Well, it started exactly how the Saints had pictured it but it certainly didn’t finish that way Saturday night at Suplezio Stadium in Grand Junction for Seward’s opening game of the Juco World Series against defending National Champion Iowa Western. The #7 Saints and the #13 Reivers took center stage on opening night under the bright lights of the historic stadium and with the eyes of nearly 10,000 fans on hand to see the game events unfold.

Seward took an early 4-0 lead right away as Tanner Rainey and Willy Gustin opened the game with singles and both later scored on RBI hits from JT Bean and Jon Mestas. An Iowa Western error then allowed the Saints to tack on two more and they would take that 4-0 lead into the 2nd inning after a strong 1st from Logan Hall. A well turned double play by the Reivers in the top of the 2nd sent the Saints back to the field without a run and they carried that momentum into the bottom half where they scored four runs courtesy of a Mitch Warne grand slam after a Seward error extended the inning to tie the game at 4. The young Saints squad did not let the blast get their spirits down however as they rebounded to score three more runs in the top of the 3rd on an RBI single from Eddie Williams and a gap shot double from Jordan Dallalio to make it 7-4. Neither team scored in their next at bats and Iowa Western cut the Saints lead to one with a two run bottom of the 4th to make it 7-6. Seward went scoreless again in the 5th and the Reivers took their first lead of the game as a pair of costly defensive blips allowed Iowa Western to extend their inning and score five runs to go ahead 11-7. The Saints cut the lead in half in the top of the 6th when Tyler Hill reached on an error by shortstop Chris Waylock to allow Gustin to score and Ben Wainwright’s sac fly later in the inning made it an 11-9 game. Unfortunately for the Saints their pitching was unable to put up a zero as Iowa Western fought back for 3 more in the bottom of the inning to stretch their lead to 14-9 before putting the game away in the bottom of the 7th with three more runs to win 17-9 in a run rule.

Williams and Dallalio each drove in a pair for the Saints in the loss while Hill finished 2 for 3 with an RBI. Gustin was inches away from a 4 for 4 evening but settled for a 2 for 4 game with 2 runs scored after lining out in his third at bat and hitting one to the warning track in his fourth trip. Logan Hall suffered a rare loss on the mound, going 4 innings and allowing 9 hits and 4 earned runs before giving way to the Seward bullpen that allowed 9 earned runs in just 2 1/3.

The Saints drop to 44-19 overall on the season and will now face an uphill battle if they are to make a run at the programs first National title. They fall to the elimination bracket where they will now square off against #12 Southern Union State from Alabama who were also run ruled on Saturday in their matchup with Navarro College of Texas. The Saints and Bison are scheduled for first pitch at 2:00 Mountain time with one team moving on in the tournament and the other teams season coming to a bittersweet end.