The Seward County Lady Saints finished up their season slate of games against the Empire Conference this weekend by taking down 1st place Trinidad State twice on Saturday before knocking off 2nd place and 18th ranked Western Nebraska on Sunday. Seward would be forced to come from behind in both games against the Lady Trojans on Saturday as they were down 3-1 in game one before winning 4-3 and were down 5-0 late in game two before coming back to win 7-5. On Sunday the Lady Saints rode the right arm of Sydney Cicchetti to a 6-0 win over the Cougars as the sophomore ace tied a career high with 14 strikeouts while pitching into the 7th with a no-hitter.

Seward would kick their weekend off with a double header against Trinidad State on Saturday at Lady Saints Field. Cicchetti would keep the hard hitting Lady Trojans off the board through the first two innings of the game while notching four strikeouts to allow Seward to get on the board first in the bottom of the 2nd. Taylor McDougall would double to right to lead off the inning and after a sacrifice bunt by Bianca Adame moved her to third, a sacrifice fly to right off the bat of Lynda Musick would score her and make it 1-0 Seward after 2. Cicchetti would hold Trinidad scoreless through 4 but the Lady Saints would not be able to add onto their lead as they would leave a pair of runners in the 3rd and another in the 4th to keep it just a 1-0 game. In the 5th inning Seward would pay for those stranded runners as the Lady Trojans would get their offense going. With one out, Trinidad would have four straight players reach base, netting them 2 runs and with two outs in the inning would get another to take a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the 5th. That transaction apparently woke the Seward bats up for the first time in the day as the Lady Saints would rip four straight singles to start the 5th to score a run and would get a sacrifice fly from Jill Rodgers to tie the game and then an RBI single from McDougall to put themselves up a run at 4-3. Again though, the Lady Saints let the Lady Trojans off the hook for more damage as they would strand the bases loaded as the inning came to a close to keep it just a one run game. Trinidad would get a leadoff single to start the 6th as they looked to tie the game back up but a pair of Cicchetti strikeouts would look to thwart the threat. With two outs, a Seward error would put runners at second and third and a walk would load the bases with two outs as the middle of the Lady Trojan order awaited. Cicchetti would bear down though and would whistle three straight pitches past Shelbi Long to record the final out of the inning and keep it a 4-3 game. A two out single would be it for Seward in the bottom of the 6th and quickly the teams went to the 7th inning still separated by just one. With the meat of their order up in the 7th the Lady Trojans would never pose a threat as Cicchetti got a pair of fly outs to left and a groundball back to her between them to retire the side 1-2-3 and secure the 4-3 win for Seward in game one. The Lady Saints would outhit Trinidad 11-5 in the game including 3 hits apiece for Leah Sitter and McDougall. They would also get a 2 hit game out of Breanna Diaz at the top of the lineup while Rodgers and Musick both drove in runs without the benefit of a hit in the game. Cicchetti would earn the hard fought win by tossing a complete game while allowing just 5 hits and striking out 11.
The Lady Trojans would draw first blood in game two as they looked for the split. A one out single followed by a two out hit to left would give them a run and put them on top 1-0 before Seward came to the plate to hit. Diaz and Sitter would do their job at the top of the Lady Saints lineup, both reaching base to start the Seward 1st inning but a pair of pop outs and a strikeout would leave them where they stood as the inning came to a close. Neither team would score in the 2nd or 3rd innings as it would remain a 1-0 game in favor of Trinidad into the 4th. The Lady Trojans would put the pressure on Seward in the 4th as they got a pair of singles to take a 2-0 lead and then took advantage of a Seward error to put two on with one out. Blaire Taylor would get a big strikeout that should have ended the inning but with the error Seward would still have just two outs on the board and it would cost them in a big way. After battling to a 3-2 count, Trinidad nine hole hitter Jasmine Grentz would send the seventh pitch of her at bat sailing into the wind to right field and it would clear the fence for a three run home run to give the Lady Trojans a 5-0 lead. The Lady Saints would get a pair of two out hits in the bottom of the inning but both runners would be stranded, Seward’s sixth and seventh runners of the day to do so, and they would remain down 5-0 after 4. Facing the big deficit, the Lady Saints would chip away in the 5th as Michelle Duford and Rodgers would get back to back hits to score a run and Rodgers would score on a two out single from Adame to make it 5-2. Taylor would work around another Seward error in the 6th to keep Trinidad from adding to their lead and the Lady Saints would respond in the bottom of the inning. Monique Lopez would leadoff with a double and Diaz and Sitter would again get on behind her to load the bases with nobody out. Duford would drive in two with a single to left to make it a one run game and Rodgers would bring home the equalizer with a groundout to tie the game at 5-5. A dropped fly ball would spawn another Seward run to put them ahead one followed by back to back hits from Adame and Musick to load the bases. An RBI groundout by Ashley Sullivan would put the Lady Saints on top 7-5 once all the dust was settled and Taylor would make it count, getting a double play and a fly out to quickly dispatch of the Lady Trojans in the 7th and give Seward the 7-5 win to complete the sweep. Eight of nine Seward starters would have a hit in the win while the other would score the eventual game winning run. Duford led the offense with a 2 for 4, 2 RBI day while Adame, Musick, and Lopez all collected 2 hits as well. Taylor earned the win by battling through a tough 4th inning as she finished the game allowing just 2 earned runs on 7 hits in the complete game victory.
