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Longball Keys Wins in Colby Tournament

On a brilliant day for softball Saturday in Colby the Seward County Lady Saints used the longball in a pair of wins, beating Region IX foes McCook and Trinidad State by wide margins while falling to Western Nebraska in a 2-1 day in the Allen Wolfe Memorial Tournament.

The Lady Saints opened the tournament on Saturday with a team that they had seen twice earlier in the 2014 campaign, the McCook Lady Indians.

McCook got on the board right away, using a pair of 1st inning singles and a sacrifice fly to take an early 1-0 lead.

Seward answered in the bottom half of the inning, getting one out singles from Pokey Ewell and Becky Allen followed by a McCook error with two outs in the inning to score both runners to put the Lady Saints on top 2-1.

The Lady Saints added to their lead in the 2nd when Andrea Sitter ripped a two out single up the middle to score Danielle Orr from second to make it 3-1.

With one out in the 3rd Marissa Chavez turned around an inside riseball for a solo home run to make it 4-1 Lady Saints.

McCook made some noise in the 4th as they got three hits, turning them into a run to make it 4-2, but Seward starter Brittany Hopkins limited the Indians to that, getting a big strikeout to end the frame with the tying runs on base.

Her offense responded for her as Vanessa Oakden reached on an error to start the Seward half of the 4th and Orr stayed on the first pitch she saw, driving it over the right field fence for a two run shot to give the Lady Saints a 6-2 advantage.

After a quick 1-2-3 inning by Hopkins in the top of the 5th, the Seward bats added to their lead, scoring three times on RBI's from Joe Ann Rapoza, Tiffanie Bolanos, and Orr to stretch their lead to 9-2.

Hopkins did the rest, facing just one over the minimum through the final two innings to secure the 9-2 win for the Lady Saints.

Seward outhit McCook 10-8 in the win, but it was 5 McCook errors that loomed large while the Lady Saints played it clean on their side of the ball.  Orr led Seward at the dish, going 2 for 3 with a home run and 3 RBI's while Becky Allen had a pair of hits and scored 2 runs.  Hopkins earned the win in the circle for the Lady Saints, going the distance and allowing 8 hits and 2 runs to move to 13-3 on the year.

SEWARD COUNTY/MCCOOK BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/sball/2013-14/boxscores/20140412_da4i.xml>

Next up for Seward was a battle with perennial Empire Conference power Western Nebraska as the Lady Saints venue changed over to Colby's campus field.

It was a classic pitchers dual early between Seward's Katelyn Craker and Western Nebraska's Sarah McGraw.

Craker kept the Cougars without a baserunner through the first four innings of the contest while the Lady Saints were able to pick up just two hits through the first four to keep the game scoreless.

Western Nebraska broke through in a big way in the top half of the 5th with a one out solo home run to break the deadlock to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

The Lady Saints offensive struggles continued through the 5th where they struck out twice and went down in order.

Craker kept it a 1-0 game despite a Seward error in the 6th, but the Lady Saints couldn't get anything going in the bottom half as it remained a 1-0 contest going into the final inning of play.

In the Western Nebraska 7th, McGraw helped herself, getting a one out single and later coming around to score on a ball off the fence to make it 2-0 Cougars.

Luck was just not on Seward's side in this one as the Lady Saints scalded a pair of balls to start their half of the 7th, but neither of them would fall as they landed in the gloves of Cougar outfielders and that was all she wrote for the gals in green as they fell 2-0.

The game featured just 6 total hits, 3 for Western Nebraska and 3 for the Lady Saints.  Craker took the tough luck loss to fall to 16-4 on the year as she went the whole way in the circle for Seward, allowing just 3 hits and 2 runs, both earned, while striking out 6.

SEWARD COUNTY/WESTERN NEBRASKA BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/sball/2013-14/boxscores/20140412_beky.xml>

The Lady Saints didn't have much time to dwell on the loss to the Cougars as they had another game to play in a new location right after their hard fought battle with Western Nebraska.  Seward's third opponent of the day was the Trinidad State Lady Trojans.

Despite a slow offensive game just minutes prior, it didn't take long for the Lady Saints to get going in their nightcap as Andrea Sitter singled to lead off the game for Seward and she quickly scored on an RBI single from Allen to make it 1-0 Seward in the top of the 1st.

Trinidad State answered with a triple and a home run in the bottom of the 1st inning and just like that the Lady Saints found themselves trailing 2-1 after 1.

After a fly out started the Seward 2nd, the Lady Saints hammered out three straight singles to load the bases for Allen and the Jayhawk Conference's leading RBI lady didn't miss the opportunity to add to her total in this spot.  On a 1-0 pitch, Allen hit a moon shot to left field, easily clearing the wall and nearly clearing the 280 foot second fence protecting the parking lot at Colby Municipal Park for a grand slam, her second of the year to give the Lady Saints a 5-2 lead.  After a double from Marissa Chavez and a ringing single from Rapoza, it was Orr's turn to get into the longball act and she skied a 2-0 pitch that had just enough juice to get over the left center field wall for a three run shot to make it 8-2 Lady Saints.  Seward reloaded the bases after the home run and Pokey Ewell singled home the Lady Saints eighth run of the inning before a Seward runner was cut down at the plate to leave the score 9-2 at innings end.

The Lady Saints were back at it in the 3rd as Allen smashed a ground rule double and Chavez doubled behind her to plate another run to make it 10-2 Seward.  Later in the inning Orr launched a sacrifice fly to score Chavez to push the Lady Saints lead to 11-2.

Trinidad scored an unearned run after a Seward error in the 4th, but the Lady Saints quickly answered as Orr blasted her second home run of the day and third on the day to push the lead back to 12-3.

The Trojans loaded the bases thanks in part to a pair of Seward errors in the 5th, but Lady Saints starter Jaclyn Wagner wiggled out of the jam without allowing a run to score to give the Lady Saints a 12-3 run rule victory.

The stat sheet was all Lady Saints at the end of this one as Seward outhit Trinidad 17-4 in the contest.  The top six hitters in the Lady Saints order all had muilt-hit games in the win including Allen who tied a career high with 4 hits while driving in 5 with a home run and a double in the victory.  Chavez finished 3 for 4 with a pair of runs scored while Orr was 2 for 3 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI's.   Wagner earned her fifth win of the season, going all 5 innings, allowing 4 hits and 3 runs, 2 earned, while striking out 3.

SEWARD COUNTY/TRINIDAD STATE BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/sball/2013-14/boxscores/20140412_dquk.xml>

Day two of the tournament was wiped out due to an overnight rain storm in the Colby area.

The Lady Saints now hit the home stretch of their 2014 season as they host their final four home games of the year this week.  Wednesday they will entertain Jayhawk West rival Garden City in a 3:00 doubleheader followed by a non-conference twinbill with Pratt on Friday at 2:00.

Roy Allen

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