WICHITA, Kan. – The Seward County Saints battled until the end on Saturday night, losing to No. 19 Barton after a late inning rally, 7-5. With the loss, the Saints move to the losing side of the double-elimination Region VI Tournament.
Cole Evans started on the mound for the Saints, giving Seward a solid five-inning outing, striking out three batters while giving up four runs on five hits. Jordan Pepper (3-2) came out of the bullpen in the sixth inning, pitching 2.1 innings, giving up three runs off five hits. Braeden Gould took over in the eighth inning, forcing a double play in his 0.2 innings.
Seward finished with 12 hits on the day, as Cayde Ward continued his hot streak, leading the Saints with three hits. Brendan Madsen (2) and Jose Caraballo (2) each finished with multiple hits in the game as well.
Neither team could get on the board in the first inning, but Seward took a one run lead in the top of the second. After Cayde Ward led off with a single to left field, Joe Kuhn drove him in with a triple to the right field gap. The Saints stranded Kuhn at third however as the Cougars forced three straight outs to get out of the inning.
The meat of the lineup got the Saints going again in the fourth inning. After a leadoff single up the middle from Dylan Paul, Ward used a standup triple to make it 2-0 for the Saints. Two batters later, Jose Caraballo hit a hopper to shortstop, driving in Ward who beat out the throw to home.
Barton got things going in the bottom of the fifth to cut into the lead. Brett Erickson used a leadoff single to start the inning. An Evans balk followed by a Dawson Pomeroy groundout advanced Erickson to third base. Paul Claassen drove him in with a deep sacrifice fly to centerfield.
The Cougars kept the rally going in the 6th inning. A leadoff walk followed by a double to left field cut the lead to 3-2. After giving up another single and having runners on the corners, the Saints went to the bullpen. Brady Michel stepped into the box as the next batter, cranking a three-run bomb over the left field wall to give the Cougars a 5-3 lead.
The lead didn't last long for Barton, as Spencer Sackett hit a two-run jack to left field in the top of the eighth to tie the game at five.
Using the deep field to their advantage, the Cougars retook the lead in the bottom of the 8th. After singling to right field, Brett Bonar was brought home with an Erickson double down the left field line, scoring Bonar from first base. A single up the middle with the next pitch pushed the second run of the inning across the plate to make it 7-5, Barton. Gould entered the game and got the Saints out of the inning, forcing a double play.
Seward loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the ninth, but Sackett couldn't serve as hero twice in the game, striking out from a foul tip to end the game.
Seward will play Hutchinson at 10 a.m. in Wichita at Lawrence Dumont Stadium tomorrow (Sunday). The game can be heard on 107.5 FM with Brock Kappelmann on the call.