It was a tale of two days in Great Bend this weekend for the Seward County Saints Baseball team. Seward handled Barton easily on Friday winning 6-2 and 5-3 in a double header sweep but would fall on Saturday 9-3 and 12-2 to split the series with the Cougars.

The teams would get the series underway on Friday due to it being pushed up because of forecasted weather in the Great Bend area later in the weekend. The Saints would get off to a good start in game one as they would load the bases in the 1st inning in front of Steven Polito who wasted no time in lining a ball up the middle to score two runs in his first at bat in nearly a month to make it 2-0 Saints. Two Seward errors would allow Barton to score their first run of the game in the 2nd inning but the Saints would get it back in the top of the 3rd when Jon Mestas doubled with two outs and would be driven home by Eddie Williams to push the Seward lead back to two at 3-1. The Cougars would start their half of the 3rd with a pair of hits but Logan Hall would minimize the damage, allowing just one run in the inning to keep the Saints on top 3-2 as the teams went to the 4th inning. The Saints would strand a pair in scoring position in the top of the 4th and Barton would leave a man at second to keep it a one run game in favor of Seward into the 5th. Both clubs would go down in order in the 5th and quickly game one of the Jayhawk West Conference series went to the 6th inning of play. Seward would get a run in the 6th after Tanner Rainey doubled inside the third base bag to start the inning and was later plated on a one out single from JT Bean to make it 4-2 Saints. Barton would be unable to turn a leadoff single in the 6th into anything and the Saints would get a pair of insurance runs in the top of the 7th on a 2 RBI single from Rainey with one out to take a 6-2 lead. That was all Hall would need as the Saints ace got three fly balls to finish the game in the bottom of the 7th and give Seward a 6-2 win in the opener. Hall as usual was economical in his start, going all 7 innings of the game while allowing just 3 hits and 1 earned run on just 85 pitches to earn the win. Bean, Mestas, and Williams all finished the game 2 for 4 while Rainey went 2 for 5 with a pair of RBI’s and Jordan Dallalio finished 2 for 3 with a run scored.
After the game one win, the Saints were ready for more and wasted no time in the 1st inning of game two, scoring 5 two out runs with timely hitting and erratic Barton pitching. The Saints would score their first runs on a 2 RBI single from Mestas with the sacks full to make it 2-0 and would get another run as Carlos Dorado would walk to re-load the bases and Williams would get a free pass behind him to force home a run and make it 3-0. Brittain Ibbotson would then single to left field on the first pitch he saw to drive home two more to make it 5-0 Seward after a half inning of play. Barton would score their first tally of the game in the 2nd as a leadoff walk and a pair of two out singles would plate a run to make it 5-1. The middle innings would see absolutely nothing in the form of offense as the Saints struggled to drive runners in, stranding a runner in scoring position in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th innings while Barton couldn’t seem to figure out Saints freshman righty Gavin Glanz who shut the Cougars down to the tune of just two singles through the same stretch to keep it a 5-1 game into the 7th. The Saints would go in order in their half of the 7th while Barton would start to make some noise in theirs. Three straight singles by the Cougars would chase Glanz from the game and the Saints would turn to fellow freshman Keegan Hucul to try and preserve the lead. Hucul would go 2-1 on the hitter Cory Sager before executing a perfect pickoff play behind the runner at first base with Bean to record the first out of the inning to the dismay of the Barton bench. The pickoff would prove costly as Hucul would eventually walk Sager to reload the bases but without a run scoring. Hucul would then get a big strikeout for the second out of the inning and a pop out to center for the third to escape any damage in the frame and keep it a 5-1 game. Seward would have their best chance since the 1st inning to score as the came to the plate in the 8th but Williams was gunned down at the plate with two outs to keep the score 5-1. The Cougars would get a pair of two out runs in the 8th to cut it to a 5-3 game and that is where it would stand into the bottom of the 9th as the Saints were unable to score for the eighth straight inning in the top of the 9th. The bottom of the 9th would start with a strikeout but an error on a bunt would bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Federic Castagnini. A walk would push the runner up 90 feet and put the tying run on base with one out. A pop out on the infield off the bat of Mississippi State bound Mitch Slauter would be the second out of the inning and Hucul would come up huge with a strikeout to end the game. The Saints would come away with the 5-3 win to sweep the double header and move to 11-3 in conference play. Glanz would earn the win by going 6 solid innings, allowing just 1 run while Hucul notched his first career save by going the final 3 innings of the game while allowing 2 hits and striking out 3. Mestas would finish 2 for 5 with 2 RBI’s while Dallalio and Bean would each have 2 hit games as well.
With a day one sweep under their belt, the Saints took the field on Saturday under a rainy and cloudy sky looking for the series win against the Cougs. Barton was the first to score in game three as a wild pitch would cash in a leadoff single to make it 1-0. The Cougars would get another run in the 2nd inning as the first four hitters of the inning would reach base to get a run and make it 2-0. The Saints would go down 1-2-3 in the 3rd and for the third straight inning Barton would get a single run to go up 3-0. The Saints would capitalize on a two out error by Barton to score a run on an RBI single by Dorado to cut the Cougar lead to 3-1 but Barton would get right back on the sticks and would score 3 runs after a dropped fly ball by Seward to go ahead 6-1 after 4. In the 5th the Cougars would blow the game wide open as they plated 3 more runs on 4 hits and a Seward error go take a commanding 9-1 lead after 5. The Saints would make the final score respectable with 2 runs in the 7th with an RBI double by Ibbotson and a two out single by Dallalio to make it 9-3 but it would be too little too late as the Saints fell 9-3. The Saints would be outhit 13-6 in the game while Ibbotson and Dorado were the only two to get multiple hits in the game as both finished 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored.
In the series finale with the Saints looking for a series win and the Cougars looking for a split, Seward would get on the board right away as Rainey would walk to leadoff the game and Tyler Hill would drive him home with a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 Saints after a half inning of play. In the 2nd the Saints would get another run without the benefit of a hit as Dorado would get Seward’s second leadoff walk and would score later on on an RBI groundout by Ibbotson to make it 2-0 and chase Barton starter Ben Minniham out of the game. Saints starter Jose Gonzalez would keep Barton off the board through 2 but things would things would go south in the 3rd as the Cougars would score 5 runs on just 2 hits with the help of 5 walks to take a 5-2 lead after 3. Seward’s offense would continue to sputter in the 4th and the Cougars would build on their lead in the bottom half with 4 runs on 4 hits to go up 9-2. The Saints would go down 1-2-3 in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings and Barton would get 2 more runs in the to go up 11-2. With no hits on the board through 7 innings the Saints would again be retired in order in the 8th inning with a fly out and a pair of strikeouts to remain down 11-2. In the Barton 8th, Nathan Miller would leadoff with a triple and with two outs would be brought home on a single over the left fielders head to force the run rule and give the Cougars the 12-2 win. The run rule kicking in also meant that the Cougars had no hit the Saints in the game, the second time in 10 days for the dubious distinction to be placed on the guys in green.
The split makes the Saints 22-14 overall on the season and 11-5 in Jayhawk West play. The Saturday losses coupled with a pair of Colby wins means that the Trojans are now on top of the Region VI West standings by a game while Seward remains the top team in the Jayhawk West Conference standings . The Saints will have the week off before returning to action at home on Saturday and Sunday when they host Dodge City at 1:00 both days at Brent Gould Field.