For the fourth straight year the Seward County Saints have reached the Region VI Tournament Final Four in Wichita. This year the Saints will be the lone returning team to the quarterfinals after pulverizing their opponents this weekend at the Liberal Super Regional. In the opening round the Saints got a strong pitching performance from Logan Hall and a pair of three run home runs from Jake Barrios to knock off Labette 6-2. In the second round it was all Seward County as the Saints put up 23 runs in 5 innings of a 23-0 rout of Coffeyville. In the finals the Saints would again meet the Red Ravens of Coffeyville and unfortunately for Seward’s foes from the East, the end result would be the same for them as the Saints jumped ahead 8-0 after 2 innings before cruising to another run rule win, this one 11-1 to win the Liberal Super Regional title to advance to the Region Championships.

The Jayhawk West Champion Saints opened up play in game one of the Super Regional and hosted the #8 seed from the Jayhawk East, the Labette Cardinals. Seward jumped on the Cards early on as a one out error followed by a walk put two on in front of shortstop Jake Barrios. After taking the first two pitches of the at bat and hitting with a 1-1 count, Barrios got a fastball middle-in and deposited it into the trees past the left field fence for a three run home run to put the Saints ahead 3-0. Seward continued to have base runners in each of the first 4 innings but had rallies killed by double plays in three of the four to remain on top 3-1 into the 5th. Logan Hall worked his way around a leadoff walk in the top half of the 5th to keep the Saints ahead by two and in the bottom half of the inning it was Barrios time again. Willy Gustin and Tyler Hill singled in front of the Saints cleanup man and he did the rest. This time Barrios wasted no time in stretching out the Saints lead as he hammered the first pitch he saw from Labette starter Jimmy Williams over the wall in left for his second three run shot of the contest to make it 6-1 Seward at the end of 5. The Cardinals scratched out an unearned run in the top of the 6th to make it 6-2 but Hall would let them no closer as the Saints ace cruised through the final three innings without allowing a hit and finished the game in style with his third strikeout of the afternoon to secure the 6-2 win for Seward to push them on to the semifinals. Barrios finished the game 2 for 4 with the 2 home runs and a career high 6 RBI’s while Hall moved into third place on the school’s all-time wins list with his 9th victory of the season after going all 9 innings and allowing 7 hits and just 1 earned run in the victory. JT Bean had himself a 3 for 4 ballgame and Gustin, Hill, and Ben Wainwright each had 2 hit afternoons.
On Sunday the Saints squared off with a Coffeyville team who looked good in an 8-2 opening round win over Hutchinson on Saturday. The game was scoreless after one inning of play but that changed as the Saints stepped to the plate in the top of the 2nd. Jordan Dallalio and Jon Mestas singled to start things off and Brittain Ibbotson doubled down the left field line to drive in the first run of the game. With two on and two out, Gustin stepped up to the plate and worked his way into a 3-1 count before hammering an RBI single up the middle to score both runners to put the Saints ahead 3-0. In the 3rd the Saints would hit for a while. In fact, Seward sent 14 hitters to the plate, scoring 8 two out runs, 9 total with Hill, Mestas, and Eddie Williams each going 2 for 2 in the inning as the Saints went on top 12-0. After 13 pitches from pitcher Paul Pulley in the bottom of the inning to retire the Red Ravens, Seward was back at it again in the top of the 4th. The inning started with a harmless pop out before five straight hitters reached base including RBI singles from Bean and Hill to make it 14-0. With two outs Seward got an RBI single from Williams, a 2 RBI triple off the center field wall from Tanner Rainey, and another RBI single through the middle off the bat of Gustin to go ahead 20-0 after 3 ˝ innings of play. Pulley had no trouble with a deflated Red Ravens team in the 4th and Mestas crushed a 3 run home run in the top of the 5th to make it a 23-0 game. A fly out, a strikeout, and a ground out finished Coffeyville off in the bottom of the 5th as Seward took home their second 23 run win of the season with the shutout victory. Seward outhit Coffeyville 22-2 in the game and six of nine Saints starters had 3 or more hits in the game. Mestas led the way with a 4 for 5 game with 5 RBI’s while Gustin, Rainey, and Williams each had 3 hits and 3 RBI’s in the win. Ibbotson was 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and Bean finished 2 for 4 while accounting for five runs with 3 RBI’s and 2 runs scored. Pulley’s impressive outing was overshadowed by the offense but the sophomore right hander tossed his first career shutout while giving up just 2 hits and striking out 2.
Coffeyville would win their game after the mauling by the Saints and wound up being the Saints opponent again on Monday in the Super Regional Championship game. Back to back 1st inning doubles from Gustin and Barrios gave the Saints a 1-0 lead and a two out single later on by Hill put the guys in green ahead 2-0 after 1. Mestas ripped his second homer in as many days against the Red Ravens to lead off the 2nd inning and make it a 3-0 game but the Saints wouldn’t stop there. Barrios collected his second RBI double of the game with one out and three Coffeyville errors wrapped around a pair of free passes gave the Saints four more runs to put them on top 8-0 after 2. Starter Gavin Glanz worked his way into trouble in the top of the 3rd with a pair of walks and a hit batter but a stern visit from Galen McSpadden would get his attention and he escaped the inning without any damage to keep it an 8-0 game. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Seward without an out in the bottom of the 3rd and a four pitch walk to Bean pushed a run home to put the Saints up 9. However, the damage was minimized as Seward could not find a way to get anything else on the board despite the bases loaded and no outs and therefore it remained 9-0 into the 4th. Coffeyville scored their lone run of the game in the top of the 4th inning as a double and an error plated one but Glanz avoided further trouble with a pair of groundouts to keep the score 9-1 as Seward came to hit in the bottom of the inning. The Saints failed to score for the first time in the game in the bottom of the 4th but after another zero for the Red Ravens in the top of the 5th they came to the plate in the bottom of the inning with a chance to end things. A single from Rainey and a dropped fly ball in left field put two on and no out for the middle of the Seward order. Barrios singled to load the bases and a wild pitch pushed the Saints 10th run of the game across. The Red Ravens then chose to intentionally walk Bean with first base open but the plan would backfire as a wild pitch to the screen brought Gustin home to give Seward the 11-1 run rule victory. Rainey, Gustin, and Barrios did the bulk of the damage at the top of the Saints order as the first three hitters in the lineup went a combined 7 for 11 with 7 runs scored in the win. Glanz picked up the win with a 65 pitch complete game in which he allowed just 3 hits and 1 unearned run while striking out a pair to move to 5-0 on the year.
The Saints now sit at 41-18 overall on the season and will be the lone returning team to Wichita from last year this weekend for the Region VI Tournament Final Four. Seward will be pitted against Neosho County in their first game at 4:00 on Saturday while Colby and Garden City will do battle in the other quarterfinal prior to the Saints/Panthers game. The losers of the two games will play at 7:00 Saturday night in the first elimination game of the weekend while the winners will play at 2:00 Sunday afternoon with a bid to the finals on the line.