Busters baseball, softball split road doubleheaders with Seward, Pratt
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
A Seward County walk-off single kept the Garden City Community College Broncbusters baseball team from sweeping the Saints to split a four-game conference series.
Instead, the Broncbusters won the first game of the twin-billing on Monday evening in Liberal, 9-5, in an extra-inning affair, before the Saints' Jordan Leinweber drove a single to right field to score Brent Williams from second in the bottom of the final-inning seventh to give the Saints the 6-5 win and the 3-1 series win.
"Being walked-off is just part of the game," head coach Chris Finnegan said in a telephone interview after the games. "Either you walk off with your head down or you walk off ready for the next game."
The Saints swept the Busters in the opening doubleheader on Saturday, while Monday's doubleheader was originally scheduled for Sunday, but was pushed back due to high wind. With the split, the Busters' record moves to 13-12, and 6-6 in conference. The Saints are now 17-11 and 8-3.
The Busters and Saints entered the eighth inning in Monday's scheduled seven-inning opener tied at fives, but five singles, interrupted with a Saints' error, allowed six-straight Busters to reach base and four runs to cross en route to a 9-5 win. Francisco Alvarez, Tyler Alitz, Kaleb Zimmer, Tyler Tucker and Zach Barton all singled, while Kadin Hydrick reached on an error. Rockey Desantis' sacrifice fly to center capped off the scoring when Zimmer tagged from third.
Josh Thomas picked up the win for the Busters with 1 2/3 scoreless innings pitched in relief, as he allowed only one base-runner, giving Thomas his first victory of the season.
"I thought our bullpen did a good job," Finnegan said. "I thought they did a really good job."
Eight of the balanced Busters' nine-man lineup was credited with an RBI, as leadoff hitter Tucker, who went 1 for 4, was the only batter who did not drive in a run.
Chris Bonk was credited with a no decision after tossing five innings, allowing five runs, and striking out five. Tyler Clapper pitched a scoreless sixth inning out of the bullpen and Marcus McKinney allowed a hit and walked three in 1/3 of an inning of work before Thomas came in to get the Busters out of the jam.
The Saints' Brent Brazio took the loss in relief, tossing 2 1/3 innings, allowing four runs, two earned. Pete Macke got a no decision, lasting just 4 2/3 innings, allowing four and striking out five.
Williams had two RBIs on 1 for 3 at the plate with a home run in the fifth for the Saints.
In the nightcap, it was again a battle of the bullpens as the Busters' Brooks Trujillo gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings, and the Saints' Keenan Hall lasted just five innings while giving up four runs.
Through six innings, the Busters and Saints were tied at four, but Nolan Barrientos walked to lead off the top of the seventh, and Triffon Tatarin came in to pinch run and stole second base.
Jaxon Mohr's single to left scored Tatarin a batter later and the Busters took a 5-4 lead.
The Saints almost immediately answered as Jake Fuller sent a full-count pitch over the left field wall for a home run with one out. Williams doubled to right center with two outs, and Leinweber brought him home with his single off Thomas, who came in after pitching 1 2/3 innings in the first game, for the walk-off win.
"No, you're not hesitating at all in that situation," Finnegan said about putting in Thomas to close game two after he pitched in the opener. "You put the ball in your best guys' hand and you go to it."
The loss was the second for Thomas, dropping him to 1-2.
Grant Glaze, who gave up the go-ahead run for the Busters, picked up the win, tossing one inning of relief. Trujillo and Hall both received no decisions.
Leinweber finished with two RBIs on 3-of-4 hitting. Desantis and Alitz both hit home runs for the Busters, their only extra-base hits of the game.
"You want to win a series," Finnegan said about dropping the four-game series. "We didn't get swept. That was the main thing. It still keeps us in the hunt. We're in the middle of the pack (in the KJCCC)."
The Busters are tied for fourth in the Jayhawk Conference West with Barton and Colby at 6-6.
The Busters return to action at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Clarendon, Texas, where they will take on the Bulldogs in a non-conference matchup.
Garden City 000 230 04 -- 9 11 1
Seward County 002 012 00 -- 5 9 1
Bonk, Clapper (6), McKinney (7), Thomas (7) and Alvarez. Macke, Gauy (5), Valenzuela (5), Bezio(6), Garland (8), Juracek (8) and Williams. W--Thomas (1-1). L--Bezio. 2B--Seward County, Thompson. HR--Seward County, Williams.
Garden City 021 100 1 -- 5 6 0
Seward County 020 020 2 -- 6 8 2
Trujillo, Aspegren (5), Shalberg (6), Thomas (7) and Mohr. Hall, McCutcheon (6), Glaze (7) and Marshall. W--Glaze. L--Thomas (1-2). 2B--Seward County, Williams, Connolly. HR-- Garden City, Desantis (2), Alitz (3); Seward County, Fuller.
Lady Busters softball
An error-riddled sixth inning by the Lady Broncbusters led to a five-run sixth inning for the Pratt Lady Beavers en route to a 5-4 win for Pratt in the opener of a Monday afternoon doubleheader at Pratt.
"I think that says a lot about why we've been on a losing streak, and the funk that we're in," head coach Becky Gundy said in a telephone interview after Monday's twin-bill about the Beavers' comeback win. "We keep getting punched in the face and nobody's fighting back. We just keep going to (expletive)."
The loss extended the Lady Busters' losing streak to seven games, dating back to March 10.
However, Gundy's squad put an end to the skid with a 6-5 rebound win in the nightcap.
"I think it's definitely a step in the right direction," Gundy said about the team's ability to bounce back from the tough loss in the first game to win the second, bringing the Lady Busters to 9-14 overall. (The Beavers, who play in Division II, are not part of the Busters' conference).
Starter Rachel Roe took the loss in the first game despite allowing no earned runs in a six-inning complete game effort, striking out seven. But the Busters made four errors leading to all five Beavers' runs.
Jessica Soliday picked up the win in the nightcap, tossing five innings in relief after starter Miranda Elliot last just 1/3 of an inning.
Soliday gave up three runs, one earned, while striking out three.
Emilie Laliberte led the Buster offense, going 4 for 7 with four RBIs in the pair of games.
The Busters stay on the road for a 2 and 4 p.m. doubleheader at conference foe Barton County in Great Bend on Wednesday.
Garden City 001 020 1 -- 4 7 4
Pratt 000 005 x -- 5 4 3
Roe and Aronoff. Garcia and Kelly. W--Garcia. L--Roe. 2B--Garden City, Coleman; Pratt, Copland and Snyder.
Garden City 100 203 0 -- 6 12 3
Pratt 200 201 0 -- 5 7 1
Elliot, Soliday (1), Roe (6) and Aronoff, Supino (3), Aronoff (6). Woolridge, Garcia (6) and Kelly. W--Soliday. L--Woolridge. 2B--Garden City, Laliberte; Pratt, Jones, Ramirez, Ballard.