Sunday with a small but spirited crowd (see picture) cheering them on against fellow 2010 National Tournament competitor and #18 Western Nebraska, the Lady Saints battled a freezing drizzle most of the game as they tried to come out with a weekend sweep. Early on both teams bats were as cold as the weather. Cicchetti dominated the Western Nebraska lineup through the first three innings, striking out 7 through 3 while keeping the Cougars off the board. Seward would struggle as well though as they would be without a hit through 3 but did have scoring opportunities in both the 2nd and 3rd innings when they stranded two runners to keep the game scoreless into the 4th. Cicchetti would make quick work of the middle of the Western Nebraska lineup in the top of the 4th, setting them down in order 1-2-3 while Seward was able to take advantage of a dropped fly ball by the Cougars to score their first run of the game as Sullivan drove home Adame who reached on the error to make it 1-0 Lady Saints. No Cougars would put a ball in play in the 5th as Cicchetti worked around a pair of one out walks with three strikeouts to keep the score 1-0 as the Lady Saints came to hit in the bottom of the 5th. Back to back one out doubles by Duford and Rodgers would give the Lady Saints their second run of the game and Rodgers would score later in the inning on an RBI single from Adame to make it 3-0 Seward. With a leadoff walk in the 6th the Cougars looked to have something going with their 3, 4, and 5 hitters coming up but Cicchetti would continue to dazzle, getting two ground balls and a strikeout to end the frame and strand the runner at third to keep Seward on top 3-0. The Lady Saints would get Cicchetti some insurance runs in the bottom of the 6th inning as Duford, Rodgers, and McDougall pounded three consecutive RBI hits with two outs in the inning to put the Lady Saints comfortably on top 6-0 into the final inning of play. With Seward’s offense getting things going in the late innings, it went rather unnoticed that the Lady Saints ace had a no-hitter going in the circle. Cicchetti would take the rubber in the 7th inning against the #18 Cougars without having given up a hit and she would be just two outs away after a strikeout to start the inning. A double from Bree Bitton would break up the no-no bid and a walk would put two on and one out in the inning. Cicchetti would stay strong though and would induce a ground ball for the second out of the inning before tying her career high with her 14th strikeout of the game to finish things off and give the Lady Saints the 6-0 win. Cicchetti was nothing short of spectacular in the win as she fanned the 14 Cougar hitters while allowing just 1 hit in her second shutout of the week. Duford and Rodgers would pace the offense, each hammering a pair of doubles and scoring two runs each. Sitter would go hitless in the game but would reach base once and would steal second base for her 21st steal of the season and 44th of her career, tying her with Meisha Patterson for first all-time on the Seward County stolen base list.
Due to deteriorating field conditions because of the weather, the Lady Saints and Cougars decided not to play the second game of the double header. Seward finished the weekend 3-0 and moves to 25-7 overall on the season. They will wrap up their 10 game home stand on Wednesday when they return to Jayhawk West Conference play in a double header at Lady Saints Field at 3:00 against Colby.