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Highland Shocks Seward for Split

KSCB News - May 3, 2015 7:10 am

Many people say that the postseason is a whole different animal and that was most certainly the case as the Seward County Saints and Highland Scotties locked up at Liberal’s Brent Gould Field for the 1st Round of the 2015 Region VI Tournament Saturday afternoon. With two teams going in vastly different directions at regular seasons end, Seward winning 12 straight Jayhawk West games at one point to finish 1st and Highland losing 9 in a row to finish in an 8th place tie, it seemed that the Saints would clean up on their home field, but that most certainly wasn’t the case. Highland came out and took an early 4-0 lead in game one and never looked back. The Saints cut it to a 6-5 game at one point, but the Scotties responded with three runs in the next inning to open their lead back to 9-5 which is the count they would stun Seward by in the opener. Game two was quite another case. The Saints scored six 1st inning runs and seven more in the 2nd to blow the game open 13-0 early and later coasted to a 16-3 run rule victory to force a winner take all game three on Sunday at noon.

Big swinging Highland came ready to play in the opener and used a pair of hits and a walk to load the bases with nobody out in the top half of the 2nd inning against the Saints. The bases were quickly unloaded on a double to the gap and just like that it was 3-0 Scotties after two innings of play.

Highland added another run on three singles in the 4th to take a 4-0 lead and the Saints offense was eerily quiet against a Scotties pitching staff that had the nation’s worst ERA during the 2015 season. In fact it was so bad for Seward that the Saints didn’t have a single baserunner until there were two outs in the 5th inning when back to back doubles from Justin Graff-Rowe and Antonio Dorado broke up Highland’s perfect game, no-hitter, and shutout bids all in two swings to make it 4-1.

The Scotties responded immediately though, picking up a solo home run to start the 6th inning to stretch their lead back to four at 5-1.

The Saints got a long tally in the 7th on a two out single from Dorado to make it 5-2, but just as before, Highland answered right back with a run of their own in the 8th to make it a 6-2 game.

Seward had a chance to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the 8th, but a baserunning blunder meant that there were only two runners on when Brandon Rix unloaded on the first pitch he saw for a three run home run to cut the Scotty lead to 6-5.

Just as soon as the Saints scratched back into the game, they found their way back out as they started Highland out with a walk in the 9th and it ended up turning into a three run inning to allow the Scotties to catch their breath once again at 9-5.

With the wind out of their sails, the Saints went down in order in the 9th and just like that Seward was stunned by Highland 9-5 in game one.

Highland dominated just about every facet of the game against the Saints in game one, pounding out 16 hits against Seward pitching while the Saints had just 8. Seward got 2 for 4 efforts from Dorado and Brandon Urquizo in the loss, Dorado knocked home two for the Saints while Rix had the big blow with his three run shot in the 8th to finish 1 for 3 with 3 RBI’s. JB Olson was hit hard on the mound for Seward, allowing 10 hits and 5 runs in 7 innings of work. The righthander was collared with the loss to drop to 9-5 on the year. Seward’s bullpen didn’t offer much relief either, allowing 6 hits and 4 runs in just 2 innings of work.

SEWARD COUNTY/HIGHLAND GAME ONE BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/bsb/2014-15/boxscores/20150502_vbyg.xml>

Game two of the twinbill was a little bit different story.

With their backs to the wall, the Saints came out swinging in the night cap, getting a leadoff home run from Alex White and never looking back. After White’s leadoff shot, his high school teammate and Saints teammate Brent Williams followed suit with his 11th bomb of the year to make it a 2-0 game. The Saints didn’t stop there as Dorado picked up another two out RBI with a single and he would score along with Justin Graff-Rowe on Highland’s second error of the inning to make it a 5-0 game. After another defensive miscue for the Scotties the Saints picked up their sixth run of the inning on a passed ball to grab a 6-0 advantage after the 1st.

It was more of the same in the 2nd for the Saints. The Saints first six hitters of the inning reached base with big blows coming off the bats of Logan Nethercot with a two run double off the wall and an RBI single from Graff-Rowe to push the Saints lead all the way to 10-0. After their first out of the inning they kept on swinging, getting a two run single from Chad Kennedy to make it 12-0 and a sacrifice fly from Urquizo to make it a 13-0 game.

Highland got two back in the 3rd on three straight singles to get on the board, but the Saints were right back at it in their half of the inning, getting a two run home run from Dorado and a two out single from Kennedy to score a run to stretch their lead all the way out to 16-2.

With the final outcome all but decided, the two teams began to substitute in players from their bench and the score remained 16-2 to the 6th.

In the Highland 6th, the Scotties were able to push a run across on a sac fly to make it 16-3, but couldn’t manage anything in the 7th and that was it as Seward took game two 16-3 in a 7 inning run rule.

Seward gave Highland a dose of their own medicine in game two, outslugging them 15-5 in the hits department in the win. The Saints got hits from eight of nine starters including 3 hit games from White and Graff-Rowe as well as multi-RBI games from Nethercot, Dorado, Ledbetter, and Kennedy. Hayden Howard went the distance on the mound for the Saints to improve to 7-2 on the year. The southpaw allowed just 5 hits and 3 runs while striking out 3.

SEWARD COUNTY/HIGHLAND GAME TWO BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/bsb/2014-15/boxscores/20150502_4t3z.xml>

The split takes the Saints to 33-23 on the year while Highland goes to 15-37. The two teams will now play a winner take all game three Sunday starting at noon at Brent Gould Field with the winner moving on to the Region VI Championships and the loser packing their bags and heading home for good this season.

In other Region VI Tournament series, Fort Scott defeated Hutchinson in game one of their series in the Salt City, Cowley swept Colby 2-0 in Arkansas City, Coffeyville took two from Garden City, Johnson County squeaked by Pratt in game one in Overland Park, Dodge City outslugged Labette in game one of their series on Boot Hill, Neosho swept Barton 2-0 in Chanute, and Kansas City Kansas took game one over Butler in El Dorado . Overall the Jayhawk East was 11-2 against the West at the time of this release.

Roy Allen

 

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