By BRETT MARSHALL
It is becoming an all too familiar scene for the Garden City Buffaloes baseball team.
And Thursday at Clint Lightner Stadium, in a single game with rival Dodge City, it was another nightmare that has become part of the first half of the season for coach Bill Wilson's Buffaloes.
The Red Demons took advantage of six walks issued by GCHS pitchers Edgar Montoya and Logan Dechant en route to an 11-6 victory, while the Buffscommited five errors and in general, contributed in every way to the Dodge City triumph.
Even after trailing 7-0 at the end of two innings, the Buffs wasted a five-run fourth that pulled them to within one of the Demons, yet couldn't get the tying run across home plate.
Then, the Red Demons pulled away for the second time, scoring twice in the fifth and once each in the sixth and seventh frames. Meanwhile, the Buffs were stymied by reliever Austin Weiser, who slammed the door on the GCHS offense in his three and one-third innings of work. In that time, Weiser struckout seven, walked one and hit a batter.
"We put a couple of people out on base, we drop a fly ball, just so many things that come back to beat you," Wilson said afterward. "Edgar (Montoya) didn't have a good day. He was up in pitches and that's why we pulled him. We've got our pitchers not throwing in their zone and we didn't hit the ball well, for the most part."
If it hadn't been for a big hit, the biggest a player can get, the Buffs would have gone down even more silently.
But Marcos Zapata belted a grand slame home run over the right field fence in the fourth to clear the bases and rally, albeit briefly, the Buffs to within one at 7-6.
"He's a dead-pull hitter and I've told him that when you get one in your zone, go after it and he did," Wilson said of Zapata's blast. "But we just made so many other mistakes. We had base-running mistakes, once getting thrown out at third on a stupid play. We go out and kick a couple of balls and don't cover second base on a steal. Those things are not insurmountable, but it makes it tougher to come back."
Zapata had a single in the first while Isaiah Rodriguez' double in the fourth was the only other hit the Buffs could manage.
The loss dropped the Buffs to 2-7 overall and 0-1 in the Western Athletic Conference. The Red Demons improved to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the WAC.
Next up for the Buffs will be a 4 p.m. Tuesday home doubleheader against Hays at Clint Lightner.
Dodge City 070 021 1 -- 11 7 2
Garden City 010 500 0 -- 6 3 5
WP--Weiser and Wells; LP--Montoya and Solorio. 2B--Garden City (Zapata). HR--Garden City (Zapata). LOB--Dodge City 6, Garden City 7.
The Garden City Buffaloes tennis team left Hutchinson on Thursday with a lot of positives as they began a three-day run of tournaments in central Kansas.
The Buffs just missed capturing the Salthawk Invitational, finishing with 52 points to winner Hutchinson Trinity's 53.
Senior Brian Clarke, getting his first competition in singles, won the No. 1 singles division by posting a 4-0 record.
Evan Riggs and Denton Keller placed fourth at No. 1 doubles, going 2-2, while Brevin Irwin and Dozie Ekweariri were 10th in No. 2 doubles and Sebastian Kyaw was 11th in No. 2 singles play.
"Just one win from any spot would have given us the team title," said GCHS coach Rod Robinson. "The second place finish is still nice."
For Clarke, the day was a dominating performance as he lost only six games in the four matches. He defeated Kevin Kraus of Salina South (8-0), Nathaniel Clennan of Trinity (8-2), Tyler Wright of Buhler (8-0) and Evan Bently of Trinity (8-4).
"He played great, winning his first tournament out as a singles player," Robinson said of Clarke, who had been paired for three previous seasons with Riggs at No. 1 doubles. "He pretty much dominated the singles draw today."
Riggs and Keller won their opening two matches, defeating Mitchel Beyers and Lucas Caywood of Buhler (8-4) and Matt Dick and Shawn Bontrager of Newton (8-4) before losing to Hutchinson's Sam File and Collin Queal (8-3) and then dropping an 8-5 match to Eric banning and Dominic Delucas of Trinity.
"They played well at the beginning but then had trouble with the Hutchinson team (File/Queal)," Robinson said. "I'm sure they would like another shot at the Trinity team because they led for most of the match."
Irwin and Ekweariri also went 2-2 in their matches, losing to Salina South's Pierce Carey and Matt Berneking (8-1), defeating Dodge City's Matt Goedeken and Dillon Burkhard (8-1) and then Hari Ramanmon and Ryan O'Neal of Wichita East (8-6) before losing to Beyer and Caywood of Buhler (8-3).
"They played hard in each match and considering it was their first time to be partners, I didn't think it was too bad," Robinson said of Irwin and Ekweariri.
Kyaw also posted a 2-2 record for the day, losing to Trinity's Evan Bently (8-2) and Alex Mansfield of Wichita East (8-7, 8-6 tiebreaker) and then defeating Jerod Fox of Newton (8-3).
"He had a 6-1 lead in the tiebreaker with East, but couldn't get that last point," Robinson said of Kyaw. "He beat two No. 1 singles players, so I don't think he did too badly today."
The Buffs were to play at the rescheduled Salina Central Invitational today before heading to McPherson for its tournament on Saturday.