butler bullpen to throw 2 perfect innings of relief.
In game two the Lady Saints sent Sydney Cicchetti to the circle as the Lady Grizzlies looked to flip the script on the home team. The Seward freshman set the tone setting Butler down in order in the 1st inning and allowing her team to take an early lead in their first at bats. Alicia Reyes singled to lead off the Seward 1st and was moved around on a fielder’s choice and a single as the Lady Saints loaded the bases with one out in the inning. They didn’t waste any time in getting those runners moving as Brittany Kent scalded the first pitch she saw over the right fielders head, against a stiff breeze blowing in from right to score a pair and put the Lady Saints up 2-0. With Brianna Baron on third and Kent on second, Kelsea Blackstock hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Baron and after a throwing error by the right fielder Courtney Harp, Kent was able to trot her way home and put Seward up 4-0. Neither team would get on the board in the 2nd inning and Butler would threaten but couldn’t push anything across in the 3rd after they loaded the bases with two outs and the score would stay 4-0 into the 4th. Seward found themselves in another scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 4th inning as the bases were loaded with just one out as Shelby Casey flied to center field, but after a dart thrown home from Butler center fielder Ashley Reyes to cut down Lauren Barker trying to score, the Lady Saints were retired without a run crossing the plate and 4-0 remained the score to the 5th. Butler would go down in order in the top of the 5th and Seward would strand a pair and the score was still 4-0 after 5. The Lady Griz couldn’t do anything with a leadoff single in the 6th and Marisa Coats would pick up a Texas League two out RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to add an insurance run for Seward and push the lead to 5-0 with just 3 Butler outs left in the game. The rival Grizzlies wouldn’t go down without a fight as they put two runners on in the 7th but leading hitter Blair Brooks would groundout to end the game and the Lady Saints would pick up a big Jayhawk West sweep on the day with the 5-0 win. Reyes, Baron, and Kent all had 2 hits in the game with Kent again getting the big blow in the game with the bases loaded double in the 1st. Cicchetti went the distance allowing just 5 hits and 1 walk in the shutout while striking out 4 Lady Grizzlies. Much of the Seward pitching and defensive success on the day came thanks to keeping Butler speedsters Blair Brooks and Kacy Covert off the base paths. Coming into the double header the two were a combined 47 for 47 in stolen base attempts on the year with a combined .522 batting average. The two against Seward on Tuesday were just 3 for 13 and Brooks was gunned down in the only stolen base attempt of the day for Butler.
The two wins improve the Lady Saints to 28-7 on the season and push them to 4-2 in the Jayhawk West Conference. They are now tied atop the standings with Colby who is 5-3 and are 1 game ahead of 3-3 Butler. More good news came to the Lady Saints early Wednesday morning as they moved up two spots in the most recent NJCAA National Top 20 poll to #7, once again the highest ranking in school history. The 7th ranked Lady Saints take on Dodge City in non-conference action Thursday at 2:00 at Lady Saints Field before taking the week off and heading to Garden City for a big Jayhawk West tilt next Wednesday afternoon at 3:00.