This weekend’s Seward County/Hutchinson four game set at Hobart Detter Field was one that both teams come out of scratching their heads saying ‘what if?”. The Saints could have easily taken 3 of 4 in the series if not for a 9-4 lead evaporating into a game three loss while the Blue Dragons surely feel they could have swept the first place Saints if not for letting a 7-5 6th inning lead go in game one or leaving the bases loaded with their cleanup man up in the 8th inning of a 9-7 game number four. As it is, the teams exit the weekend exactly how they entered with the Saints atop the Jayhawk West Conference and the Dragons at .500.


Seward started the series with a bang as Kelby Tomlinson led off with a double and Quay Grant quickly singled him in to put the Saints up 1-0. The score would remain 1-0 into the bottom of the 2nd when Hutch flexed their muscles for a 4 run inning helped in large part to home runs from Ryan Mayfield and David Longmore to put the Dragons up 4-1. The Saints would cut it to 4-2 in the top of the 3rd as a two out Luke Acosta error would allow Tomlinson to score but Tomlinson would give the runs right back after a two out error would lead to a pair of Hutch runs to put the Dragons up 6-2 after 3. Two more Hutchinson errors in the 4th would give the Saints a run and RBI singles from Ty Jacobs and Jordan Dallalio in the 5th would bring Seward right back into the game at 6-5. After retiring the first two hitters of the inning on just 5 pitches, Saints starter Cameron Maldonado would yield a solo home run to Hutch first baseman Shaun Hoover and the Dragons pushed their lead to two at 7-5. After allowing a single to Tomlinson and a walk to Grant to start the Saints 6th, Hutch ace Shawn Lewick was lifted in favor of David Holman and the wheels began to come off for the Dragons. Luke Campbell would drive Tomlinson home on a ground ball to first to make it 7-6 Hutch and after back to back walks by Holman, Hutch skipper Kyle Crookes was forced to make another pitching change as he brought on his closer Andrew Urban with the bases loaded and the game on the line. After getting Saints RBI leader Josh Dawson to ground out into a fielder’s choice, Jordan Dallalio would step to the plate with two outs and the bases still full. After a six pitch battle with Urban, Dallalio poked a double down the right field line to score a pair and give the Saints the lead at 8-7 after 5 ½. Maldonado would save his best for last as the sophomore ace pitched out of a jam in the 6th inning with a runner on third and just one out before slamming the door with a 1-2-3 7th against the top of the Hutch lineup to blank the Dragons and give the Saints the 8-7 game one win. Maldonado’s final line wasn’t the prettiest of his brief Seward County career but the right hander came up big when the Saints needed him, as he pitched the final 4 innings allowing just the solo home run in the 5th, more than making up for the slow start. Tomlinson finished 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored at the top of the Seward order while Dallalio finished 2 for 3 with 3 clutch RBI’s late in the ballgame.


Game two of the series started nearly identically to game one as Kelby Tomlinson launched a double to begin the game and Quay Grant quickly drove him in with a double to center field to put the Saints up 1-0. Hutch would get that run and more back in the bottom of the inning as they put together four hits as well as a walk and a hit batter to rack up 3 runs and put themselves up 3-1 after 1. Each team would strand a runner in the 2nd without scoring and the Saints would tie the game up at 3 in the 3rd as Luke Campbell ripped a double to left to drive in Grant and Josh Dawson who both picked up one out hits to set the table. Saints starter Logan Hall stranded another Blue Dragon at third base in the bottom of the 3rd and allowed Seward to take the lead 6-3 in the 4th on three straight RBI hits from Tomlinson, Grant, and Dawson. Hutchinson cut the lead back to two in the bottom of the inning as Luke Acosta picked up a two out hit but the Dragons cost themselves more damage after two runners were tagged out at home in the inning. Tyler Hill would lead off the Saints 5th with a single and would later be joined by Todd Glime on the base paths after the Saints backstop was hit by a pitch. With two on and two out Kelby Tomlinson blasted a 2-0 Taylor Burns offering over the center field wall for his second home run of the season to put the guys in green up 9-4. Hutchinson would get back to back doubles to open their half of the 5th inning to score a run but they would only get one as Hall would induce a pair of pop ups and get a strikeout to limit the damage to 1 and keep the Saints on top 9-5. The Saints would go down in order in the 6th and Hutch would take the moment to build on their momentum as they readied for a late charge. A leadoff double and wild pitch would set up a sacrifice fly for Jamell Cervantez and with the bases clear and one out the floodgates would open. Five straight Blue Dragons would pick up hits and four would score off of Hall and reliever Michael Alger as the Saints 5 run lead was gone, now trailing 10-9. Still with three innings left the Saints had some time to work but Hutch reliever Taylor Burns figured it was his time to get in a grove and after retiring six straight Saints in the 7th and 8th innings, the Dragons tacked an unearned insurance run on in the 8th to go up 11-9. Burns was back out for the 9th and after getting the first two batters he saw and getting the third to hit a ground ball to second, Luke Acosta made an error to extend the game and bring the tying run to the plate for Seward. That would be the end of Burns’ day but closer Andrew Urban would strike out the only batter he would face for the save and give Hutch the 11-9 game two win. The top of the Saints order was deadly in the loss going 11 for 20 with 9 RBI’s but the their 5-9 hitters were less than impressive going just 3 for 21 in the loss. Grant finished 4 for 5 on the day with a pair of RBI’s while leadoff man Kelby Tomlinson went 3 for 5 and accounted for 7 runs with 3 scored and 4 driven in. Campbell was 2 for 5 in the game with 2 RBI’s and Dawson ended the contest with 2 hits, a run scored, and an RBI.


