LIBERAL, Kan. – The Seward County Community College baseball team rallied twice, but only successful once in a doubleheader split with Garden City Community College, winning game one, 7-6, but falling in the second game, 10-9, on Friday at Brent Gould Field. The Saints, who are 21-18 overall, are tied for third in the Jayhawk West at 13-9.
The teams complete the four-game series with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. at Garden City on Sunday.
Benny Ayala's three-run homer in the sixth inning completed a comeback for the Saints in the opener.
Ayala came up to the plate and was down in the count at a ball and two strikes. He took the sixth pitch he saw and deposited over the left field fence to give the Saints a 7-6 lead. It was Ayala's team-leading seventh home run of the season
Braeden Gould, who entered in the fifth inning, finished the game with a scoreless seventh to pick up the win. Gould, who relieved Tanner King, allowed two runs on four hits, struck out three and walked none over three innings to improve to 2-4 on the season.
The two teams battled back and forth over the first two innings with Garden City scoring a pair of runs in each of the first two innings while Seward scored three in the first and one in the second for a 4-4 tie. The score remained deadlocked until the Broncbusters tallied twice in the fifth inning for a 6-4 advantage.
King started for Seward, yielded four runs, two earned, on seven hits, struck out six and walked two over four innings.
The Saints showed a never-give-up attitude and almost came all the way back, but fell just a little short in the game two loss.
Seward battled back all game, but found itself trailing 10-6 in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Saints would not go down easy. AJ Folds started the inning with a walk, but Cayde Ward and Benny Ayala struck out.
Things then got interesting. KP Werner reached first on error to put runners on first and second. Zane Alexander drove in Folds with an RBI single and Jose Caraballo reached first on a fielder's choice to load the bases. Wyatt Grant followed with a two-run single to cut the deficit to 10-9. That would be the final score as Seward could not plate the tying run.
The teams traded runs in the first inning at 2-2, but Garden City opened a 7-2 advantage with a five-run, third inning. Seward battle back to cut the deficit to 7-6 on the strength of a four-run, sixth inning. Carballo had a two-run triple, Grant drove in a run on a sacrifice fly and Folds added an RBI single.
The Broncbusters scored three more runs in the eighth inning to hold a 10-6 lead. The inning would prove pivotal for Garden City, which needed every run for the win.
Folds and Caraballo each had three hits and two RBIs and Grant drove in three runs to pace the Saints.
Seward starter Cole Evans (2-1) struggled in the start, giving up seven runs, two earned, on six hits, striking out five, walking four and allowing two homers over four innings in the loss. Cory Didier relieved Evans, allowing three runs on seven hits, striking out seven and walking two over five innings.