DODGE CITY, Kan. – The Seward County softball team took all they could handle from the Dodge City Conquistadors, needing a late inning surge to prevent a Dodge City comeback, beating the Conqs 6-4 in the first round of the Region VI Tournament.
Playing in front of their home crowd, the Conqs were out to rattle Monique Ashley (25-6) and they came close. Ashley still came away with 13 strikeouts in the win, but also walked three batters, while hitting another four. When push came to shove, however, she got the Lady Saints out of innings.
Seward finished with nine hits on the day, led by Raelyn Sanchez 3-for-3 day at the plate, which included two doubles. Jullian Atteberry and Sydney Epp each finished with two hits apiece, while Epp led the Lady Saints with three RBI, including the two go-ahead runs in the sixth inning.
The Lady Saints got on board first in the bottom of the third inning. Paige St. Pierre led off with a single before Sanchez doubled to center field to put runners at second and third for Atteberry, who hit an RBI single up the middle. Ammermann hit a sac fly with the next at bat before Epp smacked an RBI double to center field to make it 3-0.
The Conqs quickly cut the lead down to one in the top of the fourth. After the first batter struck out, a double and hit by pitched, followed by a wild pitch, put runners at first and second for Dodge City. The Conqs hit a sac fly to score their first run. The next batter hit a blooper over Atteberry's head at shortstop to bring the game to 3-2.
Sanchez gave the Lady Saints some life in the bottom of the fourth with a double, sandwiched in between two fly outs. It appeared the inning would be over with a routine fly ball to shallow center hit by Ammermann, but ineffective communication by the Conqs allowed the ball to drop harmlessly to the ground to allow Sanchez to cross home plate.
Dodge City used the home field advantage to tie the game in the top of the sixth. After coming away with no runs in a bases loaded situation an inning before, the Conqs once loaded the bases again in the sixth from a single and two batters being hit by pitches. A ground ball to second base appeared to be the end of the inning, but a misplay on the ball by Ammermann allowed two runs to cross the plate, tying the game at six.
Determined to avoid a first round upset, Sanchez led off with a line drive to centerfield before Atteberry reached on a walk. Ammermann pushed both runners into scoring position with a perfectly placed sac bunt. Epp stepped into the batter's box, and with a full-count, cracked a line drive to center field to score two runs for the Lady Saints to regain the lead, 6-4.
With the lead, and win in sight, Ashley struck out two Conqs and forced an infield pop-up to end the game, giving the Lady Saints the round one victory.
Seward will be back in action tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. at Legends Park for a second round matchup with the Colby Trojans.