Game three, simply put, would just never go the Saints way. After a 1-2-3 first on offense, Seward would fall behind 3-0 in the bottom half of the inning as Luka Acosta put the Dragons up 2 with an RBI single and Shaun Hoover added a run on a sacrifice fly. The Saints would get their only run of the game in the 3rd as Jared Broadbent led off with a home run to make it 3-1 but the gap widened even more in the bottom half of the frame. Four straight Dragons would reach to open the inning and Jory Goldstrom and Chase Loudenback would pick up RBI knocks later on and all of a sudden the Saints found themselves in a 6-1 hole. The Seward bats would be dominated throughout this one as only a Quay Grant double would scratch the hits column for Seward other than the Broadbent home run as they fell by the eventual score of 8-1. Matthew Williams threw a complete game against the Saints on just 69 pitches, one day removed from playing shortstop for the Dragons in both contests on day one. Tyler Hill pitched 3 1/3 innings out of the bullpen for the Saints allowing just 3 hits while striking out 3.


Looking for the series split in game four, the Saints came out of the gates strong picking up a pair of runs in the 1st on an RBI triple from Josh Dawson and RBI single from Luke Campbell to put them up 2-0. They would score 4 more times in the 2nd inning with an RBI groundout from Dawson, another RBI single from Campbell, and a two out RBI hit from Ty Jacobs to put them up 6-0 after 2. Seward starter Paul Pulley would retire the Dragons in order in the bottom of the 2nd and give the Saints a chance to build on their lead in the 3rd. A leadoff single from Jared Broadbent would fuel a 3 run inning for the Saints that was capped by a two run home run from Dawson to put the guys in green up 9-0 after 3. Hutchinson would begin to chip away at the lead with a run in the 3rd and 4 more in the 4th as the deficit was quickly cut in half to 9-5. Silent Seward bats would make way for the lead to shrink even more as Hutch picked up single runs in the 6th and 7th innings to cut the lead to 9-7. The Saints were again unable to score in the 8th and the Dragons were licking their lips as they looked to erase another big Seward County lead late in the game to come away with the series win. After loading the bases with one out against Saints closer Quay Grant, Hutch cleanup man Mace Krol was unable to come up with the big hit to knot the game up as Grant popped him up to short to end the threat and the inning without the Blue Dragons getting on the board. Grant would again take the ball in the 9th with the 9-7 lead but this time would make it a little bit less interesting for the home crowd as he got a pair of groundouts including a game ending double play to give the Saints the 9-7 victory and the series split. Ty Jacobs went 3 1/3 quality innings of relief for the Saints picking up the win while Grant notched his third save of the season by going 2 scoreless to end the game. Campbell and Dawson were the hitting stars for the Saints in this one as Campbell went 4 for 5 with a pair of RBI’s and Dawson went 2 for 5 with the 4 RBI’s in the win. Kelby Tomlinson had 3 hits and 2 runs scored while Grant helped his team at the plate as well as the mound with 2 runs scored and an RBI in the victory.


While the split was not exactly what the Saints were looking for on Saturday when they traveled up to Hutchinson, Head Coach Galen McSpadden and company will settle for the 2-2 road split playing in a hostile environment at Hobart-Detter for four games. The Saints did get some help this weekend as Garden City split their series with Colby and Barton took two games from Butler to keep the Saints in 1st place in the Jayhawk West even after losing the two games. They are now 17-7 in conference play and 21-20 overall, sitting 1 game up on both Garden City and Butler and 3 games ahead of Colby who currently sits in the 4 hole in the West. Seward will take on Clarendon in a midweek double header at home on Wednesday before returning to conference play Saturday and Sunday at Brent Gould Field where they will take on Pratt.