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Ricigliano’s Gem Salvages Split for Saints

KSCB News - April 25, 2016 6:20 am

The Seward County Saints were forced to settle for yet another Jayhawk West Conference split against the Barton Cougars Sunday afternoon at Brent Gould Field in Liberal as the Saints couldn’t hold a 9-6 lead in the final inning of game three, eventually falling 11-9 before a gem on the mound from Nic Ricigliano gave Seward a 10-0 run rule win in the series finale to end the weekend 2-2 against the Cougars.

Barton got on the board first in game three, getting a leadoff double and then a two out two bagger in the 2nd to jump in front of Seward 1-0.

The Saints leveled the score at 1 in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double from Chad Kennedy, but a pair of Seward County errors in the top of the 3rd gave the Cougars three gift wrapped runs to give Barton the lead back at 4-1.

A leadoff home run by Justin Graff-Rowe and an RBI single from Logan Nethercot in the 3rd got the Saints back to within one at 4-3.

The teams traded runs in the 4th and Barton got another in the top of the 5th on a solo home run to push their lead to two at 6-4.

After two quick Seward outs in the bottom of the 5th, the Saints bats game alive. Jared Biddy cranked a solo home run to get the Saints to within one and Cody Stineman followed suit with a bomb of his own to tie the game at 6. But Seward wasn’t done yet as Kennedy came up and smashed the Saints third straight bomb, giving them the lead and marking the second straight season that Seward went back to back to back on the Cougars.

Seward got what looked like two big insurance runs in their next trip to the plate, extending their lead to 9-6 on an RBI single from Antonio Dorado and a sacrifice fly from Biddy to go up three.

Needing just three outs to preserve the win, the Saints fell apart. A misplayed ball by pitcher Adam Keller started the mess and two singles later, the bases were loaded with Barton Cougars with nobody out. On a comebacker to the mound with the sacks packed, it looked like the Saints would get an easy 1-2-3 double play ball, but instead, they couldn’t handle the first throw at the plate and Barton picked up a run and kept the bases loaded, still with nobody out. A single to left made it a one run game at 9-8 and a strikeout mercifully gave the Saints their first out of the inning. Reliever Jonathan Castillo then got what looked like another tailor made double play ball that would have ended the game and yet again, Seward couldn’t handle the baseball on the twin killing. They picked up the first out at second, but dropped the transfer trying to complete the double play, allowing the game tying run to score to make it 9-9. With the floodgates opened, a double off the center field wall scored two more and just like that, a 9-6 Seward lead turned into an 11-9 Saints deficit as they took the sticks for their final at bats.

A leadoff walk in the 7th gave the Saints three cracks at tying the game with the wind blowing out, but three straight pop outs quickly ended the threat and closed out an 11-9 win for the Cougars in game three.

Each side had 13 hits in the contest, but the difference came in the error column where Seward kicked it three times, and mishandled two others that technically go down as errors, allowing four unearned Barton runs, ending up being the difference in the game. Kennedy had a huge game for the Saints, going 3 for 4 with a home run, two doubles, and two RBI’s in the loss while Graff-Rowe and Biddy each homered and had two RBI’s for the Saints as well. Castillo took the loss on the mound for Seward, allowing two hits and two runs in one inning pitched, falling to 2-6 on the year.


In game four, the Saints turned to Nic Ricigliano on the mound in his second career start, needing a win to salvage the series split.

Ricigliano answered the bell in the 1st, striking out the side against the Cougars to allow the Saints to take the early lead in the bottom of the inning as Graff-Rowe singled home a run and Dorado launched a two run home run to give Seward a 3-0 advantage.

Ricigliano worked a 1-2-3 2nd for the Saints and got a double play ball to get out of a mess in the 3rd to keep Seward on top 3-0.

Graff-Rowe was in the middle of another scoring inning for Seward in the 3rd, doubling to lead off the inning before coming home on a single from Logan Nethercot to extend the Saints lead to 4-0.

Ricigliano continued to play with fire in the 4th and 5th innings, putting two runners on in each inning, but he managed to wiggle his way out of trouble both times to keep a goose egg on the board for the Cougars through five.

Seward scored twice on just one hit in the bottom of the 5th, taking advantage of a pair of walks and a pair of wild pitches to push their lead to 6-0.

A quick inning from Ricigliano in the 6th allowed the Saints to blow the game open in the bottom half as Seward took advantage of a Barton error to score two and take an 8-0 lead before Nethercot continued a big weekend with a two run bomb over the right center field wall to make it a 10-0 Seward advantage.

Back out for the 7th in just his second career start, Ricigliano worked around a one out Seward error to close out the Cougars and give the Saints a 10-0 run rule win in seven.

Ricigliano goes the distance for the second straight time, allowing just five hits in a complete game shutout. The sophomore third baseman turned hurler struck out five and walked two in the 92 pitch gem. Seward finished with 12 hits in the win, getting a huge game from the top half of the order. Graff-Rowe and Nethercot each had three hits for the Saints while Errett Edwards had two hits and scored two runs from the leadoff spot and Dorado was 2 for 4 with two RBI’s and two runs scored.


The split is not what the Saints were looking for as they fell a game behind Dodge City for the fourth and final home playoff spot for the upcoming Region VI Tournament. Seward now sits 27-22 overall and 16-12 in conference play where they now need to win their final series on the road against the Conqs to return to Brent Gould Field in weekend action this season. Barton will take the road split, solidifying their #6 seed for the Region VI Tournament as they go to 27-22 overall as well, while moving to 13-15 in Jayhawk West Conference action.

The Saints will hit the road Wednesday when they travel to Borger, Texas to take on Frank Phillips once again. The Saints and Plainsmen will get things underway in a 2:00 start.


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