It is a rare time when the Seward County Saints and the Garden City Broncbusters lock up on the baseball diamond without something on the line. This weekend at Williams Stadium in Garden City was no different as the Saints were #1 in the Jayhawk West standings and the Busters #2 while it was Garden City leading the Region VI West standings and Seward County trailing them by a game.

When all was said and done, it would be the Saints that were #1 in both as they won the first three games of the series before dropping the finale to take the Jayhawk West lead and the Region VI West lead with just two conference series remaining on the schedule.
With the series pushed up to Friday and Saturday due to predicted high wind in Garden City on Sunday, the Saints and Broncbusters kicked things off Friday afternoon with a breeze present that made it pretty obvious it was going to be a hitters day at Williams Stadium. The Saints would get the scoring started as Tanner Rainey was hit by a pitch to open the game and one out later would be driven home by JT Bean to make it 1-0 Seward. Garden would bounce back in their half of the 1st as a pair of two out hits plated runs for the Busters to give them a 2-1 advantage. Garden City would add on to their lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning when a leadoff hit by pitch would turn into a run and a two out error would allow them to plate another and make it 4-1 in favor of the home team. The Saints would have a little fun of their own in their next trips to the plate as Rainey launched his second home run of the season to start the inning and make it a 4-2 game and then with two outs Jake Barrios would hit a solo shot to cut it to one and later in the inning Jon Mestas would ignite a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall for a three run shot to make it 6-4 Saints. The lead would hold to the 4th where Seward would continue their onslaught. Brittain Ibbotson tripled to lead off the inning and would be picked up by Jordan Dallalio on a two out single and the Saints would get two more runs in the inning on RBI knocks from Bean and Barrios to make it 9-4 Seward after 3 Ĺ. After Saints starter Logan Hall was able to get an unconventional 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 4th Seward would add a couple of runs on in the 5th courtesy of a double from Ibbotson and another RBI single from Dallalio to make it 11-4. Garden City would take advantage of a pair of Seward errors in the bottom of the 5th to score two runs and that is where the game would stand into the 7th with the Saints ahead 11-6. To leadoff the Buster 7th, right fielder Alex Kelly would hit a solo shot over the left field wall and after another run scored on a two out RBI double, the tying run would step into the on deck circle with the score 11-8. Galen McSpadden decided to stick with his #1 man in Hall and it paid off as he got pinch hitter Timmy Martinez to pop out on the infield to end the game and give the Saints the win in the opener. The Saints outhit the Busters 12-11 in the game with five different players having multi-hit games. Mestas finished the game 2 for 4 with 3 RBIís and 2 runs scored while Dallalio, Bean, and Barrios each had 2 hits and 2 RBIís a piece in the middle of the Saints order. Ibbotson was 2 for 4 and scored 2 runs and Rainey finished 1 for 2 with 3 runs scored and the RBI on his solo shot in the 3rd. Hall earned the win, going all 7 innings on 119 pitches, allowing 5 earned runs while fanning 4.
It would be the Busters that took an early 1-0 lead in game two as a leadoff walk would turn into a run in their half of the 1st, but they would be unable to score anymore even with three consecutive singles as they left the bases loaded as the inning came to a close with only one run crossing the plate. That is where the score would stay into the 3rd inning when the Saints got a pair of singles in front of a triple from Barrios to make it 2-1 in favor of the guys in green. Garden City would answer with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning on a two run shot over the left field wall from Sam Thornton to retake the one run advantage. Seward would scratch out a run in the top of the 4th inning after singles from Mestas and Eddie Williams put runners on the corners and a sacrifice fly from Steve Polito would score Mestas from third and tie the game at 4. Three straight hard fought zeroís on the mound would take the game to the 6th with the score still knotted at 4-4. To lead off the Seward 6th, Ben Wainwright would get ahead in the count 3-1 before hitting a towering fly ball over the left field wall for a solo home run to put the Saints on top 5-4. The Busters would get the run right back in the bottom half of the inning when a two out error allowed a run to score from second to again tie the game up, this time at 5. The Saints wouldnít be able to get anything out of a one out single in the 7th and after stretch time Seward would go to their bullpen and Bryce Ruff to try and keep the game tied. The Saints southpaw would do his job, breezing through the Garden hitters 1-2-3 to keep it a 5-5 game into the 8th. After a one out walk and a double by Polito put two on for the Saints in the 8th, a misplayed ground ball would plate a run for the Saints to give them a 6-5 lead. They would make that error hurt later in the frame when Tyler Hill came up huge with a two out single through the box to score two more and make it a 7-4 game in favor of the Saints. Ruff would pitch around a two out single in the bottom of the 8th and Seward would tack on an insurance run in the top of the 9th after Mestas singled to start the inning and Willy Gustin squibbed a double down the right field line to score him with two outs to make it an 8-4 game. Just when it looked like the Saints might cruise to the day one sweep, the Busters showed that they still had a little bit of fight left in them. A pair of doubles with one out would give them a run and after a fly out for the second out of the inning, another double would plate a second run to make it 8-6. After a visit from McSpadden to the mound, he again decided to stick with his guy, this time in the form of Ruff and for the second time in two games, an Eaton, Colorado pitcher made his skippers decision pay off as Ruff got Shea Bell to roll over to shortstop to end the game and wrap up the 8-6 win for the Saints. Seward pounded out 15 hits in the game including 3 from Gustin and 2 each from Barrios, Hill, Mestas, and Polito. Ruff would earn the win by going the final 3 innings and allowing just the two 9th inning runs.
