The Seward County Lady Saints got back to their winning ways this week with a 6-2 Spring Break trip that saw them travel to Texas and Arizona for a slew of games. Seward would win three of four against El Paso on Sunday and Monday before heading to the Phoenix area later in the week where they took a pair from Scottsdale and split a double header against a pair of top 10 teams as they knocked off Odessa before falling to South Mountain to wrap up the trip.

The Lady Saints would get things started with a four game set against the El Paso Tejanas. Seward would load the bases in each of the first two innings against El Paso but wouldn’t be able to push a run across as both innings came to a close on strikeouts. Thankfully for the Lady Saints Sydney Cicchetti would be strong early in the circle for them as the sophomore ace recorded 4 punch outs through two innings to keep the game scoreless as they went to the 3rd. The Lady Saints would again have traffic in their half of the 3rd and would finally be able to breakthrough as Leah Sitter picked up a two out RBI single to put Seward on top 1-0. Both teams would go down 1-2-3 in their next at bats and the Tejanas would scratch out a run in the bottom of the 4th as a leadoff single and an error would set them up for a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1-1. The Lady Saints would answer back in the top half of the 5th inning as a pair of walks and an error would extend the inning and back to back singles from Lynda Musick and Dyonne Sedillos would score 3 runs and again put Seward on top 4-1. El Paso would chip away with a single run in both the 5th and 6th innings after Seward errors to make it 4-3 but that would be all the scoring that would be done in the game as Cicchetti saved her best for last, setting down the Tejanas in order in the 7th including a pair of strikeouts to pick up the 4-3 win for Seward. Cicchetti was excellent in the circle for Seward in the game, going all 7 innings of the win without allowing an earned run while striking out 10 and not walking a batter. Offensively the Lady Saints were paced by the bottom of their order as their 7,8,9 hitters combined for all 4 RBI’s in the win. Bianca Adame was the only Seward hitter to have more than one hit in the game as she went 2 for 4 with a stolen base while Sitter and Musick both had a hit and an RBI while Sedillos went 1 for 4 with a pair of runs driven home.
In game two of the double header the Tejanas would flip the script on Seward as they would answer a single run by the Lady Saints in the 2nd with 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to take an early 3-1 lead. Both teams would strand a runner in the 3rd and Seward would leave two ducks on the pond in the 4th while El Paso would get a two out triple to score a run in the bottom half and take a 4-1 advantage after 4. The 5th inning would see another runner left on for the Lady Saints while Blaire Taylor would give her best effort to keep the Tejanas off the board and keep it a 4-1 game. Seward would finally breakthrough in the 6th thanks in part to a pair of El Paso errors as Musick laced her second hit of the game to drive in a run and Breanna Diaz and Jill Grounds would extend the inning with two out RBI hits to tie the game at 4-4. A lone two out single would be all that El Paso would manage in the bottom of the 6th inning and to the 7th the two teams went, knotted up at 4. The Lady Saints would go down without a fight in the top of the 7th and set up El Paso for a chance for a walk off win in the bottom of the inning. A Seward error and a single to start the El Paso 7th would look to spell trouble for the Lady Saints but Musick would gun down the runner trying to advance from first to third on the single to record the Lady Saints first out of the inning and give them a breath of fresh air. After a strikeout to chalk up the second out of the inning, the Lady Saints sixth error of the game would prove fatal as a mishandled groundball would allow the run to score and finish off the gals in green 5-4 in walk off fashion. Seward would outhit the Tejanas 9-6 in the game but the 6 errors by the Lady Saints were costly as just one of El Paso’s 5 runs in the game was earned off of Taylor. Diaz would finish 2 for 4 with an RBI for Seward while Musick would go 2 for 3 with the 2 RBI’s.
