By BRETT MARSHALL
Trina Moquett discovered something about her Garden City Lady Buffaloes softball team on Thursday in its 2013 home opener.
The first-year GCHS coach watched her squad fall behind the Goodland Cowgirls early in the first game, but then rally to win a dramatic 10-9 opener by scoring the winning run with one out in the bottom of the seventh.
Then, in the second game of the doubleheader at Tangeman Sports Complex, Moquett watched sophomore pitcher Dusti Befort mow down 15 Cowgirl batters as the Lady Buffs were dominant in a 10-0 whitewashing in a game that went just six innings.
The twin victories improved the Lady Buffs' early season mark to 4-0 after they had posted easy wins a week ago against Wichita North. This time, they got their first challenge, and Moquett liked what she saw.
"The girls reacted really well, never got down," Moquett said. "They could've given up and it's nice to see them respond the way they did."
Goodland wasted little time in the opener by lashing out five hits off senior starter and eventual winner Kori Thornton, that led to four runs. The Buffs responded with three runs in their first frame and each team traded scoring twice in the second, making it 6-5 Goodland. The Cowgirls added one run in the fourth before the Lady Buffs bounced right back with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth to go up 8-7.
The Cowgirls scored twice in the top of the seventh to go back up by a run before the Lady Buffs came back one more time to score twice in the bottom half to produce the victory. The winning run was scored by Casey Curran, who came home on Thornton's RBI fielder's choice. Curran had driven in MeKayla Guerrero with the tying run on a single to right after Guerrero led off with a triple to left centerfield.
"We just kept battling and battling, and that's what a coach wants from their team," Moquett said.
Kennedy Brunson had three hits and scored three runs, as did Guerrero, to lead a 10-hit attack. Jamie St. Claire had a pair of hits and two RBIs while Guerrero also had a pair of RBIs.
In the second game, it was all Befort, as the sophomore, making just her second varsity start, had complete command of the Goodland batters from start to finish.
After she had pitched a 3-inning perfect game at Wichita North earlier (as did Thornton), Befort was equal to the task again. She struck out the first eight batters she faced before Steph DeLaRosa ended the no-hitter with a soft single to right in the third. Befort, though, got strikeout No. 9 to end the inning and had two more K's in the fourth, two in the fifth and two in the sixth. She was three strikeouts shy of the school record set by Katie Ford.
"The calls were coming and I was able to place my pitches on the outside, which they had trouble with," Befort said of her performance. "I'm surprised with that many. I just ended up throwing a lot of my pitches high and they went for them. Any of my change-ups were not getting called strikes."
Befort said the outing was a big confidence boost.
"It's huge because I've been working a lot on my pitching," Befort said. "Getting the win in the first game really gave me courage to pitch in the second."
The Lady Buffs came up with another strong offensive effort as the twinbill was played in cool temperatures (low 50s) and high wind (30-35 mph). They finished with 11 hits, left seven runners on base and played flawlessly in the field. Befort gave up just one other hit, an infield hit that caromed off her glove, and Guerrero could not make the throw to first in time.
"She's got the potential to be terrific," Moquett said of Befort. "Mechanically, she's just going to get better. She threw really well, but she's still not close to how good she can be."
Thornton had three hits to lead the attack, while Brunson and Curran had a pair each. Curran scored three runs while Brunson and St. Clair scored twice.
The Lady Buffs will next play at 4 p.m. Tuesday when they travel to Liberal to open Western Athletic Conference play against the Lady Redskins.
Goodland 420 100 2 -- 9 10 2
Garden City 320 111 2 -- 10 10 3
1 out when winning run scored.
WP--Thornton (2-0) and Greenlee; LP--DeLaRosa and Hernandez. 2B--Goodland (Phillips 2), Garden City (Brunson). 3B--Garden City (Guerrero). LOB--Goodland 8, Garden City 5.
Goodland 000 000 -- 0 2 5
Garden City 203 221 -- 10 11 0
2 outs when winning run scored.
WP--Befort (2-0) and Greenlee; LP--DeLaRosa and Hernandez. 2B--Garden City (Brunson, Thornton). LOB--Goodland 2, Garden City 7.