Butler Wins Region 6 Softball Title Over Seward

KSCB News - May 5, 2014 6:37 am

For the third time in four seasons, the Seward County Lady Saints season came to an end in the Region VI Championship game Sunday afternoon at Wilkins Stadium in Wichita as after falling to Butler earlier in the day 8-3 and then working their way back to the title game with a 5-2 win over Barton, Seward fell flat against the rival Grizzlies in the Championship game, falling 15-4 to end their season.

The Lady Saints day started in the first semifinal game of the tournament as they squared off with rival Butler with a trip to the title game on the line.

Things didn’t start so well for the gals in green as they began the game with a dropped fly ball in the outfield while later turned into a run to give the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead.

Seward was quiet on offense early as they went down in order in the first two innings to remain behind 1-0.

Butler opened things up in the top half of the 3rd, using a leadoff single and a walk to put two on with nobody out and after a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up 60 feet, Ashton Atwell launched a three run home run towering over the center field wall to put the Grizzlies up 4-0. Later in the inning the Grizzlies picked up back to back two out hits to score another run and after a 1-2-3 bottom of the 3rd for Seward it was 5-0 Butler after 3.

Katelyn Craker retired the top of the Butler side in order in the top of the 4th, but Seward’s offensive struggles continued as they went down in order as well in the 4th to keep the score 5-0.

Craker kept the score there with a scoreless 5th and Seward finally broke through in the bottom half of the inning. Marissa Chavez singled for Seward’s first baserunner of the game and after a single from Danielle Orr, Joe Ann Rapoza blasted her second home run of the season over the left center field wall to quickly cut the Lady Saints deficit to 5-3.

Butler seized momentum back in the top of the 6th however as a solo home run to start the inning pushed their lead back to 6-3.

Seward couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the 6th and Atwell launched her second home run of the game in the 7th to cushion the Grizzly lead to 8-3.

Rapoza ripped a two out double in the 7th, but it was too little too late for the Lady Saints who struck out three times in the inning to end the game and fall 8-3.

The contest wasn’t as close as the score indicated as Butler outhit Seward 10-4 in the game and the Lady Saints had just 2 hits outside of Rapoza’s 2 for 3, 3 RBI contest. Craker took the loss in the circle, going 6 innings and allowing 10 hits and 8 runs, 7 earned, while striking out 3 and walking 3.

SEWARD COUNTY/#7 BUTLER SEMIFINAL BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/sball/2013-14/boxscores/20140504_9hgv.xml>

The Lady Saints were down, but certainly weren’t out of the tournament just yet as they got another semifinal shot a few hours later against a Barton team coming off of an emotional walkoff win against Garden City just moments before.

Both teams had traffic early on as Seward left three runners on through the first two innings and Barton left a pair on to end the 1st as the game remained scoreless.

In the Barton 2nd though, the Cougars broke through, getting a leadoff single and a two run home run behind that to jump out to an early 2-0 lead.

The Lady Saints responded with two runs of their own in the top of the 3rd to tie things up as Andrea Sitter tripled home a run to make it 2-1 and Pokey Ewell hit a sac fly to knot things at 2.

A pair of Seward errors in the 3rd gave Barton hope at taking the lead back but a nice defensive play by Chavez at short ended that threat and kept it a 2-2 game.

In the Seward 4th a leadoff walk helped get them going and after a double from Rapoza, it was a sacrifice fly off the bat of Vanessa Oakden that scored a run and put the Lady Saints on top for the first time in the game 3-2. Later in the inning a mishandled groundball on the infield by the Cougars allowed another Seward run to score and after 3 ½ innings of play it was Seward 4 and Barton 2.

Seward was unable to extend upon their lead against a tired Barton bunch, but Lady Saints starter Brittany Hopkins held the lead through the middle innings as it remained a 4-2 game into the bottom of the 6th.

After getting two quick outs in the Barton 6th, Hopkins ran into a bit of trouble as the Cougars loaded the bases with two outs on a single, an error, and a hit batter to put the tying and go ahead runs on base. With the bases loaded and the game in the balance, Hopkins induced a groundball against the Cougars best hitter and the Seward defense took care of business to keep it a 4-2 game.

In the Seward 7th, the Lady Saints managed to add an insurance run as Oakden doubled down the line to score a run and make it a 5-2 advantage for the gals in green.

A Seward error to start the Cougars final at bats gave Barton hope, but Hopkins ended any chance of a run scoring inning as she got a pair of pop outs followed by a strikeout to end the game and give the Lady Saints the 5-2 win.

Seward wasn’t sharp for the second straight game as they were outhit in the game 9-7 and the Lady Saints committed 4 errors in the game to Barton’s 2. Sitter led the Lady Saints at the top of the lineup, going 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. Oakden finished 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI’s in the win. Hopkins went the distance in the circle, moving to 19-5 on the year as she allowed 9 hits and 2 runs while striking out 6 and not walking a batter for Seward.

SEWARD COUNTY/BARTON SEMIFINAL BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/sball/2013-14/boxscores/20140504_lah2.xml>

The win meant that the Lady Saints got another crack at Butler in the championship game. To take home the region title, the Lady Saints had to win two games against the Grizzlies while Butler needed just one win in two contests to capture the title for themselves.

Things got off to about as good of start as possible for Seward as their first two batters of the game reached base and both scored on a one out single from Chavez to give them an early 2-0 lead.

The score remained 2-0 into the Butler half of the 2nd inning after each team failed to score in their next at bats.

Butler got a double and a walk to start their half of the 2nd and a misplayed fly ball gave the Grizzlies a run to make it 2-1. After a walk, another misplayed fly ball by the Lady Saints outfield allowed Butler to score the equalizer and led to the floodgates opening on the gals in green. Two more Butler hits yielded three runs to make it 5-2 and a walk and another single pushed the Grizzly lead to 7-2. Butler wasn’t done there. After working her way to a 3-0 count, Grizzly first baseman Jillian Navarrate launched a line drive home run over the wall for a grand slam and just like that Butler was out in front 11-2.

Seward got a run back in the 3rd on an RBI single from Becky Allen, but Butler answered with two more runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to take a 10 run, 13-3 lead.

Rapoza continued her big day with another home run off of Butler All-American Sydnee Eck in the 4th, but again Butler was right there to answer with two runs in the 5th to push their lead to 15-4.

That would be the way that things would end as Seward went down in order in the 6th and managed just a lone single from Tiari Walker in the 7th before a groundball ended the game and the Lady Saints season with Butler winning the Region VI Championship 15-4.

Butler unloaded a 17 hit attack on Seward while the Lady Saints managed 9 hits in the loss. Allen was the only Seward player with multiple hits in the game as she finished 2 for 3 with an RBI in the defeat. Craker was hit hard in the loss, allowing 8 hits and 11 earned runs in just 1 1/3 innings in the circle, falling to 21-5 on the year.

SEWARD COUNTY/#7 BUTLER REGION VI CHAMPIONSHIP GAME BOX<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/sball/2013-14/boxscores/20140504_sxry.xml>

Seward’s season comes to an end at 47-13, their most wins since the 2010 season.

Roy Allen


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