By BRETT MARSHALL
Last season, the Garden City Buffaloes baseball team almost won its Class 6A regional opener, falling 9-3.
On Tuesday, the Buffs were nearly in the same position facing the No. 3-seeded Wichita East Blue Aces at Westurban Field in Wichita.
Trailing just 4-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Buffs were unable to overtake the Aces, as the favorites scored one run in the fifth and tacked on four insurance runs in the sixth to post a 9-3 victory.
The loss ends the season for the Buffs, as they finished with a 5-16 record. East (14-6) advanced to the championship game, where they were to face Derby, a 5-4 upset winner over Haysville-Campus in the other regional semifinal.
"Once again, we just couldn't come up with the key hits at the right times, and defensively we made some mistakes that you can't make against a good team like East," GCHS head coach Bill Wilson said. "We were right there, in the game, the kids were playing pretty well."
And, as it has happened so often this season, one inning ruined any chances for the Buffs to keep their season alive.
Wilson said there were three fly balls to the outfield that fell in for hits in front of the Buffs' fielders, who were playing deep due to a strong wind blowing out.
"All catchable balls, but we didn't make the plays," Wilson said. "We gave them another run with an error with two outs in the sixth inning, too. Just too many things we didn't do right."
The Buffs got a single run in the fourth when Davin Acker and Edgar Montoya singled and advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by Mario Montoya. Isaiah Rodriguez then had an RBI single, scoring Acker.
Their final two runs came in the fifth when Logan Dechant doubled and came home on an RBI single by Thomas Solorio. Frank Rosas was inserted as a pinch-runner for Solorio and moved to second on a passed ball. Mitch Hernandez then singled to score Rosas.
East had tallied single runs in the second and third and added to in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. After trimming the deficit to just one run, though, the Buffs struggled in the later innings.
Edgar Montoya pitched a complete game and absorbed the loss. He walked four and struck out six in his six innings of work.
Garden City 000 120 0 -- 3 7 3
Wichita East 011 214 x -- 9 12 1
WP--Ewart and Stewart; LP--E. Montoya and Solorio.