After winning all four conference games against Pratt on Monday and Tuesday and improving their Jayhawk West Conference record to 21-7 on the season, the Seward County Saints baseball team dropped both games of a double header to 21st ranked Lamar Wednesday afternoon at Brent Gould Field to fall to 4-17 out of conference play this season.
The Runnin Lopes struck right away in the 1st inning as four straight hitters would reach base, scoring a run and an RBI groundout would plate another to put Seward in a 2-0 hole as they came up for their first at bats. Using wood bats for the first time since the opening week of the season, the Saints responded immediately. Kelby Tomlinson and Quay Grant singled to start the Seward 1st and the pair would later come around to score on an RBI groundout by Josh Dawson and a one out single from Luke Campbell to even the game at 2 a piece. The Lopes would score again in the 3rd inning to take a 3-2 lead as lefties Max Milot and Tanner Waite again reached and Milot was driven in on a sacrifice fly by the middle of the Lamar lineup. Neither team would score in their next two at bats and the game remained 3-2 into the bottom of the 5th inning when the Saints got a leadoff single from Jared Broadbent that turned into a run after he stole second base and later came around to tie the game at 3 after an RBI single from Dawson with two outs. With the game tied at 3 in the 6th, the Lopes turned to small ball to produce a run on a single, a sac bunt, and a sacrifice fly to take a 4-3 lead and hand it over to their record breaking closer Brandon Ward-Hersee for the 7th. The freshman quickly blew through the Saints on 12 pitches in the inning, striking out all three batters he faced to pick up his 20th save of the season and give the Lopes the 4-3 win. While the loss wasn’t what the Saints were looking for, there were some positives to come out of game one against the visiting Lopes. Jared Wagner threw a career high 6 innings, shattering his previous career high in strikeouts with 6 while walking just 2 batters in the contest. He threw nearly 60% of his 117 pitches for strikes in the game after coming in to the matchup with Lamar with a forgettable 2-14 strikeout to walk ratio. Head Coach Galen McSpadden said of his sophomores outing “this was a big step for Jared. We know what he is capable of and we are going to need him to pitch like he can if we want to accomplish our goals this season. Today was a positive for him and hopefully we can keep building on this success.” Another positive for Seward in the loss was a different Jared, this one Jared Broadbent, who picked up a hit and 2 stolen bases after going just 1 for 12 in the 4 games previous.
In game two the Saints fell behind big early and simply couldn’t recover. The Lopes would put 4 runs on the board in the 1st inning on just 2 hits as a pair of hit by pitches and 3 straight walks pushed 3 runs in for Lamar without having to swing the bat. Two walks to start the 2nd inning for Lamar also led to a run and a hit batter and a walk would spark a 3 run 3rd frame for the Lopes to put them up 8-1. The Saints lone run in the first 3 innings would come courtesy of a two out error and subsequent double from Jared Broadbent as the sophomore started off game two where he left off game one, swinging the bat well. Broadbent would also be in the middle of the Saints next scoring opportunity as he hit a ball sharply to short that was mishandled and gave Seward their second run of the game as they trailed 8-2 in the 4th. Lope shortstop Travis Hayes would make his third error of the game to lead off the 5th inning, leading to another Seward unearned run as the Saints would again nibble down the lead, trailing now 8-3. Holding the potent Lamar lineup in check for the final 4 2/3 innings, Seward reliever Jace Moore gave the Saints a chance late but they would leave a pair of runners on in the 6th and couldn’t get anything going in the 7th as they fell 8-3. Moore allowed just 3 hits while facing 19 batters in his 4 1/3 innings of work, keeping the 21st ranked Lopes off the scoreboard during the entirety of his outing. Ty Jacobs picked up 2 hits and scored a run for the Saints while Broadbent kept his momentum at the plate going with 2 hits and an RBI while reaching base safely in all 3 at bats.
After dropping the pair, the Saints are now 25-24 on the season and will enjoy a much needed 6 day break before returning back to the diamond for action. They will next take on Clarendon in an added 9 inning game Tuesday at 3:00 at Brent Gould Field before paying a return visit to the Lopes Wednesday at Merchants Park at 3:00.