Miller's walk off sends Lady Busters to sweep
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
Usual starting Garden City Community College Lady Broncbusters designated hitter Mattie Miller saw herself being called to pinch hit with the game on the line in the bottom of the seventh of Tuesday's game two of a home doubleheader with Lamar, Colo., Community College.
The Busters entered their half of the final inning trailing 8-7 at the Tangeman Sports Complex, but Karissa Cardenas, who led off the inning by reaching first on a Runnin' Lopes error, scored to tie it on Chassidy Cerrato's single to right center. That's when head coach Becky Gundy tapped Miller with the pinch-hit duties.
"Coach asked me, 'Can you get the job done?' and I said, 'Absolutely,'" Miller said. "I didn't want to let her down, just go up and get a base hit, that's all."
With runners on first and third, Miller rewarded Gundy's faith with a rocket past third baseman Morgan Young to score Alex Barleen from third for the walk-off win and the twin sweep as the Busters had run-ruled Lamar 8-0 in the opener.
"Mattie really does a good job in that pressure situation," Gundy said afterward. "She's a kid that is always good to go to if you need that."
Miller said she was just happy to come through in the biggest spot of the game.
"It's one of the best feelings there ever is," the freshman said. "I wasn't happy for myself — I was happy for my team. My team won, that's what it's all about."
The pair of wins improved the Busters to 16-19 overall after four straight losses over the weekend to Butler and Western, Neb.
"I was a little disappointed that, I feel like we've really been struggling this year with getting on top of a team and run-ruling them and then going out in the second game and either lose or have to go into extra innings or clear into the last inning," Gundy said of the Busters having to win with a walk-off hit after routing the Lopes in Game 1. "I'd like to see us have a little bit better focus, carry that momentum from Game 1 into Game 2."
Starter Rachel Roe gave the Busters all the momentum they needed in the opener, holding the Lopes to just two hits and a walk for the five-inning complete game win.
Emilie Laliberte and Denise Dentlinger led the offense with two RBIs each, both going 1 for 3 at the plate with a double.
But in Game 2, the Runnin' Lopes jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first, leaving the Busters in catch-up mode.
The Busters tied it at four in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a couple of Lamar errors. The two teams exchanged runs in each of the third and four innings to make it 6-6 before the Lopes took a 7-6 advantage in the fifth.
The Busters evened the score again when Brooke Lovas walked to lead off the sixth, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a groundout.
But yet again, the Runnin' Lopes re-took the lead in the top of the seventh after Victoria Brooks reached on a fielding error and scored a batter later on a sacrifice fly, setting up the Busters' two-run rally and Miller's walk off.
The Busters had to overcome an interference call in the bottom of the inning to get the win. After Cardenas and Liberty Nelson each reached on errors, Nelson was called out for running into the second baseman on Barleen's grounder, leaving the Busters with runners on first and second, one out, instead of bases loaded and nobody out.
Cardenas did score a batter later on Cerrato's single, and then Miller made the interference moot with the walk-off single.
Cerrato led the team with a pair of RBIs, going 2 for 4. Roe again got the win, tossing a complete game, striking out four, allowing only one earned run on seven hits and a walk.
The Busters return to conference play at 2 p.m. today at Tangeman with a Jayhawk Conference doubleheader against Barton County, which sits at 17-11 and 2-6 in the KJCCC. Meanwhile, the Busters are 5-5 in the conference.
"Basically, it's the same approach no matter who we're playing," Gundy said. "Obviously conference games do mean a little more, but to me with the way we've kind of got our momentum going, I don't want to approach any game, ever, any differently, but especially not when we have been up and down."
The Lady Busters had won six of their previous seven games before the winless weekend.
Lamar 000 00 -- 0 2 2
Garden City 001 25 -- 8 9 4
Lopez, Paulson(5) and Peterson. Roe and Aronoff. W--Roe. L--Lopez. 2B--Garden City, Dentlinger, Laliberte, Miller, Nelson, Shanks.
Lamar 401 110 1 -- 8 7 6
Garden City 041 101 2 -- 9 12 6
Chadwick, Duran(6) and Hass. Roe and Supino. W--Roe. L--Chadwick. 2B--Lamar, Hass, Chadwick; Garden City, Aronoff.