Jay Daubenberger

Liberal, Kansas – Seward County baseball returned home to Liberal, Kansas after a two week road stint to take on the Vernon Chaparrals in a four game series with the first two games on day one of the series going to the Saints thanks to a grand slam by Trenton Rowan to lead SCCC to a 10-6 win in game one and some heavy hitting by Seward County in game two led the Saints past Vernon again 17-11 in game two.

Game one started off with a duel between pitchers as Brian Luna Alvarez led Seward County to a pair of three and outs while on the mound in the first two innings before a sacrifice fly from Keagon Pitton allowed Mason Hagel-Pitt to steal home off a Vernon error to move ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the second. A double by Cameron Cartwright in the third allowed Nathan Hopkins to round the bases for another Saints run while Cartwright later himself scored on a passed ball to grow the SCCC lead to 3-0.

A pair of runs for the Chaps in the fourth cut the Seward County lead back to one but Rowan answered back in the fourth with bases loaded as he hammered one out beyond the fences for a Saints’ Grand Slam that put SCCC far ahead 8-2. Connor Raney doubled on a line drive to center in the fifth to drive in Mason Gilbert and Todd Baffa to all but seal it for Seward County 10-2 and despite four straight runs for Vernon in the final two innings, SCCC came out on top in game one of the series 10-6.

Scoring started quickly in game two between the Saints and Chaparrals as Vernon scored three runs in the top of the first before Seward County responded in the bottom of the inning with Baffa hitting a ground ball to drive Hopkins in for SCCC’s first score of the game. The Chaps pitching cost them on back-to-back batters as they walked two straight runs in to tie the game back up at 3-3 entering the second inning.

Vernon struck on a home run in the third to grow their lead back to one before Sergio Castro helped Baffa make his way to home to lock the score up again at 4-4 before Seward County took the lead off of two more walk-ins in the fourth to put the Saints ahead 6-4. Rowan kept the lead growing with a single on a pop fly to second that allowed Raney to score while Hagel Pitt doubled on a pop fly to bring Hopkins and Kotaro Wakui around the bases to make the SCCC lead five at 9-4.

Two more runs in the bottom of the fifth pushed the Saints lead to 11-4 to need only three more runs to force a run rule, but Vernon answered back with two scores in the sixth to cut it down to five 11-6. A single from Rowan drove Wakui in for his second score of the game to keep SCCC’s lead alive but another to runs off a home run bomb by the Chaps in the top of the seventh slashed the Saints’ lead down to four and another two scores in the eighth made it two with Seward County’s lead sitting at 12-10.

The Saints dominated in the bottom of the eighth with five runs to push their lead out of reach of Vernon’s hitters as Hopkins doubled on a fly ball to center to bring in Raney before a huge triple out to the wall from Baffa drove in three more runs to put Seward County’s total up to sixteen. Another big hit out to left field by Pitton brought Baffa home to put their lead at 17-10 and despite another late score by the Chaps in the ninth, it was SCCC who grabbed the win 17-11 to go 2-0 on the day to start the series.

Seward County now improves to 7-7 on the 2024 season after day one of the four game series with Vernon. They will be back in action tomorrow to finish the final two games of the series with game three taking place at 12:00 PM on Brent Gould Field.