Defensive Blunders Costly in Saints Baseball Opener

KSCB News - January 31, 2016 8:57 am

Playing on a nearly perfect January day to kick off their 2016 season, the Seward County Saints had trouble corralling the baseball Saturday afternoon at Brent Gould Field in Liberal, committing seven errors, leading to two costly unearned runs as the visiting McCook Indians came from behind to shock them with two runs in the 9th to knock off the Saints 4-3.

McCook got on the board first in both teams’ 2016 opener as the Indians James Babic launched a two out, solo home run over the left center field wall in the 2nd to put the Indians in front early 1-0.

McCook starter Chase Adams kept the Saints off balance through the first three innings, as all Seward had to show for offense was a one out double by Errett Edwards in the 3rd as the Indians remained in front 1-0.

The Saints had a golden opportunity to break through in the 4th, loading the bases with two outs, but they couldn’t come through with the clutch hit, leaving the pillows stuffed as the inning came to a close as McCook clung to a 1-0 lead after four.

Seward’s defense got sloppy in the McCook half of the 5th as the Saints committed three errors, eventually leading to an Indian run to give McCook a 2-0 lead at the midway point of the ballgame.

Sophomore Logan Nethercot finally got the Saints going in the bottom half of the 5th as he laced a single the other way for an RBI single to put Seward on the board and cut the McCook lead to 2-1. With a runner at third and just one out in the inning, the Saints looked like they had a golden opportunity to bring home the equalized, but they were gunned down at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch and McCook got out of the game still ahead 2-1 after five.

A pair of Big 12 transfers gave the Saints some life in the 6th as former West Virginia righty Adam Keller blanked the Indians in the top half of the frame and former Texas Tech Red Raider Jared Biddy drove home the tying run with a groundout in the bottom half to knot the game at 2.

Seward took their first lead of the game after stretch time in the 7th as Austin Bartosovsky scored on a wild pitch to put the Saints ahead 3-2.

Lefty Jakob Hernandez came in from the Seward bullpen and worked a 1-2-3 top half of the 8th to keep Seward ahead 3-2, but the Saints couldn’t add any insurance runs in the bottom half of the frame and it would come back to bite them.

With McCook down to their final two outs in the 9th, Babic struck again for the Indians, sending an 0-2 Hernandez pitch flying over the wall in dead center field to ignite the McCook dugout and tie the game at 3. Another Seward error put the go ahead run on for the Indians and a single up the middle put runners on the corners with two outs. A groundball on the infield looked like it would get the Saints out of the inning tied, but Seward’s seventh error of the game allowed the Indians to plate another run to take the lead 4-3.

McCook gave the Saints a gift in the bottom of the 9th with an error to allow their leadoff man to reach, but a failed bunt attempt kept a runner at first with one out. A four pitch walk to Chad Kennedy put two on with one out, but it was not to be for Seward on this day as a tailor made double play ball was turned by the Indians and that was all she wrote for the Saints as they fell 4-3.

Seward outhit the Indians 7-6 in the game, but the 7 errors proved costly with 2 unearned runs. Edwards and Nethercot each had 2 hits for the Saints in the defeat. The Saints pitching staff was locked in in the opener. The only earned runs that the four Seward arms allowed in the game were the two solo home runs to Babic. Outside of that, they combined to strike out 16 McCook hitters without walking a single one. Nathan Dockery started and went 4 innings, punching out 8 before Keller relieved him to pitch through the 7th, striking out 6 in his 3 innings of work. Hernandez took the loss, allowing 2 runs, 1 earned in 1 2/3 innings pitched.

The Saints drop their season opener to the Indians for the second straight season as they fall to 0-1 to start the year while McCook starts 1-0.

The Saints will get back after things next weekend when they travel to Dallas for a four game set with Galveston on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.


Roy Allen


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