The Lady Saints looked to be back on the right track early in game three with El Paso as Diaz walked to leadoff the game and Sitter singled and then stole second base behind her to put runners on second and third with nobody out in the 1st. Unfortunately for the Lady Saints they would be unable to score either runner as back to back strikeouts followed by a pop out would end the inning and the threat with a zero on their half of the scoreboard. Seward would not even sniff the bases in the 2nd or 3rd as they went down 1-2-3 in both innings but Cicchetti would again prove to be their backbone as she retired the first nine El Paso hitters she saw in order to keep it a scoreless game into the 4th. The Lady Saints would finally get something going in the top of the 4th as Grounds would double to start the frame and Michelle Duford would homer after her to put the first runs of the game up and make it 2-0 Seward. Musick would then walk and would later be driven in by Kelsea Blackstock’s first hit of the trip to put the Lady Saints up 3-0. Cicchetti would continue to keep the Tejanas hitless through 5 and Seward would tack on two more runs to go up 5-0. In the top of the 6th Sitter would come up big with two outs as she launched a double down the left field line to plate two more for the Lady Saints and make it 7-0 Seward. El Paso would finally get to Cicchetti in the 6th as they put together a pair of hits to go along with a Seward error to plate three runs and get back into the game at 7-3 after 6. Seward would add a pair of insurance runs in the 7th inning on RBI’s from Adame and Blackstock after Duford and Musick got hits to start the inning and with just three outs left to get, the Lady Saints held a comfortable 9-3 advantage. El Paso would get one run in the bottom of the inning but that would be all which would be too little too late as Seward cruised to the 9-4 game three win. Cicchetti allowed just 4 hits and 1 earned run in her 7 innings of work while she was helped by a 10 hit attack from the offense in picking up her 9th win of the season. Duford went 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI’s while Sitter hammered out a pair of hits for a pair of RBI’s while also racking up 2 stolen bases in the process.
The final game of the four game series with the Tejanas was an offensive explosion for Seward, although that didn’t equate to an easy win. Seward would get on the board right away as Diaz and Sitter led off the Lady Saints first with singles and would score a short time later on an RBI single from Duford to make it 2-0. Seward would get two more in the second as Monique Lopez doubled to right to start the inning and was followed by an El Paso error to allow Grounds and Duford to get RBI knocks to make it 4-0 Seward. The Lady Saints defense would literally give it right back to them in the bottom of the frame as three Seward errors would score two El Paso runs to cut the lead in half to 4-2. Seward would leave three stranded in the next two innings and El Paso would be unable to capitalize and to the 5th they went with the score still 4-2 in favor of the Lady Saints. Adame would start the Lady Saints 5th with a bunt hit and would quickly steal second to put herself into scoring position with nobody out. While the next two Seward bats couldn’t get her home, a single to right by Lopez and a wild pitch to follow that would as Seward went up 5-2. The Lady Saints would score another single run in the 6th and Taylor looked to be cruising as she sat down 10 El Paso hitters in a row from the 3rd to the 6th to keep the Lady Saints comfortably ahead 6-2 going to the final inning. Seward would strand a runner at second in the top of the 7th which seemed to be harmless at the time but in the bottom of the inning they would see that it would prove costly. After quickly setting down the first two hitters of the El Paso half of the 7th, it looked as if the Lady Saints were going to breeze to another win as they were up 6-2 with nobody on and just one out left to get. A four pitch walk seemed harmless and even back to back singles to score a pair of runs didn’t raise too much of an alarm as the Tejanas made it 6-4. However, a double to score their 5th run and a single right after that would plate another and in the blink of an eye it was 6-6. Cicchetti would come in and get out of the mess but the damage was already done as El Paso did the unthinkable, scoring 4 runs to tie the game with two outs and nobody on in the 7th. With a runner starting on second base as per the tiebreaker rules, the Lady Saints would quickly get a run in the top of the 8th and would be in line for more business with the sacks packed and just one out. However, a shallow pop out and a strikeout would keep them from further damage as they again left the bases loaded while scoring just one run to go ahead 7-6. El Paso would choose to sacrifice their runner over to third with their first out but a fly out on the infield ruined their original plans as there were now two outs in the inning. Seward’s defense again wouldn’t allow them to get off of the field with two outs and the game on the line as an error on the infield would plate the run and again tie the game up, this time at 7-7. Seward would finally get a little bit angry in the top half of the 9th inning as they decided that they were going to leave El Paso with a good feeling on their way to Arizona. The first seven Lady Saints hitters of the inning would reach base, chalking up 6 runs on RBI’s from Lopez, Sitter, Grounds, Duford, Musick, and Adame to make it 13-7 and it looked at least like finally the game would be theirs again. After taking the beating in the top of the inning, the Tejanas would roll over in the bottom half, going 1-2-3 through the middle of their order as Seward would come away with the 13-7 extra innings win. The offensive numbers were mindboggling for Seward in the win. The Lady Saints racked up 21 hits with 13 runs while still leaving 16 runners on as innings came to a close. Duford would be at the forefront of the offense as she is thought to have set a school record, going 6 for 6 in the game while driving in 4 runs. Lopez and Taylor McDougall would each have 3 hits in the win while Diaz and Sitter would have 2 each at the top of the Seward lineup while combining for 7 runs scored. Cicchetti would earn the win in relief by going 2 1/3 innings of 1 hit ball without allowing an earned run.
