The Seward County Saints picked up their 3rd Jayhawk West Conference series sweep of the season over Pratt on Monday & Tuesday behind strong pitching efforts from Cameron Maldonado and Michael Alger in games one and game four and a clutch game winning hit by Jace Moore in game three to help pull out the victory and keep the Saints on top of the conference standings.
The 1st place Saints and the last place Beavers finally took the field Monday night after the series was pushed back from Saturday due to heavy rain late in the week. Cameron Maldonado took the mound for the Saints in game one and the Seward ace was as advertised. He sat the Beavers down in order in the first 3 innings and allowed his team to take the lead in the bottom of the 3rd inning when Kelby Tomlinson led off with a single and later came around to score on a two out RBI single from Luke Campbell to make it 1-0 Saints after 3. An error by shortstop Skyler Sumner and a poor decision on the next play by the freshman would set the table for Ty Jacobs in the 4th inning for Seward. Jacobs would quickly take advantage of the situation and knocked in a pair to put the Saints up 3-0. Maldonado would keep cruising through the aggressive Pratt hitters as the 5th inning saw yet another 1-2-3 frame for the sophomore to allow the Saints to extend upon their lead. Two walks and a wild pitch would put runners in scoring position for the Saints leading RBI man Josh Dawson and the Seward 1st baseman would rise to the occasion like he usually does, knocking in both runners with a single to center field to put Seward up 5-0. Dawson would later move around to third with one out where Jordan Dallalio would drive him home with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-0 Saints. Maldonado still had his no-hitter intact in the 6th as he struck out the first man he faced to bring up Pratt catcher Cody Passmore to the plate. Passmore would end the no-no bid on the first pitch he saw with a single up the middle but Maldonado would erase him off the bases moments later by inducing a double play ball to end the inning and keep the shutout intact after 6. The Saints would tack on two more insurance runs in the bottom of the inning after a Beaver error with two outs but it wouldnít be needed as the Saints ace would set the Beavs down in order again in the 7th inning to give Seward the 8-0 win. Maldonado faced the minimum 21 batters in the 7 inning contest while allowing just the one hit and one walk in the game. In fact, he was so dominate on the night that no base runner reached second base in the contest after he picked up double play balls to wipe the only two runners of the night off the bases. Quay Grant and Kelby Tomlinson combined at the top of the Seward lineup to score 5 of the 8 runs in the game while the middle of their order in Dawson and Campbell drove in 4 runs.
The Saints again scored first in game two as a two out double from Josh Dawson and a pair of Pratt errors would lead to a run and put Seward up 1-0 in the 1st. The Beavers would get on the board for the first time in the series in the 2nd inning as Trey DeRouen and Ethan Elrod would pick up hits to lead off the inning and would later come around to score to make it 2-1 Pratt. Prattís third and fourth errors of the game in the 3rd would help the Saints to a big 3rd inning as they scored 4 runs thanks to a 2 run shot from Quay Grant and a 2 RBI single from Dawson to make it 5-2 Seward after 3. Logan Hall would keep the Beavs in check in the 4th and 5th innings, retiring them in order to set up the Saints offense to add on some more runs. Luke Campbell and Ty Jacobs would drive home runs in the 4th inning to make it 7-2 Saints and Grant would bring home his third run of the game in the 5th inning with two outs to stake the guys in green to a 8-2 advantage. The Saints would score again in the 7th inning after Eddie Williams led off with a walk and Kelby Tomlinson drove him home with a sacrifice fly later in the inning and the score was 9-2 with two innings to play. Pratt would get two runs in garbage time late but the Saints would go on to win 9-4 as the 9th inning came to a close. For the second straight game the Beavers had more errors than hits as in game one they had 3 to 1 and in game two they committed 9 errors to just 8 hits. Hall went the distance for Seward, throwing 111 pitches in the 9 inning, complete game victory. The freshman fanned a career high 7 Pratt hitters while moving to 5-0 in conference play this season. On the offensive side of things the Saints were led by Grant and Jacobs who each finished with 2 hits and 3 RBIís while Campbell also had a pair of hits and 3 stolen bases in the contest.
