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Hernandez Sharp but Saints Split in Dodge City

KSCB News - May 1, 2016 9:15 am

In what has been a season of inconsistencies, two things that have been consistent for the Seward County Saints showed themselves again on Saturday as the Saints took on the Dodge City Conquistadors to kick off their final Jayhawk West Conference series of the 2016 season. In the opener, ace Jakob Hernandez was solid as usual, not allowing a hit past the 2nd inning while striking out 13 in a 4-1 Seward County win. In game two though, the Saints fell short 6-5, splitting their fifth straight and seventh of their past nine conference doubleheaders to put themselves in a must sweep situation to secure home field advantage for the Region VI playoffs next week.

Dodge City got to Saints ace Jakob Hernandez early on in the 1st inning of game one as the first four hitters of the game reached, plating a run and loading the bases with nobody out, but Hernandez did what he does best from there, striking out the next three hitters to strand three and keep it a 1-0 game.

It remained a 1-0 game to the 3rd when Justin Graff-Rowe legged out a groundball to allow a Seward run to score to tie the game at one.

After the rocky start, Hernandez settled in. The southpaw struck out three more in the 3rd and allowed the Saints to take their first lead of the game in the top of the 4th as Josh Nicol, Chad Kennedy, and Errett Edwards drove home runs to put Seward in front 4-1.

Hernandez punched out two more in the 4th and worked a 1-2-3 5th to keep Seward on top 4-1 heading to the 6th.

Seward couldn’t get anything else going on offense, but with their ace on the mound, they didn’t need it. Hernandez continued to rack up the strikeouts, getting three more in the 6th before finishing Dodge off with a 1-2-3 7th including his 13th punchout of the day to secure a 4-1 win for the Saints.

Hernandez went the final 5 1/3 innings of his complete game win without allowing a hit to improve to 9-3 on the year. The lefty finished with 13 strikeouts, increasing his already single season school record to 146. He allowed just three hits, all singles, and one run on the mound for Seward. The Saints needed just six hits to provide Hernandez with the offense he needed in the win. Seward got two hits and an RBI each from Edwards and Kennedy on the book ends of their lineup to power the offense.

SEWARD COUNTY/DODGE CITY GAME ONE BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/bsb/2015-16/boxscores/20160430_ib6r.xml>

As they did in game one, it was the Conqs striking early against the Saints in game two. Dodge put together four straight 2nd inning singles to plate a pair of runs, jumping in front of Seward 2-0 from the get go.

The Saints got on the board for the first time in the 4th as Antonio Dorado lifted a sac fly for their first tally and a Dodge City error allowed them to score a second to tie the game at two.

It looked like the score would remained tied after four, but with two outs and a runner on first in the Dodge 4th, the Conqs put together back to back big swings, getting an RBI double to break the tie and a two run home run behind that to all of a sudden open a three run lead at 5-2.

A walk and back to back one out singles for Dodge in the 5th pushed their lead to 6-2, but a two run opposite field home run from Kennedy in the Saints 6th sliced the Conq lead in half to 6-4.

Gutting through his start, Saints starter Adam Keller gave Seward a zero in the bottom of the 6th and before stretch time, the Saints had cut the Dodge City lead all the way down to one as they plated a run on a pinch hit double from Nicol in the 7th to make it a 6-5 game.

Keller worked around a two out Seward error in the 7th to keep it a one run game and the Saints put the tying run on in the 8th but couldn’t muster anything more as the game sailed to the bottom of the 8th with the score still 6-5 in favor of Dodge City.

The Saints got something going in the 9th against Dodge City closer Chris Hogan, putting together back to back one out singles to put the tying and winning run on the bases with two cracks to do some damage. A well struck ball to left was killed by the wind for the second out of the inning and a weak ground ball on the infield on a 2-0 count put it in the books as the Conquistadors hung on to win game two for the split 6-5.

Seward outhit Dodge 9-8 in the contest, getting three more hits at the top of the order from Edwards and a three RBI game from Kennedy. Keller took his second loss of the season in the defeat, allowing six runs on eight hits while walking four and striking out four in the complete game.

SEWARD COUNTY/DODGE CITY GAME TWO BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/bsb/2015-16/boxscores/20160430_quqe.xml>

The split is the Saints fifth straight in conference play, taking them to 29-23 overall and 17-13 in Jayhawk West action. Seward will now need a sweep on Sunday against the Conqs to return to Brent Gould Field for the playoffs next weekend. Dodge City goes to 39-15 on the year and 18-12 in conference play where they sit one game ahead of the Saints in the standings and now need just a split Sunday to clinch their home field advantage.

Seward and Dodge will go at it again Sunday with much on the line to wrap up the Jayhawk West season. The Saints and Conqs are scheduled for a 1:00 first pitch from Cavalier Field.

 

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