After winning their sixth consecutive game (five on the road), the Seward County Community College baseball team had a disastrous finish in game-two, splitting a Jayhawk West Conference doubleheader at Pratt Community College on Wednesday night. Seward County won their fifth straight road game with a 5-1 victory in the opener and then dropped the nightcap, 6-5 in a nine-inning contest that Seward County led 5-3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. Seward County remains in a tie for first-place with a 28-18 overall record and 15-7 record in the Jayhawk West Conference. Sixth-place Pratt snapped a nine game losing streak against the Saints and improve to 15-29 overall and to 8-12 in the conference standings.

Seward County handled Pratt in game-one with freshman Jordan McClintick pitching 5.2 innings, allowing only one run despite walking seven batters and collecting three strikeouts. The Saints defense played flawless marking the fourth game during their six game winning streak without committing an error. Saints sophomore reliever, Eric Everson entered the game in the sixth inning and picked up the save throwing 1.1 innings where he posted two strikeouts.

The Saints welcomed back Kai Kirby to the line-up in game-one, after missing the last two games due to a collision in the outfield during game-one at Colby last Sunday. Kirby went 2-for-3 at the plate with a triple, a run scored and RBI in his first game back in the line-up playing right field. The Saints leading hitter this season, Stu Schlemeyer, continued his strong season at the plate going 2-for-4 with two RBI, and sophomore Tanner Rindels also hit well going 2-for-4 with two doubles and a RBI in the opening game victory.

In addition Austin Roff, who was in the collision with Kirby last Sunday, made it back into the line-up as the designated hitter in game-two against Pratt, where he went 1-for-3 with a double.

In game-two, the Saints trailed the Beavers 3-1 going into the top of the seventh inning. The top of the line-up started a rally with Kirby (single) and Schlemeyer (error) reaching base. Three-hole hitter, Erik Hegstad, advanced both runners with a well placed sacrifice bunt. Rindels was then retired with a swinging strikeout, giving the Saints two outs and runners at second and third base trailing by two runs. Sophomore Toby Davis came through for the Saints hitting a two-run single to right field to score both Kirby and Schlemeyer to even the score at 3-3.

Pratt was held scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings before Hegstad hit a deep two-run home run to left field in the top of the ninth inning giving the Saints a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the ninth.

Everson entered the ninth inning after retiring the two batters he faced in the seventh, and recording three outs in the eighth inning. The sophomore lefty began the ninth issuing a walk to the Pratt nine-hole hitter. Everson then struck out the next batter before issuing another walk, and then a single to left field. Saints head coach Galen McSpadden then went to the bullpen to bring in sophomore left-handed pitcher Curtis Hamilton.

Hamilton entered the game with the bases loaded and one out, while getting his first batter to hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring a run, to give the Saints two outs with a one run lead (5-4).

The Saints misfortune started immediately following the sacrifice fly with Hamilton attempting a pick-off at first base and over-throwing Hegstad, allowing the Pratt runner at second base to score and tie the game. The Pratt base runner who was at first base was then running to third base when the Saints over threw the third baseman allowing the Beavers to score the winning run and to finish the game with a 6-5 comeback victory.

Everson was the losing pitching, allowing three runs (one earned), two walks, one hit-by-pitch, one hit, and collecting two strikeouts in two innings pitched.

Kirby went 2-for-5 to lead the Saints at the plate, while Hegstad went 1-for-3, and collected his team-high ninth home run of the season. The Saints hit just 7-for-32 (.219) in game-two, after out-hitting Pratt 11-4 in game-one.

Seward County and Butler Community College (25-11, 15-7) will battle on Thursday, April 19 in El Dorado to settle who will be the front runner for the Jayhawk West Conference title in the final 10 days of the regular season. The Saints and Grizzlies each enter Thursday with a 15-7 conference record, after Butler split a conference doubleheader against Dodge City on Wednesday. The first-place doubleheader is scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. first-pitch at McDonald Stadium.