Tuesday the two teams continued their four game set at Brent Gould Field and Pratt seemed to come out a whole different ball club. They jumped all over the Saints with 3 runs in the 1st inning with two outs and took a 3-0 lead before Seward even came up to bat. For the second straight day Justin Freer started game one of the double header for Pratt and allowed just an RBI triple from Luke Campbell in the 1st as he carried a 3-1 lead into the 3rd inning. Campbell would pick up his second RBI in as many at bats in the 3rd inning with a single to drive Josh Dawson home for the second time but after 3 the Saints still trailed 3-2. Both teams would strand a pair of base runners in the 4th but Pratt would make sure to cash in on the opportunity in the 5th inning. With one out, the Beavers strung together five straight hits, scoring 3 runs to put the Saints back on their heels as they took a 6-2 lead. With their backs to the wall in the 5th, the Saints responded as they scored 5 runs with the benefit of just one hit as the Pratt bullpen imploded with 4 walks and a bean ball in the inning as they coughed up the 4 run lead to let Seward go ahead 7-6. A routine one out ground ball was not taken care of for the Saints and it came back to bite them as Cody Passmore was again the villain as he was in game one as he chopped a single through the hole to score a run with two outs and knot the game at 7. The Saints had the bottom three hitters in their order due up in the last of the 7th in the tie game and were asked to rise to the occasion. Daniel Bruce atoned for an earlier base running mistake with a one out single to bring Jace Moore to the plate for the Saints. Moore, an accomplished high school hitter who was once featured in Sports Illustrated magazine, stepped to the plate for only his seventh at bat of the season and his first in Jayhawk West Conference play. After starting 0-2, Moore battled his way back into the count at 2-2 before fouling off a pitch to extend the at bat. With the count 2-2 and Bruce on first, Moore laced a curveball just inside the third base bag into the left field corner and the race was on. As Pratt left fielder Travis Sanders finally reached the ball Bruce was on his way to third as Head Coach Galen McSpadden had his left arm waving, sending his base runner home. The throw from the outfielder hit the cutoff man as Bruce raced towards the plate but his throw was not nearly in time as the Seward right fielder crossed home plate into the arms of his teammates to give the guys in green the 8-7 walk off victory. The Saints were actually outhit in the ballgame but were saved with the clutch RBI double off the bat of the freshman Moore, who was more less in the game for defensive purposes to start the 7th inning. Campbell finished the game a perfect 3 for 3 for Seward, driving in a pair of runs as well as stealing his fourth base in two games in the process. Dawson finished with his third straight multi-hit game, picking up 2 knocks and scoring 2 runs in the 8-7 win. Quay Grant picked up the win on the mound for the Saints, throwing the 6th and 7th frames while allowing just 1 hit and 1 unearned run in the 2 innings of work.
The Saints wouldnít have quite the drama in game four as Michael Alger took the hill for his second start of the 2010 season. The Saints would give him a lead right away as they strung together three consecutive singles with two outs in the first to get out to a 1-0 lead with the RBI going to Ty Jacobs. Jacobs would be back at it in the 3th inning as he singled home Quay Grant and Josh Dawson for his second and third RBIís of the game and later scored on an error by shortstop Tucker Neal to put the home team up 4-0. Seward would end up getting 4 runs in the inning and took a 5-0 lead into the 4th but the lead would expand shortly as Luke Campbell would drive home Kelby Tomlinson with a sacrifice fly and Grant would score on a passed ball to make it 7-0 Saints. With the bases now clear, Jacobs decided to have a little fun and fun he had as he lifted a 2-1 Edgar Melendez pitch into the trees over the left field wall for his third home run of the season to put Seward up 8-0. Alger would keep the Beavers off the scoreboard until the 6th when the top of their lineup would produce a couple of runs but the Saints still led 8-2. After scoring 7 times in the 3rd and 4th innings, the Saints were given goose eggs by the Pratt bullpen in the next 3 innings but with the help of two Pratt errors and RBI doubles from Dawson and Jacobs, would score 3 times and go up 11-2 after 8. Pratt would score twice in the 9th off of Saints reliever Jose Gonzalez but the Beavs committed a cardinal sin in the game of baseball as Jacob Hollis was gunned down trying to stretch a double into a triple with two outs and was called out at third base for the final out of the inning and subsequently the ballgame as the Saints took home the 11-4 win. Alger went a career best 7 1/3 innings in the victory, allowing just 2 runs while striking out 6. Jacobs was the hero at the plate in game four, going 4 for 5 with 5 RBIís and scoring 2 Seward County runs. The sophomore 2nd baseman finished the series with the Beavers hitting an even .500 with 10 RBIís in just 4 games. Dawson and Grant finished the game with a combined 5 hits and 5 runs scored while Campbell drove in a pair and Tomlinson scored a pair in the win.
The four game sweep takes the Saints to 21-7 in Jayhawk West Conference play and 25-22 overall on the season. They currently sit in 1st place in the conference with a one game lead on Butler and a two game lead on 3rd place Garden City. The Saints will sit back and watch this weekend as the Grizzlies and Busters do battle in Garden City while they sit back and heal up on their bye weekend as they prepare for Colby on May 1st and 2nd. They will take on Clarendon in an added non-conference game on Tuesday at home for sophomore day before traveling to Lamar for their return part of their home and home with the Lopes on Wednesday.