For the third straight season, the Seward County Lady Saints are champions of the Pratt Tournament. Seward would get a first round bye before knocking off Northern Oklahoma 5-2 on Saturday and would then beat the home team 7-2 in the semis before blowing them out in the title game 9-1.

The Lady Saints first game of the weekend would pit them against Northern Oklahoma for the two teams third meeting of the season. Seward would be the visiting team in the game and would get on the board right away after Breanna Diaz singled to start the game and would score a short time later on a double by Jill Grounds to make it 1-0 Lady Saints right away. The Mavs would answer in the bottom of the inning as a one out single, a stolen base and an error would set up an RBI groundout to even things at 1-1. Both teams went without much action in the 2nd inning to keep the score 1-1 and the combination of Diaz and Grounds would strike again for the Lady Saints in the top of the 3rd. Diaz would single with one out and with two outs Grounds would bring her home with a two run home run and with one swing of the bat Seward would take a 3-1 lead. Northern Oklahoma wouldn’t be able to capitalize on a Seward error in the bottom of the inning and each team would strand a runner in the 4th to keep it 3-1 Seward after 4. The teams would trade runs again in the 5th inning as Bianca Adame drove in a run with an RBI single for Seward and three straight Lady Saints errors would gift wrap a run for the Mavs but Sydney Cicchetti would strand the bases loaded after getting a pop up to end the inning and the threat to keep the Lady Saints on top 4-2. The 6th inning would be a quick one for the gals in green as they went 1-2-3 and Northern Oklahoma looked like they were going to make some noise as they picked up back to back hits to open their half of the frame to bring the go ahead run to the plate. Cicchetti would lock things down after that however, as the Lady Saints sophomore ace got a strikeout two pop outs to keep the runners in their tracks and keep Seward up 4-2 to start the 7th inning. Seward would put the pressure on the Mavs in the top of the 7th as they picked up two hits, a walk, and a Northern Oklahoma error, but would score just one run to go ahead by three as the Mavs came up for their last at bats. A leadoff double wouldn’t equate to anything for Northern Oklahoma in their final at bats and the Lady Saints would cruise to their third win over the Mavs this season with the 5-2 final score. Seward’s offense would be top heavy in the win as their 1-3 hitters did almost all the damage, picking up 6 of their 9 hits while the Lady Saints 5-8 hitters combined for an 0 for 12 goose egg on the afternoon. Diaz was stellar at the top, going 3 for 4 with a pair of runs scored while Grounds finished the game 2 for 2 with 3 RBI’s. Catcher Ashley Sullivan also performed well for Seward, going 2 for 3 from the nine hole while scoring a run. Cicchetti got the win by throwing 138 pitches and not allowing an earned run in the complete game victory.
In the semifinals the Lady Saints would matchup with the home team, the Pratt Lady Beavers, a team that Seward had already knocked off twice earlier this season at home. Both teams struggled with the bats early, unable to cash in base runners in the 1st or 2nd innings to keep the game scoreless into the 3rd. Sullivan would single to lead off the Seward 3rd but three straight fly outs on the infield from the top of the Lady Saints lineup would leave her stranded and keep the score 0-0. Pratt would take advantage of the misstep by the Lady Saints as they strung together three singles in the bottom of the inning and would be able to pick up a pair of runs to take a 2-0 lead after 3. Seward would cut the lead in half with a leadoff double from Duford and a groundout by Monique Lopez to make it a 2-1 game after 4. The Lady Saints would keep the pressure on the Lady Beavers in the 5th as Leah Sitter and Sullivan singled to start the inning and would come around to score later on to highlight a four run inning for Seward to give them their first lead of the day at 5-2. Lady Saints starter Blaire Taylor would settle into a nice little groove after a pair of 4th inning walks and would get the Lady Beavers in order in the top of the 5th to preserve the 5-2 lead. Seward would get two more runs in the top of the 6th as the bottom of the order again got things moving as Adame and Sitter would cross the plate to put the Lady Saints comfortably ahead 7-2. Taylor would make the lead stand up as she would go her third and fourth straight innings without allowing a hit in the 6th and 7th to wrap up the 7-2 win for the Lady Saints. Taylor would go the distance while allowing just 3 hits and 1 earned run for Seward while she was backed offensively by a 3 for 3 day from Sullivan and a 2 hit, 2 RBI performance from Duford in the win.
The Lady Saints and Lady Beavers would meet again in the title game as Pratt made their way back through the losers bracket to take on Seward on Sunday afternoon. Seward would score first in the game as a two out rally would net a pair of runs on an RBI single from Sullivan to score Lopez and Adame to make it 2-0 Lady Saints. Cicchetti would continue her domination over Pratt for the past two seasons as she was locked in early, striking out 8 hitters through the first three innings without allowing a hit. Seward would leave the bases loaded in the top of the 4th inning and Pratt would slice their lead in half in the bottom of the inning with back to back doubles to score a run and make it 2-1 Seward after 4. There would be nothing brewing for either club in the 5th so quickly the game traveled to the final two innings with the score still 2-1 in favor of the Lady Saints. Seward’s offense would finally start to find their swing in the 6th inning as they would load the bases with one out and get RBI singles from Diaz and Lynda Musick with two outs to put the gals in green ahead 5-1. Pratt would get nothing off of Cicchetti in the bottom of the 6th and it was starting to smell like a championship for the Lady Saints but they were not done yet. They would put the icing on the cake in the top of the 7th as they strung together four runs on RBI knocks from Lopez and Diaz to take a commanding 9-1 lead into the last half inning. In the Pratt half of the 7th, Cicchetti would put her final stamp of domination on the Pratt program as she retired the side on just 7 pitches to wrap up another complete game while allowing just 4 hits and striking out a career high 14 Lady Beaver hitters. Cicchetti’s 14 strikeouts mark the third time in her short career at Seward that she has gone over the 10+ strikeout mark in a game. Now that may not seem a storyline to the win but all three times that she has recorded the 10+ strikeouts have been against Pratt which is! On the offensive side of things, the Lady Saints were strong in the win. They pounded out 14 hits with four different players recording multi-hit games. Lopez led the way with a 3 for 4 afternoon while Musick and Sullivan would pick up 2 hits and 2 RBI’s each and Sitter would go 2 for 2 with a pair of runs scored.
The 3-0 weekend makes the Lady Saints 13-2 overall on the season in yet another great start for the Seward program. The Lady Saints will see their stiffest test of the season on Thursday as they kick off Jayhawk West Conference play with a double header on the road at #11 Butler who is also sitting at 13-2 overall. The battle will be a critical one for both teams in their quest for the 2011 conference title as Seward and Butler have finished 1-2 in the conference standings ever since the Lady Grizzlies made the move to Division 1. The double header will begin at 2:00 with game two getting under way shortly after game one.