On Wednesday the Lady Saints would head into the Phoenix area for four more games to wrap up their trip, starting first with the Scottsdale Fighting Artichokes. The ‘Chokes would waste no time in getting their offense going as they would tally a run in both the 1st and 2nd innings to take an early 2-0 lead. Seward on the other hand would continue their unwanted trend of leaving runners on base in the first half of this one as they left a pair of runners on in the 1st inning and then left the bases loaded in the 3rd to remain down 2-0. The Lady Saints would finally get on the board in the 4th inning as McDougall launched the first pitch she saw over the right field wall to cut the Seward deficit in half and make it 2-1 in favor of Scottsdale after 4. A pair of two out singles would turn up nothing for Seward in the 5th but Cicchetti would keep the Artichokes off the board as well as she settled into a groove and quickly in to the 6th inning the game went with the teams still separated by just one run, 2-1. The Lady Saints would go down in order in the 6th and would get an unconventional 1-3-2 double play to get out of a jam in the bottom half of the inning to keep the score 2-1. Down to their final at bats the Lady Saints would catch a break as a pair of Scottsdale errors would lead to the equalizing run and Cicchetti would again work her magic in the bottom half, getting out of a two on, no out jam to send the game to extra innings. With the ‘California’ tiebreaker in effect for the extra frames, the Lady Saints would start with a runner on second base to open the 8th. A wild pitch would move her up 60 feet and a one out groundout by Musick would do the trick of bringing her home for the go ahead run to make it 3-2 in favor of Seward. The Lady Saints would stage a two out rally after the run had scored but a strikeout would end the threat and keep them ahead just one as Scottsdale came to hit in the bottom of the inning. The Fighting ‘Chokes would sacrifice bunt their runner over to third base right away and set up an RBI situation for their cleanup hitter Kristina Bucher but after a ground ball to third base the Seward defense would come up big yet again. Diaz would throw across the diamond to Blackstock to record the second out and she would in turn gun the ball home into the waiting glove of the catcher McDougall who tagged the runner out trying to score from third to end the game and give the Lady Saints the 3-2 win. Cicchetti would get credit for the win for the Lady Saints as she allowed just 4 hits in her final 6 innings of work while finishing the game giving up just the one earned run on an economical 109 pitches. McDougall was the difference on offense for the Lady Saints as the Seward catcher accounted for all three runs in the game. She would finish the afternoon 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored and an RBI.
Game two with the ‘Chokes would be just as exciting as the Lady Saints would be forced to mount another late game comeback to try and come away with the double header sweep. Seward would get the scoring going however as Diaz singled to lead off the ball game and would score later on thanks to an RBI single through the middle from Musick to make it 1-0 in the 1st. Unfortunately, the Lady Saints would again not be able to come through in the clutch later in the inning as they would leave the bases loaded to come away with just the one run in the frame. Taylor would have things going early on in the circle for Seward as she would brush off a pair of errors behind her in the 1st to keep the ‘Chokes off the board and would set Scottsdale down 1-2-3 in the 2nd to keep it a 1-0 game. Seward would leave two more stranded in the 2nd and would go down quietly in the 3rd and finally the Artichokes would break through in their half of the 3rd. They would send eight hitters to the plate in the inning while picking up just one hit and taking advantage of two Seward errors and a pair of free passes to score three runs to go up 3-1 after 3. A one out single and a double in the Seward 4th would be wasted after a pair of pop outs to end the inning and Scottsdale would tack on a run in the bottom of the inning via a one out double from their nine hole to make it 4-1. Seward would get the run back in the 5th as they capitalized on a two out error by Scottsdale with an RBI single from Grounds after the inning should have been over to get back to within two at 4-2. After a perfect frame by Taylor in the bottom of the 5th the Lady Saints would knot things up at 4 as Diaz and Sitter picked up back to back hits and would score as McDougall came up big with a two out single to left to score both runners. Scottsdale would remain on their heels and would get nothing in the 6th and the Lady Saints would continue on their roll in the 7th as Adame tripled to lead off the inning and would be driven in immediately on a single from Grounds to give Seward a 5-4 lead and Grounds would later score after a Scottsdale error on the infield and an RBI groundout by Blackstock to make it 6-4. Taylor would do the rest for Seward, as the freshman right-hander retired her 9th, 10th, and 11th consecutive batters in the 7th to end Scottsdale’s day without a glimmer of hope as she locked up the double header sweep for the Lady Saints in the 6-4 win. Taylor went the distance for Seward, earning the win while allowing just 3 hits and 1 earned run in the game. The Lady Saints would outhit the Fighting Artichokes 13 to 3 in the game but only squeezed out the win by two thanks in large part to 11 runners left on base, 7 of those in scoring position. All nine Seward starters would record a hit in the game, led by Diaz at the top of the order who went 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and Musick and Grounds who each went 2 for 4 in game two.
