By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
The Seward County Saints knocked off Colby Monday afternoon, 19-7, in six innings to advance to the Region 6 championship tournament at Lawrence Dumont Stadium in Wichita Saturday.
The Saints were aided by a grand slam from Todd Glime and a 14-run sixth to turn a one-run deficit into a run-rule proof lead.
HOW THE SAINTS GOT THERE:
Two comeback victories in the Sub-Regional have put the Saints one step away from an appearance in the Region 6 Final Four tournament.
Todd Glime played a key role in both games, first hitting a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth against Labette Saturday and then putting the Sunday matinee out of reach with a three-run home run.
The battle with Labette turned into a see-saw affair, but the Saints broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the ninth after two walks were issued to Jared Broadbent and Josh Dawson. Luke Campbell then hit a shot to the Labette shortstop who had trouble getting the ball out of his glove, and the bases were loaded with one out. Glime stepped to the plate and sent the first pitch on a line to right center. Broadbent coasted across the plate, and the Saints celebrated the victory by heading out to congratulate Glime.
Along the way, some pushing and shoving took place between the two teams, and players from Labette came out of their dugout to confront the Saints near first base.
Labette’s Trent Daniels continued to display emotions and was ejected from the losers’ bracket game between Labette and Neosho.
“No one intended for any of that to happen from either team,” Seward coach Galen McSpadden said. “Our guys were going to congratulate Todd Glime, and their players were coming off the field. One guy ran in to one of our guys, and the umpire said he pushed him. There was some pushing back and forth, and one of their guys went nuts. Fortunately, no one swung a punch. Whether or not they intentionally collided or accidental I don’t know.”
Without Daniels in the Labette line-up, the Cardinals lost to Neosho 20-3 and were eliminated.
“No one left the benches to fight,” McSpadden said. “The game was over, contact was made, word were said, and one player went crazy, and that is what umpire saw. Even parents from Labette went on field to settle players down.”
Glime’s late heroics were needed after Saint starter Cameron Maldonado had a blister on his middle finger rupture early in the game, and Labette was able to get one run in the first and three more in the third to take a 4-2 lead.
“The middle finger is the most important on throwing hand,” McSpadden said. “He had no breaking pitch. I felt they were going to hit him. It broke, and there was blood, so I pulled him out and went with Mike Alger, and he gave us a really good game.”
Alger pitched five scoreless innings while the Saints rallied for a 5-4 lead.
But Labette tied the game in the ninth with a one-out double followed by an RBI single.
“In the last inning I told our infielders no doubles,” McSpadden said. “Our third basemen didn’t play the line, and they doubled. But (Alger) shut them down.”
Seward loaded the bases, and Glime hit his game-winning RBI.
“We won the game, we didn’t play real well, but we got through it.”
Seward started shaky in the first against Colby Sunday but finished strong in an 11-4 win.
Logan Hall pitched seven innings for the Saints and only gave up one run after a three-run first inning.
Hall had two outs in the first with no one on before giving up a walk, a single and a home run.
After that, he settled in while the Saints offense started to put runs on the board.
Seward put three runs up in the bottom of the first when they loaded the bases with a walk and two hit batsmen followed by two singles.
The critical defensive play came in the seventh inning when Colby was trailing 7-4 but had the bases loaded with one out.
Colby attempted a bases-loaded hit-and-run, but the batter missed the ball, and the Trojans were caught with two runners at third and one at second.
Glime threw to Seward’s first basemen who forced the runner at second to move to third. The Saints were able to get a double play and get out of the inning.
“We thought they were mishandling it,” McSpadden said. “But they played it extremely well.”
The momentum rolled into the bottom half of the inning when Glime put the game out of reach with a three-run home run that gave the Saints a 10-4 lead and after a Kelby Tomlinson solo home run, Seward advanced to the title game with an 11-4 win.
Colby rebounded in the losers’ bracket, knocking off Neosho 12-4 to set up a rematch for the Sub-Regional championship.
Due to weather conditions, Seward and Colby were scheduled to play at noon today at Brent Gould Field. Wind gusts are expected to be as high as 60 miles per hour today.
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