With a day one sweep behind them, the Saints turned their sights to winning a series on Saturday as they returned up the road to Garden. Garden would quickly jump on top 2-0 in the 1st after a pair of Seward errors extended the inning and led to a pair of two out RBI hits to put the Busters up two. In the 2nd inning the Saints would go off with the bats. The Saints would hammer out seven hits as they sent 11 hitters on the plate, scoring 7 runs to go up 7-2. They would get an RBI triple from Hill, an RBI single from Mestas, a bases loaded bean ball of Rainey, and then back to back RBI singles from Dallalio and Bean before a sacrifice fly from Barrios to do their damage. Paul Pulley would swiftly work his way through the Garden City offense in the bottom of the 2nd to keep them off the board and the Saints would be right back at it again in the top of the 3rd. After back to back doubles from Wainwright and Mestas started things off and scored a run, two fly outs would put two outs on the board with the Saints up 8-2. Unfortunately for Garden it was the calm before the storm as the next six Seward hitters would reach base including Dallalio and Bean who would both rip RBI singles and finally Wainwright who would get his second double of the inning, this one of the bases clearing variety to put the guys in green on top 14-2. Another 11 pitch frame from Pulley would have the Saints back in the dugout and at the plate where this time they would score four runs with RBI doubles from Bean and Hill to make it an 18-2 game. Mestas would hit a solo home run to lead off the Seward 5th to put the Saints 19th run of the game on the board and Garden City would get a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning before the game came to a close on the run rule with the Seward County Saints winners of a 19-4 contest. Bean led the Seward offense with a 3 for 4, 4 RBI game while Mestas was right on his heels, going 3 for 4 with 3 RBIís and 3 runs scored in the win. Dallalio ended game three 2 for 3 with 3 RBIís and 3 runs scored while Wainwright was 2 for 4 with 3 RBIís and Hill was 2 for 3 with 2 RBIís and 2 runs scored. Pulley picked up the win by tossing a complete game on just 65 pitches to move to 4-2 on the season.
Looking to complete the sweep while the Busters just looked to salvage a game in the series, the Saints would jump on top right away as their first five hitters of the game would reach base and they would get four runs on RBIís from Bean, Barrios, and Polito to make it 4-0 before Garden came up to hit. The Busters would cut the lead in half in the bottom of the 1st with a pair of runs but Seward would again stretch their lead to four in the top of the 2nd as Rainey led off with a triple and was driven home by Gustin who would later score himself on a wild pitch to make it 6-2. Garden would again cut it to two however as a one out double from Andrew Blackwell plated a pair to make it a 6-4 ballgame after 2. Each team would send just three hitters to the plate in the 3rd and the offense would again find its traction in the 4th inning. Rainey and Gustin would reach back to back for Seward on a single and a hit by pitch and Dallalio would cash both base runners in on a hard hit double to right center field to make it 8-4 Saints. A two out Seward error would extend the Garden City half of the 4th inning and the Busters would make the Saints pay for their mistake. Four straight hits would send three runners across the plate and before they knew it, it was a one run game with Seward on top just 8-7. The Saints would keep scoring as they got an RBI single from Kyle Henke with one out in the inning to go up 9-7 and Rainey would then drop down a perfect bunt on the right side of the infield and that is where the fun started. Two Seward base runners would be caught up in an interesting run down and rather than just getting one out on the play the Saints would have both players tagged out to end the inning and end the threat. A leadoff walk and an error behind it would spell trouble for Seward in the bottom of the 5th as both runners would score to tie the game at 9. A scoreless 6th inning for both teams would move the game to the 7th with both teams one run short of double digits in the contest. The Saints would be the first to reach the number as Hill was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to put Seward on top 10-9. That is where the score would stand into the bottom of the 8th inning where the Saints lost their chance to sweep the Busters. A hit batter to start the frame previewed what was to come and two straight singles would tie the game up at 10-10. A strikeout that wasnít able to be handled would put two on and one out and a walk would load the bases. After going 3-0 on the hitter Dakota Kell, Jose Gonzalez battled his way back into the count with two fastballs that split the plate and make it 3-2. With the game in the balance, Gonzalez spotted a fastball just off the outside corner and after a flinch the umpire would call it a ball to walk the run in and give Garden City an 11-10 lead. Three pitches later the Busters would get a bounding ball up the middle to score two more runs and that would be all she wrote for the Saints would wouldnít score in the 9th and would fall 13-10. The Saints drop the game despite outhitting the Busters 18-14 in the contest. Their 4 errors were directly to blame as the Seward defense coughed up 9 unearned runs in the 13-10 loss. Rainey finished the series finale 4 for 5 with 2 runs scored while Mestas wrapped up an excellent series with a 3 for 5 game with a run scored. Gustin, Dallalio, and Sam Pack would all collect 2 hits in the game while Gonzalez would be tagged with the loss despite going 3 2/3 innings and allowing just 1 earned run while striking out 4.
The Saints win in the big conference series puts them at 27-17 overall on the year, but more importantly 17-7 in Jayhawk West play where they now lead Barton, Hutchinson, and Colby by 2 full games and 14-6 in Region VI West play where they lead Barton by 1 game at weekends end. Seward will take the field again on Wednesday at home against Clarendon at 3:00 before playing their final series of the season at home when defending Region VI Champs Hutchinson invade Brent Gould Field on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00.