They did it the hard way, but they got it done. After losing their opening game of Jayhawk West Conference play to Cloud County on Saturday, the Seward County Saints roared back to win three straight over the T-Birds to win the series 3-1 to take an early lead in the Region VI standings. Seward was up 4-0 in game one but Cloud scored 6 unanswered to win 6-4. In game two the Saints got out to an 8-0 lead just to see the T-Birds score 6 unanswered again to make it close late in an 8-6 Seward win. Game three the Saints controlled throughout in an 8-3 win and Seward saved their best for last as they run ruled Cloud out of Liberal 11-1 in the series finale.

Seward couldnít have drawn up a much better start to their Jayhawk West Conference season. After starter Gavin Glanz put up a zero in the top half of the 1st, the first five Saints of their half of the inning reached base, highlighted by RBI knocks from Jake Barrios, Willy Gustin, and Carlos Dorado to make it 3-0. With the bases loaded and still just one out Sam Pack lined a single to left to push home another run and make it 4-0 Seward. That was the end of the scoring for both teams for a while. Cloud managed a lone single in the top of the 2nd and the Saints had a runner reach on an error in the bottom of the inning but both teams went 1-2-3 in the 3rd and quickly the teams moved to the 4th with the score still 4-0 Seward County. In the 4th the Thunderbirds finally showed some life. A single and a walk started things before a Seward error pushed the first Cloud run home to make it 4-1. A sacrifice fly scored the T-Birds second run of the inning and back to back doubles behind that quickly tied the game at 4. A passed ball put Cloud County on top for the first time in the game 5-4 and a single scored another to make it 6-4 before the dust was settled. All the Saints responded with was a one out single in the bottom half of the 4th and the score remained 6-4 Cloud County into the 5th. The 5th was much quieter for the T-Birds as Glanz sat them down 1-2-3 including a pair of strikeouts but Seward did the same and still trailed by two after 5. Garret Smith came out of the Saints bullpen to start the 6th and sat down Cloud on just nine pitches to get Seward back on the bats but they couldnít get anything going once again and the final inning of the game approached with the Saints needing a comeback. Smith gave the Saints chance by keeping Cloud from adding to their lead in the top of the 7th and the Saints had something cooking with two outs in their last at bats as Steven Polito singled and Barrios singled to put the tying run on base with two outs. The Saints however, were not able to come through in the clutch and fell in a disappointing opener 6-4 to the T-Birds. Seward outhit Cloud 7 to 6 in the game but the Saints committed 5 errors, leading to 3 unearned T-Bird runs in the loss. Barrios had 2 hits and an RBI for the Saints while Dorado and Pack drove in the other two runs for Seward in the loss. Glanz suffered his first career loss for Seward, going 5 innings and allowing 6 hits and 3 earned runs while striking out 4. Smith was solid in relief for the Saints, going 2 perfect innings and fanning one.
It looked like dejavu early on in game two for the Saints as their offense was all over Cloud County pitching again in their first at bats. An RBI single from Polito to score Tanner Rainey got things started and an RBI knock from Gustin later on made it 3-0 before a two out single from Diego Cruz put the Saints on top 4-0 after 1. The T-Birds had something cooking in the 2nd but a line drive double play ended the threat and kept the Saints out in front. Neither team could scratch a run out in their next trips to the plate and the Saints remained in front 4-0. In the bottom of the 3rd Seward changed that with an RBI single from Deven Nelson and another RBI single behind that by Cruz to make it 6-0 Seward after 3. Seward really started piling on in the 4th and 5th as a Dorado knock put Seward up 7-0 in the 4th and a Rainey single scored Nelson in the 5th to make it 8-0. Seward starter Keegan Hucul continued his great start to his sophomore campaign and cruised through the 6th and sent the game to the 7th with his shutout still intact and the Saints on top 8-0. Cloud County finally broke through in the 7th, taking advantage of a Saints error to score a pair of runs to make it 8-2 and then got a triple to clear a bases loaded situation to make it 8-5. Seward couldnít answer in the 7th or 8th and the teams went to the 9th inning with the score still 8-5. It looked as if the T-Birds were poised for another comeback as they loaded the bases in the 9th with just one out. A sacrifice fly scored one and brought the go ahead run to the plate for the T-Birds. On a 1-1 count, Saints closer Johnny Griffith who was working his third inning of relief, got a ground ball and the Saints took care of it to come out with the 8-6 nail-biting win. Hucul earned the win, going 6 2/3 innings, allowing 5 hits and 4 runs, all unearned, while striking out 6 and walking 4. Griffith earned his third save of the season, going 2 1/3 innings out of the Saints bullpen. Dorado led the Saints offense with a perfect 4 for 4 game including Sewardís only extra base hit out of their 13 knocks in the game. Cruz had 2 hits in 4 chances and drove in a pair and Rainey and Gustin each finished with 2 hits in the win.
