Busters finish sweep of Conqs, KJCCC schedule
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
During Friday's doubleheader, the Broncbusters baseball team were forced to come from behind to win a pair of games over the rival Dodge City Conquistadors.
On Saturday, the Busters finished off the four-game sweep of the Conqs by jumping out ahead and then holding the comeback-minded Conqs off, winning 11-9 and 3-2 to close out the Busters' conference schedule. The wins left the Busters 32-18 overall and 21-11 in the KJCCC West.
"It was huge," Lakin graduate Dalton Shalberg, who was dominant in a seven-inning performance in Saturday's nightcap, said of the sweep. "We were sitting in second in conference, there were like four teams that were all close that had a chance, so a sweep really puts us in a good position to get second and host a home game for the regional."
The sweep, along with Butler (17-11), which has a four-game set with Seward County remaining, losing two of four to Pratt over the weekend, actually gave the Busters an ensured second-place finish.
Even if Butler were to sweep Seward County, the Grizzles would lose on tie-breakers to Garden City due to the Busters winning three of four in a series earlier this season.
The Busters' post-season opponent will be decided after all other KJCCC games have been completed.
But the Busters finished their season on top with an offensive outburst in Game 1 Saturday, followed by a dominating pitching performance in Game 2.
The Busters scored five runs in the first inning of the opener, getting four singles and a two-run triple from Kadin Hydrick. They scored two more on Francisco Alvarez' two-run single in the second, and scored one run in each of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, leading to an 11-4 lead into the seventh and final inning.
The Conqs took advantage of an error and two walks, and picked up two singles and a triple to score five runs to cut it to 11-9 and have the tying run at second base and the winning run at the plate with two outs.
But Marcus McKinney was able to stop the bleeding, striking out Dodge City's Jacob Bellamy to pick up the save.
Chris Bonk got the win, tossing six innings, giving up four runs and striking out four. Hydrick finished 2 for 4 with a pair of triples. CJ Krainock was 3 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs.
McKinney also came out of the bullpen to save the nightcap, allowing just one unearned run to close out a 3-2 win.
Tyler Tucker got the Busters on the board first with a solo home run in the third, and then came around to score again in the seventh after singling on Rocky Desantis' RBI single, giving the Busters a 3-1 lead.
The Conqs threatened in the ninth by again taking advantage of an error. Haden Houska reached on third baseman Cale Dineen's misplay, his second of the game, and then scored on Blaine Birdwell's double with only one out.
Birdwell was left stranded at third as the tying run three batters later.
But it was Shalberg's dominance to begin the game that gave the Busters a chance to take the lead.
Shalberg used a pinpoint accurate curveball, which he used even when he was behind in counts, to keep the Conqs' hitters off balance.
He cruised through six innings having faced the minimum amount of batters, striking out nine. In the seventh, Dineen's first error allowed Jerry Dacayo to reach base, and he scored on a passed ball four batters later.
Shalberg finished with the nine punchouts, allowing just the one unearned run and only two hits.
"It was a big series," Shalberg said. "We needed the sweep, so I just told myself that I've got to come out here and get the job done."
Shalberg entered the game with a 3-3 record and a 5.82 ERA. After the game, he sat 4-3 with a 4.67 ERA.
"I was really spot on today," the freshman right-hander said. "(Catcher) Frank (Alvarado) set up, and I hit it and they called it."
Tucker had the home run on a 2-for-4 game, and Desantis had two RBIs on 2 for 4.
"We're done (with the conference schedule," Shalberg said. "We can just sit back and the other teams have all the pressure to do good now."
Dodge City 013 000 5 — 9 8 0
Garden City 521 111 x — 11 11 0
Mithlo, Harjo(1), Bownakr(4) and Lacayo. Bonk, Cook(7), Yacovetta(7), McKinney(9) and Alvarez. W--Bonk (8-0). L--Mithlo. Sv--McKinney (3). 2B--Garden City, Tucker (5), Krainock (3). 3B--Dodge City, Doan 2; Garden City, Hydrick 2 (4), Alitz (2). HR--Dodge City, Jones.
Dodge City 000 000 101 — 2 3 0
Garden City 001 001 10x — 3 8 0
Wilson, Fox(7) and Koepp. Shalberg, Yacovetta(8), Aspegren(9), McKinney(9) and Alvarez. W--Shalberg (4-3). L--Wilson. Sv--McKinney (4). 2B--Dodge City, Koepp; Garden City, Zimmer (7), Desantis (15). HR--Garden City, Tucker (5).
The Lady Busters committed eight errors to allow 13 unearned runs over 14 innings to get swept at Lamar, Colo., on Saturday. The Busters are now 19-25 overall, and get back into conference play at 2 p.m. today with a doubleheader against Butler at Tangeman Sports Complex.
Rachel Roe struck out three and allowed no earned runs in 7.2 innings against Lamar. But she picked up the loss as the Lady Busters committed five errors, leading to all nine runs in the 9-8 extra innings loss.
The Busters did pick up 10 hits, and Brooke Lovas had a three-RBI triple to send the game into extra innings. But the Runnin' Lopes picked up the walk-off win by capitalizing on a Busters' error with two outs, allowing the winning run to score.
Garden City 001 501 01 — 8 10 5
Lamar 007 000 02 -- 9 10 5
Roe and Aronoff. Chadwick, Duran(3) and Hass. W--Duran. L--Roe. 2B--Garden City, Coleman, Cerrato; Lamar, Bourque. 3B--Garden City, Lovas.
In the nightcap, the Lady Busters committed three errors, leading to four runs, while starter Alex Barleen held the Lopes to nine hits in six innings.
However, the Busters were held to just seven hits in the 5-3 loss.
Emilie Laliberte and Sidney Coleman had a pair of hits and an RBI each for the Busters. Barleen took the loss while Joslynn Lopez picked up the win for Lamar.
Laliberte and Liberty Nelson had a double each for the Busters' only extra-base hits.
Garden City 000 003 0 — 3 7 3
Lamar 301 010 x — 5 9 0
Barleen and Aronoff. Lopez, Paulson(6) and Peterson, Morben(6). W--Lopez. L--Barleen. Sv--Lopez. 2B--Garden City, Laliberte, Nelson; Lamar, Brooks. 3B--Lamar, Brooks.