Big bats boost Lady Busters past Hutch
By BRETT MARSHALL
By BRETT MARSHALL
In the first game of Wednesday's softball doubleheader at Tangeman Sports Complex, the Garden City Lady Broncbusters watched a four-run lead over Hutchinson's Lady Blue Dragons dissipate in the top of the seventh inning, leading to a gut-wrenching 10-8 setback.
Then, when the Dragons opened Game 2 with a two-run first, things weren't particularly going the way coach Becky Gundy and her Busters were planning.
That's when the GCCC team came out of their self-imposed funk, and scored twice in the bottom of the first, erupted for nine runs in the second, tacked on three more in the fourth and routed the Dragons 14-4 in a mercy-shortened five-inning rollover.
It was the best outcome of an otherwise mixed bag performance, at least from the perspective of Gundy, whose team improved to 3-1 with the split.
There were heroines aplenty in the comeback victory — freshman Brooke Lovas the first when she led off the Busters' first with a line shot home run over the left field fence to slice the deficit in half.
Then, there was sophomore Lauren Shanks, whose towering four-bagger over left center knotted the score two batters later.
In the second inning, Chassidy Cerrato belted a 2-run home run with one out putting the Lady Busters in front 4-2 and Alex Barleen, who pitched the first three innings to pick up the win, had an RBI single. Shanks walked, Mattie Miller singled and Emilie Laliberte pushed in another run with a single to center.
Then, to nail the coffin, sophomore catcher Danielle Aronoff, delivered a 2-run double to center, also scoring Laliberte when Hutch misplayed the relay throw. That blew the game open at 8-2 and the Lady Busters added three more to their 9-run breakout.
"It's always disappointing to let a game get away like we did in the first game," Aronoff, one of just five sophomores on this year's roster, said. "Coach (Becky Gundy) gave us a swift kick in the butt, and I think we just came back more determined."
Aronoff, who also has to handle the catching duties and signals from the bench, said it was a little unnerving to fall behind early in Game 2.
"I was a little shaky with that," Aronoff said. "But we've been a really good hitting team, and can score a lot of runs. Last year, we won a bunch of games with low scores. This year, I think we can do so much offensively. Everybody in the lineup can hit."
That was apparent as the Lady Busters cracked out 25 hits in the twinbill, 10 of which went for extra bases, including four home runs.
For Gundy, the blowout win in the nightcap was a good way to erase the bitter taste of the first game giveaway when the GCCC defense committed six errors.
"It is early and I think some of the mistakes are just that," said Gundy. "But from Monday (two wins over Pratt) to today, I didn't think we approached the games the same way. The intensity dropped and we didn't come out with the same attitude, the same excitement as we did on Monday."
Liberty Nelson led the second-game attack with three hits while Lovas, Laliberte and Aronoff had two each. In the opener, Shanks, Miller and Aronoff each had a pair of hits.
Barleen pitched the first three innings of Game 2 to pick up the win, this coming in her first year of pitching.
"She's my roommate, and we just want to continue to support her and we're all backing her up," Aronoff said.
Gundy was just happy to see her squad show some competitive fire and rally for the second-game win.
"The bats just came to life and it's good to see, good to come back," Gundy said. "We know we're athletic, but I want to see us compete better."
Now the Lady Busters hit the road for a 5-game, 2-day trip to Fort Worth, Texas, where they will compete in the Cowtown Clasic Tournament. They open play at 9 a.m. Friday and also have games at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Two more games are slated for Saturday before they return home.
Hutchinson 111 100 6 -- 10 10 3
Garden City 100 133 0 -- 8 11 6
Clark, Pickens (2), Short (7) and Rothe; Roe and Aronoff. WP--Clark; LP--Roe. 2B--HCC (Nave, Smith, Jenkins), GCCC (Shanks, Aronoff, Miller). 3B--GCCC (Lovas). HR--HCC (Suhler), GCCC (Coleman).
Hutchinson 202 00 -- 4 6 2
Garden City 290 3x -- 14 14 1
Pickens, Short (3), Olender (3) and Rothe; Barleen, Roe (4) and Aronoff. WP--Barleen; LP--Pickens. 2B--GCCC (Aronoff, Nelson). HR--GCCC (Shanks, Cerrato, Lovas).