In their first real test of the 2012 season, the Seward County Lady Saints passed two of three phases in their games against the Otero Lady Rattlers. They pitched well, hit good enough to win, but their defense was shaky at best as they were able to come away with a 2-1 game one win behind the pitching of Blaire Taylor, but fell 7-5 in game two as they committed 4 errors and allowed Otero three unearned runs.

Otero came into Sunday one of the top hitting teams in the country, combining to hit at a .354 clip as a team and averaging nearly 8 runs per game. That didnít intimidate Lady Saints ace Blaire Taylor one bit however as the Seward sophomore kept the Lady Rattlers off the board in the first two innings of action in game one to allow Seward to strike first. Bianca Adame created havoc for Otero as she singled to lead off the 2nd and stole second and third on the next two pitches to put her at third with nobody out. Rachel Shockley walked behind her and promptly stole second to put two runners in scoring position with nobody out. A passed ball gave Seward their first run of the day but three straight strikeouts kept Schockley at third and gave the Lady Saints just a 1-0 lead after 2. An error to start the Otero 3rd had the Lady Saints in trouble but a spectacular double play to end the inning kept the Lady Rattlers off the board and Seward on top by one. The Lady Saints again couldnít capitalize on a runner in scoring position and less than two outs in the bottom of the 3rd and they paid for it in the top half of the 4th as Otero squeezed across a run on two hits to make it a 1-1 game into the 5th. Both teams went down 1-2-3 in the 5th inning and Taylor pitched around a tough hop error with two outs in the top of the 6th to keep the game tied at 1. Seward looked like they were going to push the go ahead run through in the bottom of the inning as Kennisha Montgomery singled and stole second with one out but Seward stranded her at third base yet again as they couldnít come through in the clutch. Taylor continued her mastery of the Lady Rattler bats in the 7th and gave Seward a chance for the walkoff win in the bottom of the 7th but a two out single from Ashley Kirkes was wasted and the teams went to extra innings tied 1-1. The teams played the international tie breaker in the 8th inning, with a runner on 2nd base to begin the inning. It was a welcome sight for the Lady Rattlers who had only gotten three runners to second the entire game on their own. Taylor got a big strikeout to start the frame and a groundball to second moved the runner up but recorded the second out for the Lady Saints. A walk and a hit by pitch loaded the bases but Taylor induced another groundball that was not so easily handled by Taylor McDougall at third to end the threat. Breanna Diaz started at second for Seward in the bottom of the 8th and was quickly moved to third on a groundout from Stephanie Mark. That brought McDougall to the plate and the sophomore wasted no time in driving her teammate in, ripping a single up the middle on the first pitch she saw to bring Diaz home and give the Lady Saints the 2-1 walkoff win. Taylorís best game as a Lady Saint saw her go all 8 innings in the win, allowing just 4 Otero hits and 1 run while punching out a career high 6. Kirkes was the only Seward player to have a multi-hit game as she finished 2 for 4 and McDougall picked up the Lady Saints only RBI in the game with her 8th inning hit.
The Lady Rattlers were the first to strike in game two as they broke through in the 3rd with a pair of runs on three hits to take a 2-0 lead. After a dropped fly ball in the outfield by Seward, Otero packed onto their advantage in the 4th with two more runs to take a 4-0 lead. The Lady Saints were unable to take advantage of a leadoff single in their half of the inning and they remained down 4-0 into the 5th. The Lady Rattlers came up empty in their half of the 5th and Seward was finally able to push a run across in the bottom of the inning as Adame singled and stole second before a single up the middle from Shockley to score her and make it a 4-1 game. The Lady Saints gave the runs right back in the 6th as another error allowed Otero to get two tallies to go on top 6-1. Just when it looked like the Lady Saints hopes were going to be dashed for the game, Seward roared back in their half of the 6th with back to back doubles from Diaz and Mark to get things going and an RBI double from Adame followed by a 2 RBI triple from Shockley after that to bring in two more runs and make it a one run game at 6-5. With momentum on their side, the Lady Saints went to the 7th down by just one but that momentum balloon was quickly popped as a misplayed fly ball started the inning and later scored to make it a 7-5 game as Seward came up for their last at bats of the game. Kirkes singled to lead off the inning and brought the middle of the Lady Saints order up with a chance to tie the game but they couldnít get it done this time and the Lady Saints fell 7-5. Seward outhit the Lady Rattlers 10-9 in the game but committed 4 errors while Otero played a clean game defensively. Shockley led the Seward offense, going 2 for 3 with 3 RBIís while Adame had a pair of hits and scored 2 runs and Mark had a 3 hit day including a pair of doubles.
The split is the Lady Saints first of the year in four outings and moves them to 7-3 overall on the year. Next up for Seward is a double header Wednesday at Clarendon followed by a home double dip against Lamar on Thursday at Lady Saints Field.