Saints starters shut down Busters
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
Center fielder Tyler Tucker led off Garden City Community College baseball team's Saturday doubleheader in Liberal with a solo home run to right field, giving the Broncbusters a 1-0 lead against the Seward County Saints.
Instead of being an omen of things to come, the Busters were only able to scratch across three more runs in a pair of losses to electric Seward starters JB Olson and Austin King.
Olson allowed the lead off home run to Tucker, but settled in quickly after that, striking out seven and allowing only six hits while earning the 3-2 complete-game win. In the nightcap, it was King's 8 2/3 innings of work where he struck out nine and allowed only six hits that carried the Saints to a 4-2 win.
"We ran into two really, really good arms," head coach Chris Finnegan said in a phone interview on Sunday. "Both can throw three pitches for strikes."
The losses dropped the Busters to 12-11 overall and 5-5 in conference play, while the Saints improved to 16-10 and 7-2.
The Busters and Saints were scheduled to complete the four-game weekend series on Sunday, but the final two games were pushed back to today due to high winds in Liberal.
On Saturday, the Busters were not without their own workhouses on the mound, either, as JJ Benes tossed a complete game in the opener, allowing three runs, two earned, and striking out five in the hard-luck loss, dropping him to 3-2 in five starts.
Jake Eiklerberry (1-3) followed that with his own tough-to-stomach loss, giving up three earned over six innings, while striking out six, before giving way to Tyler Clapper, who finished the game with two scoreless innings as the Busters could never decipher King.
"I thought we competed very, very well against two very top-end arms," Finnegan said.
After Tucker's leadoff blast, the Saints answered with two runs off Benes as Jake Fuller led off with a single, Brent Williams and Jordan Leinweber had back-to-back one-base knocks a batter later, with Fuller scoring on the latter, and then Williams scored on an error by shortstop Tyler Alitz.
The Busters tied it at two when Zach Barton led off the fifth with a single, and then scored on Rocky Dasantis' single two batters later, but the Saints again immediately re-took the lead in the bottom of the inning.
"It's just what we've been doing all year," Finnegan said. "We're notorious for taking the lead and giving it right back, tying it up and giving it right back."
In game two, the Busters scored two runs in the top of the sixth to tie it at 2, but Eikleberry gave it right back in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back singles from Williams and Kevin Conolly, followed by a bases-clearing double from Mason Marshall, giving the Saints the 4-2 margin.
Desantis had the best day at the plate for the Busters, going 3 for 6 with a double and two RBIs. The Saints were led by Leinweber's 1 for 3 and two RBIs in the first game, and Connolly's 3 for 4 with two triples and three RBIs in the second contest.
The Busters and Saints get back on the diamond today with first pitch at 3 p.m., with the series finale to immediately follow.
Garden City 100 010 0 -- 2 6 1
Seward County 200 010 x -- 3 8 1
Benes and Alvarez. Olson and Williams. W - Olson. L - Benes (2-3). HRs - Garden City, Tucker.
Garden City 000 002 001 -- 2 6 0
Seward County 010 102 00x -- 4 6 0
Eikleberry, Clapper(7) and Alvarez. King and Gauy(9) and Marshall. W - King. L - Eikleberry (1-3). 2Bs - Garden City, Desantis (7), Dineen (4); Seward County, Marshall. 3Bs - Seward County, Connolly 2.