The Conquistadors left 11 runners on base in the two games.
Opportunities abounded for the Dodge City Community College softball team but not enough were taken advantage of as they were swept at home by Seward County 4-2 and 7-6.
After last weekend’s losses at No. 1 Butler, the Conquistadors now are riding a four-game losing streak, pushing their record to 23-15 and 11-11 while Seward puts some distance between themselves and Dodge City in the KJCCC standing with a 37-17 record this season, going 14-7 in conference play.
“It’s our first four-game losing streak,” head coach Howie Smith said. “But Butler’s, Butler. They’ve won 80 in a row. So to me, it’s just two game-losing streak. But we were that close to sweeping them instead of getting swept. I told them, this is what the Region VI tournament is going to be like except when you get two losses, you go home.”
The Lady Saints hit five home runs off of the Dodge City starters with three of those scoring all four of Seward’s runs in game one.
Sophomore Kristyna Garcia started things off in the first innings with a two-run homer over the left field fence to take a 2-0 lead.
Dodge City responded two innings later as freshman Bre Guerrero singled home sophomore outfielder Baylee Rial to cut the lead to one but Lady Saint freshman designated hitter Jordan Garrison hit one of her two solo home runs in the game in the top of the fifth to stretch the lead back to two.
A sac-bunt from sophomore outfielder Taylor Menard brought home the Conquistadors last run to cut the lead to one again but Garrison showed off her power, belting a solo home run over the center field fence, grabbing the last word in the 4-2 loss.
Game two was a much different animal.
The Conquistadors found themselves up one with two outs in the top of the seventh inning.
They had been down by as much as five but a two-run fourth inning a two-run fourth inning led to a huge fifth inning that they hoped would erase the five runs that they left on the basepaths previously.
Menard and sophomore catcher Kylie Fox drove in runs and Rial and freshman Adre Guerrero got on base when Howie Smith decided to make a more. Freshman Paige Kirby was pinch-hit for freshman catcher Sydni Odegard, a player who had made 12 plate appearances up to that point and had only one hit so far this season.
With two outs on the board and her team being down by two runs, Odegard rocked a three-run shot over the left field fence, grabbing her second hit of the season and her first home run.
“She made me look like a real smart guy,” Smith joked. “But I thought in that situation with (Kirby) being more of a slapper I thought I’d take my chances with Sydni. That’s what you hope to get from your pinch-hitters, you’ve got to be paying attention.”
The home run gave Dodge City the one-run lead they needed to split the series and hold strong in the KJCCC West Division standings.
The Conquistadors got through the sixth inning and the first two batters of the seventh inning unscathed until freshman Sage Harrison hit her second home run of the game off of starter Jordyn McDaniel (7-6) to extend the game.
“The long ball hurt us today,” Smith said. “I thought (McDaniel) threw it well enough to today to finish it, maybe I was stubborn on that but I felt like she was in somewhat of a groove. But give their kid credit, full count and she put it over the fence.”
Game one Seward starter Monique Ashley (23-4) came in to relieve starter Ruby Gonzalez after Dodge City took the lead and she was fairly dominant in her 3.1 innings, giving up just one run on three hits, including stopping the Conquistadors with a runner in scoring position and just one out in the bottom of the seventh.
The Lady Saints would get two runs on two hits in the top of the eighth to take a two-run lead. A lead-off solo home run for a Dominique Humphrey cut the lead to one but three straight outs ended the game and completed the Seward sweep.
In the end, it was hard for Smith not to think back to those eight runners left on base, five of whom were left on in the first four innings of play.
“We had chances to score in the first three innings but we couldn’t get anyone to get a base hit to drive in some runs,” Smith said. “We just didn’t do a very good job hitting with runners in scoring position.”
The Conquistadors will stay home this weekend and take on Colby for their final games of the season before postseason play.