On a beautiful Pancake Day afternoon Tuesday at Brent Gould Field, the Seward County Saints hosted the Lamar Runnin’ Lopes in a modified double header in which they continued their suspended game from February 2nd that was tied 2-2 in the 8th inning, and played a nine inning game following that to see which of the two powerful teams would have early season bragging rights. Lamar made short work of the back end of the suspended game with a two run home run with two outs in the 9th to take that game 4-2 and the Lopes completed the sweep in the second game as they erased a 5-2 Saints lead in the 6th inning to come away with a 7-5 win.

Tuesday the Saints and Lopes picked up where they left off when their February 2nd game was delayed because of lightning and hail that moved into the area with the game tied 2-2 and Seward batting in the bottom of the 8th with two outs. To get to the 2-2 point in that game, Seward took an early 2-0 lead in the 1st inning thanks to a pair of Lamar errors and a Willy Gustin double, but the Lopes crept back in with a 3rd inning run and then another in the 6th with two outs to even things up. The Saints had a chance in the bottom of the 7th to win it with two on and two out but a strikeout following an intentional walk derailed those thoughts to send the game to extra innings. Lamar didn’t break the tie in the top of the 8th and the Saints first two hitters went down swinging to set up Tuesday’s “start” of the game. Seward couldn’t get a storybook quick finish to the continued game as they grounded out to end the 8th to send the game to the 9th. After retiring the first two hitters in the 9th, the age old adage, two out walks will kill you, came true. The Saints gave the Lopes a free pass with two out and nobody on and it came back to haunt them as Lamar first baseman Garret Yost sent a 1-1 pitch sailing over the right field wall for a two run home run to put Lamar up 4-2. After two straight strikeouts to start the 9th, the Saints got a single from Tanner Rainey to bring the tying run to the plate but a groundout put out number three on the board and gave the Lopes the 4-2 win. Seward outhit Lamar 9 to 3 in the game but couldn’t come through in the clutch as they left 10 runners on in the contest. Rainey finished the game 3 for 3 and also drew 2 walks while Carlos Dorado had his first career 3 hit game as he finished 3 for 4. Steven Polito had 2 hits and a stolen base and Gustin had the Saints lone extra base hit of the contest. Keegan Hucul started and went 4 2/3 allowing just 1 hit and 1 run but got a no-decision in the game while Saints closer Johnny Griffith was pinned with the loss after giving up the two run home run in his only inning of work.
It was Lamar who struck first in game two of the double header as a two out routine tapper back to Saints starter Broady Toal turned into much more trouble than it looked like it would as he mishandled the play and allowed a Lope run to cross the plate to make it 1-0 Lamar in the 2nd. The Saints went down on just seven pitches in the bottom of the 2nd but Toal was able to get Lamar 1-2-3 in the top of the 3rd to keep it a one run game. In the bottom of the 3rd the bottom of the Seward order did a good job of rolling over the lineup as Francisco Bolanos and Brittain Ibbotson ripped singles with one out but Seward couldn’t take advantage as they were stranded and remained down 1-0. Toal worked around a two out triple in the 4th and this time the Saints capitalized on the zero. Jake Barrios led off and reached on an error and another booted ground ball gave the Saints a run to tie it up 1-1. With one out Kevin Domrzalski lifted a fly ball to deep left center that landed on the warning track to plate the Saints second run and all of a sudden Seward was in business up 2-1. That’s where the score stood into the top of the 6th after both teams went down in order in the 5th. To start the Lamar 6th Toal had trouble with another routine comebacker and the Lopes had their leadoff man reach on the error. They made it count again as a double brought in the tying run and a single put runners on the corners with nobody out and chased Toal from the game in favor of Garret Smith. The freshman right hander came up huge, getting a strikeout then a shallow fly to right to record two outs and then got another big strikeout swinging to end the frame and douse the Lope chances of a big inning. Three straight Seward singles to start their half of the 6th put them on top 3-2 and a line drive single from Ibbotson later in the inning scored two more to put them up 5-2 into the 7th. That’s when the Saints late game troubles found them again. Lamar got a single and a walk to bring the tying run to the plate and after a sacrifice bunt to get the first out, the Saints committed their third error of the game to allow a run to score and make it 5-3. After getting a 1-2 count on powerful Lamar centerfielder Jackson Gooch, Smith fell back into a hitters count and paid for it as a 3-2 pitch was drilled over the wall in left center field to give the Lopes the lead back 6-5. After a pitching change the Saints still couldn’t stop the bleeding and two walks and a single later Lamar plated another and took a two run lead 7-5. Barrios singled with one out in the Seward 7th and Dorado got his second hit of the game to put the tying run on with two outs but he was thrown out trying to advance to second on a Lamar bobble and it seemed to completely deflate any momentum it seemed Seward might have for a comeback. A great defensive play by Barrios ended the Lamar 8th with a double play and Seward brought the tying run to the plate twice in the final two innings but couldn’t come through as a tailor made double play ended the Saints 9th and sent them home in defeat 7-5. Again the Saints outhit the Lopes, this time 11-7 but three Seward errors hurt them, allowing Lamar to score four unearned runs in the two run loss. Domrzalski and Ibbotson each had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s for Seward and Dorado had another multi-hit game for the Saints going 2 for 4. Toal didn’t factor in the decision with his 5+ innings of work. He allowed 4 hits and 2 runs while fanning 3.
The two losses send the Saints to their third and fourth consecutive losses, all games in which Seward led after 5 innings of play. They now sit under .500 at 4-5 overall and will be there when they host Frank Phillips at Brent Gould Field Friday afternoon at 1:00 for a double header.