The Seward County Lady Saints couldnít gain any ground on the 1st place Butler Grizzlies Wednesday afternoon at Lady Saints Field in Liberal as they took game one of the double header 3-1 behind a strong pitching effort from Sydney Cicchetti and a late home run from Leah Sitter to close to within one game of the conference lead but would stumble in game two, picking up just 2 hits as they fell 8-0 to remain two games back.

Both teams would miss chances in the 1st as the game got underway as a Grizzlies runner would be erased off of second base after leaving early and Seward would strand two runners after Breanna Diaz and Sitter reached base on singles to start the Lady Saints 1st. A leadoff single would translate to nothing for Butler in the 2nd and the Lady Saints would put together a two out rally in the bottom of the inning to get on the board first. Lynda Musick would draw a two out walk and Monique Lopez would single behind her to put runners on first and second for the top of the Seward lineup. Diaz would then single to right to score Musick and Lopez would try to score unsuccessfully as the ball squirted away from the catcher to end the inning with the Lady Saints on top 1-0. The Grizzlies would leave the bases loaded in the 3rd and Seward wouldnít be able to add onto their lead as it remained 1-0 Seward into the 4th. A pair of pop ups would see Butler with two out and nobody on in the top of the 4th but a misplayed fly ball for the Lady Saints would cost them as the Grizzlies smacked a two out hit up the middle to score the run and tie the game at 1. Seward would strand a runner at third in their half of the 4th as they looked to take the lead again while Butler would do the same in the top of the 5th to keep the game tied at 1-1. In the Lady Saints 5th, Diaz would continue her good game with a one out walk in front of Sitter who would send a 1-1 pitch soaring over the right field wall for a two run home run to put Seward on top 3-1. Butler would go down quietly in the 6th 1-2-3 and Seward wasnít able to do anything with a one out single by Kelsea Blackstock as the game would move to the 7th with the score still 3-1 Seward. After two quick outs in the Butler 7th, the Grizzlies would mount a comeback bid as Clarissa Navarro would single and Simone Patterson would be hit with a pitch to put two on and two out in front of the dangerous Kelli Nicholson who came into the game leading the conference in hitting at a .460 clip. Thankfully for Seward, Cicchetti had something that Nicholson didnít like as she struck her out the first three times she had faced her in the game and after a lengthy at bat this time around, induced a groundout to short to end the game and the threat to secure a 3-1 win for the Lady Saints. Cicchetti continued her stellar sophomore season with a complete game victory, allowing 6 hits and just 1 unearned run while striking out 7 in the win. Diaz and Sitter did nearly all the damage for Seward offensively in the game as Diaz finished 2 for 2 with a run scored and an RBI while Sitter was 2 for 3 with 2 RBIís and a run scored.
After having crept within one game of the top spot in the conference, the Lady Saints looked to pick up game two and take the lead in the league. Things started well for Seward in game two as Blaire Taylor would get a pair of strikeouts in the 1st inning to nullify a leadoff single and the Lady Saints would see Diaz and Sitter again get on base to leadoff their half of the 1st to put two on and no out. However, the middle of the Seward order continued their struggles on the day, failing to get a ball out of the infield in the next three at bats to keep the runners stranded and the game scoreless after 1. The Grizzlies would score their first run of game two as they picked up a two out single to put a tally on the board and take a 1-0 lead in the 2nd. Seward would get two runners on with two outs in the bottom of the 2nd inning but a groundout would end the threat and keep Butler ahead 1-0 into the 3rd. Taylor would get a strikeout to start the 3rd inning but the ball would get away from catcher Taylor McDougall and the runner would reach base and it would cost the Lady Saints as a hit by pitch followed by a one out single would score two runs and put the Grizzlies on top 3-0. Butler would keep the pressure on in the 4th as they would spray balls line to line, hammering out 6 singles to score 3 more runs to go ahead 6-0. Seward would try to answer in the bottom of the inning as they loaded the bases with two outs after a dropped fly ball on the infield by the Grizzlies, but would not be able to score as a pop up to right field was taken care of to strand three more runners and keep Seward behind 6-0. A Seward miscue would hurt them again in the 5th inning as an error to start the inning was followed by a two run home run to stretch the Grizzly lead to 8-0. Two 5th inning walks would give the Lady Saints a chance to extend the game if they could push a run across but a groundout and a looking strikeout to end the game would be all she wrote as the run rule would take effect with Seward on the short end of an 8-0 decision. The Lady Saints were outhit 12-2 in the game with only singles from Blackstock and Lopez to show as far as offense while Taylor was docked with the loss but did strike out a career high 5 in the loss.
Seward drops to 3rd place in the conference standings at 6-4 where they now sit 2 games behind Butler and 1 game behind Garden City. Their overall mark moves to 29-9 with the split as they are on the verge of winning their 30th game for the 7th straight season. Next up will be a trip to El Dorado where they will participate in the BuCo Bash on Saturday and Sunday against teams from Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma starting at 9:00 both days.