The final day of the Lady Saints road trip would undoubtedly see them play their best competition. Their day would start with #10 Odessa in a rematch of a 2009 National Tournament elimination game in which the Lady Saints knocked off the Wranglers with a walk off inside the park home run to advance to the round of eight. Seward would take a 2-0 lead early as Cicchetti held Odessa off the scoreboard through the first three frames with just one hit while the Lady Saints would get a 1st inning RBI single from McDougall and another RBI single from their catcher in the 3rd inning. Odessa would see their first run come plateward in the 4th as their first three hitters of the inning would reach base, netting one run and a one out groundout would score another to tie things up at 2. The Wranglers would take advantage of a Seward error in the 5th to score one run and take the lead and would then get another run on an RBI single before three straight strikeouts to go ahead 4-2. The Lady Saints would waste no time in tying things up however as they would get two runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single from Adame and a RBI groundout from Grounds to score Duford and McDougall and again draw the two teams even after 5 innings of play. Neither team would score in the 6th and Cicchetti would work around an error and a two out single in the top of the 7th to give her team a chance in the bottom of the inning. Musick would single with one out for Seward to get things going in their half of the 7th and after a wild pitch allowed her to move to second, Grounds would pick her up with an RBI single up the middle to give the Lady Saints the 5-4 walk off win. Cicchetti would earn her 5th win of the week as she went all 7 innings of the Seward victory while striking out 7 and walking just 1. McDougall and Grounds provided most of the pop for the Lady Saints in the win as each went 2 for 4 with 2 runs driven home while their table setter Sitter was also 2 for 4 with 2 stolen bases.
In their second game of the afternoon the Lady Saints would take on the #6 team in Division II, the South Mountain Cougars. South Mountain would waste no time early in this one as they would get two quick 1st inning runs after a walk and a bunt single to start the inning to take a 2-0 lead. After neither was able to score in the 2nd, the teams would trade runs in the 3rd inning as Diaz would pick up an RBI for the Lady Saints while a solo home run would do the trick for the Cougars to keep it a two run game at 3-1. Each team would manage a baserunner via a walk in the 4th but would not score and the game moved to the 5th inning with the score still 3-1 in favor of South Mountain. Blackstock would lead off the Seward 5th with a double to right center field and she would be plated by Diaz’s second RBI in as many at bats to make it a 3-2 game. South Mountain would respond in the bottom half of the inning though as back to back errors by the Lady Saints would get the Cougars going and three consecutive two out singles would see four runners come home and all of a sudden make it a 7-2 game. Seward wouldn’t quit under the desert sun though as they would make South Mountain pay for three 6th inning errors with RBI knocks from Sitter and Grounds to score three runs and get back into it at 7-5. The Cougar offense was just too much however as a leadoff home run in the 7th would make it a three run game and another run later in the inning would push their advantage to four and that would be it for Seward who would go down 9-5 in their trip finale to the Cougars. Blackstock and Adame would both pick up two hits and a run scored for the Lady Saints in the loss while Diaz would finish 1 for 4 with a pair of runs driven home.
The Lady Saints would come out of their busy week with a record of 19-6 overall after going 6-2 on the trip. They will return home today to open a 10 game home stand in the next 8 days starting with a Jayhawk West Conference matchup this afternoon at Lady Saints Field against Barton starting at 2:00.