After the day one split in a pair of close games, the Saints looked to make things a little bit easier on themselves on day two of the series. Once again they jumped ahead right out of the gates as Rainey and Polito reached base to start the game and Gustin drove Rainey home for the gameís first run. Dorado brought home Polito on a groundout to make it 2-0 and a Trevor Julian hit would push Gustin across the plate to make it 3-0. Cloud didnít wait around in this game to get their scoring done as the T-Birds took advantage of a pair of hits to start their 2nd and scored two runs to make it 3-2 and that is where the game stood into the bottom half of the 3rd inning. Polito scorched a triple down the right field line to start the Saints 3rd and he scored on a groundout from Gustin to make it 4-2. With two outs and nobody on, the Saints got things going again. A Dorado single and a Julian double put two on for Cruz and the freshman backstop delivered both runners with a double into the gap to put the Seward lead to 6-2. Saints righthander Tyler Wiedenfeld stymied the T-Birds once again in the top of the 4th and Seward was right back on the bats in the bottom half of the inning. Francisco Bolanos dropped down a bunt single to get things going and a T-Bird error put two on with nobody out. Polito singled home a run to make it 7-2 and Gustin greeted Cloud reliever Ryan Blankenship with an RBI single to make it 8-2. The game stayed 8-2 through the 5th and in the 6th Cloud County picked up an unearned run after a Saints error to close the gap to 8-3. The Saints had traffic in the bottom of the 6th as they looked for insurance runs but couldnít get anything across as Rainey was tagged out at the plate to end the inning with the score still 8-3. In the 7th, Head Coach Galen McSpadden left his freshman Wiedenfeld in there to try and finish things out and that he did. Wiedenfeld battled through a Seward error and a walk to finish the T-Birds and give the Saints the 8-3 win. Wiedenfeld earned the win, going all 7 innings and allowing just 5 hits and 2 earned runs while fanning 4. Polito finished the game with 3 hits and an RBI for the Saints while Gustin and Cruz each had 2 RBIís.
With the Saints looking to take the series and the T-Birds looking to split it in game four, Seward and Cloud took the field for the series finale. Surprisingly for junior college baseball in game four of a weekend series, a pitchers dual broke out early on. The Saints TJ Looney and the T-Birds Taylor West were locked in a good one through 2 as each pitcher had allowed just one runner to second base through the first two frames. Cloud scored first in the top half of the 3rd after Looney hit three T-Bird batters in the inning to make it 1-0. The Saints could get nothing going against West, going down 1-2-3 in the 3rd and 4th innings to keep it a 1-0 game into the 5th. Cloud put two on with one out in the top of the 5th but couldnít score and the Saints were gifted their first run of the game on a wild pitch with the bases loaded to even the game at 1. Looney kept the game tied by blanking the T-Birds in the top of the 6th and his offense responded by finally breaking through in the bottom of the 6th inning. Gustin doubled to start things and Dorado reached on an error to put two on and nobody out. After a successful sacrifice from Kevin Domrzalski, Julian singled to score one and Troy Owen lashed a double into right center to score another to make it a 3-1 game. Cloud went down in order in the 7th and took the game to stretch time. Seward loaded the bases with nobody out to start their half of the 7th and a Domrzalski single brought two home with one out. A walk reloaded the bases and an Owen double to deep left field cleared them to blow the game open and make it 8-1 Saints. Seward wasnít done. With two outs, Polito lined a double off of the Cloud second baseman to score two more and put Seward ahead 10-1. The T-Birds didnít score in the top of the 8th and with two outs in the Seward half of the 8th Domrzalski was hit by a pitch and with a 1-0 count Julian ended the game with a ringing double to right center to bring Domrzalski around to score and give the Saints the 11-1 run rule win. Owen finished the best game of his young Seward career a perfect 4 for 4 with 3 doubles and 4 RBIís. Julian went 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBIís and Domrzalski came off the bench to drive in 2 runs and score a pair in the Saints win. Looney earned the win with 7 solid innings of work in his conference debut. The freshman allowed just 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 2.
The series win pushes the Saints back over .500 on the season as their overall record now sits at 9-8. The Saints start Jayhawk West and Region VI play with a 3-1 record which puts them on top early in the Region standings and 2nd in the West standings behind Garden City who swept Dodge City opening weekend. Next up for Seward is a trip to El Dorado this weekend where they will take on a Butler team on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 both days at McDonaldís Stadium