LIBERAL, Kan. – The Seward County softball team (23-15, 10-2) lost their first conference games of the season on Monday, falling to the No. 11 Butler Grizzlies 3-0 in game one before losing 11-5 in game two.
GAME ONE RECAP
Monique Ashley (16-4) was prepared for a pitching duel against Butler's Celina Sullivan and did not disappoint. Ashley struck out twelve batters over the course of seven innings, but gave up three runs along the way. Sullivan and Ashley combined to strike out 25 batters in game.
Jullian Atteberry was the lone Lady Saint to come away with a hit, finishing the game going 2-for-3 with two singles. The rest of the team combined to go 0-for-20 at the plate with 13 strikeouts.
The Lady Saints were in prime position to take early control of the game. With a single by Atteberry and a nasty hit-by-pitch on Leena Mortensen, which caused her to exit the game, put runners on first and second. A walk loaded the bases with two outs, but the second strikeout of the inning left three base runners on for Seward.
The Grizzlies got their first runs of the game in the third. Swinging strikeout sandwiched a triple to put give Butler a runner in scoring position. Kenzie Young took care of the rest with one swing of the bat, scoring two runs with a home run to left field.
Seward had another chance to score runs in the bottom of the third with runner on first and second with only one out. However, Sullivan would get the best of the next two batters, strikeout out both.
Butler put the dagger in the Lady Saints in the top of the seventh. Two doubles scored a run to extend the lead to 3-0.
The Lady Saints could only get one base runner in the bottom of the seventh, effectively ending the game with two ground outs and a deep fly out.
GAME TWO RECAP
Jordan Cordrey (7-8) pitched a complete game in the circle in game two, but a six-run first inning was too much for the Lady Saints to overcome. She allowed 11 runs over nine hits with two being home runs in her seven innings.
Seward struggled in the hit department in game two as well, finishing with just five. Atteberry, Kaitlin Ammermann, Sage Harrison, Madeline Owen and Corrina Porras each came away with one hit. The Lady Saints batters did force six walks however, with Atteberry reaching base three times from balls.
An error started the game for the Lady Saints. Butler quickly took advantage of it with a home run to left field to make it 2-0 in just the first two batters. A walk and a single put two more bases runners on and Alexis Reed brought home one with an RBI double to left field. A single to left field emptied the bases to make it 5-0. After stealing second and third, the throw to third bases was off target, allowing Abi Cole to reach home, completing the six-run inning.
The Lady Saints did their best to make up ground in the bottom of the first. Two walks gave the Lady Saints runners on first and second. An Owen single to right field scored one run, and an errant throw home from right field allowed Owen to reach second and Harrison to reach third. Porras reached on an error by the second baseman, who dropped a high pop up that may have been affected by the gusts of wind at Lady Saints Field, simultaneously scoring Owen and Harrison to cut the deficit to 6-3.
A hit-by-pitch and double gave Butler runners in scoring position before a ground out to second base pushed the Grizzly lead to four. Seward cut the lead back to three, scoring on a bases-loaded wild pitch. Another walk loaded the bases again, but for the second time in the day, the Lady Saints could not make anything out of it.
Butler led off with a walk in the top of the third. A sacrifice bunt did more than expected, as no one covered third base for Seward, allowing the bases runner to reach third on the sac. A ground out to shortstop with the next at bat scored the base runner. Young followed with a home run to make it 9-4.
While the Lady Saints were held scoreless in the bottom of the third, the Grizzlies increased their lead in the fourth. Butler loaded the bases with two singles and a walk before Shalee Brantley connected on a two-run double to left field to increase the lead to 11-4.
The Lady Saints got one back in the fourth inning. A passed ball allowed Ammermann and Atteberry to advance to second and third, before Sydney Epp pushed Atteberry home as she reached on an error by the shortstop.
Cordrey finished the game with three 1-2-3 innings, but the Lady Saints couldn't get any more runs to go, falling by the final score of 11-5.
Seward will travel to Goodland on Wednesday for a 2:00 p.m. matchup against Northwest Kansas Tech.