Busters softball bashes Dodge City in doubleheader sweep, 10-3, 8-1
By ADAM HOLT
In a tune-up series before today's bout with top-ranked Butler, the Garden City Community College softball team left its doubleheader with Dodge City feeling confident.
The Lady Broncbusters swept two non-conference games Friday at Tangeman Sports Complex from the Division II Lady Conquistadors, winning 10-3 and 8-1 behind aggressive hitting and a pair of quality starts from their pitchers.
Garden City (22-19) pounded out a combined 27 hits and scored in 10 of the 12 innings they batted.
"I thought we hit the ball really, really well today," GCCC head coach Becky Holland said. "I think we did a good job of executing, especially with runners in scoring position."
The Busters took advantage of eight Conq errors, as well, and had little trouble with any of the three Dodge City (21-20) pitchers to see action.
Third baseman Lauren Shanks went 6-for-8 in the series with a home run, three runs and three RBIs, and first baseman Chelsea Justice hit a homer and two doubles, to go with five RBIs and a pair of runs scored. Nine of the 10 Busters to bat got a hit, and eight of them had a multi-hit game or day.
"I feel like we were seeing it really well today," Justice said. "Pitcher threw some balls, her release point was really easy to see."
Justice opened up leads with big hits in both games. Her two-run homer in the fifth inning of Game 1 keyed a four-run frame, to turn a 4-3 game into an 8-3 margin. Justice also had a two-run double in the fourth inning of Game 2, to make it 5-0.
Kallie Hoover got the win in Game 1, allowing three runs, one earned, on seven hits and a walk, while striking out five in seven innings.
GCCC was briefly down 3-1 in the opener heading into the bottom of the third, but Garden City scored on an error and a fielder's choice to tie the game. Hoover scattered four baserunners over the final four innings, and she and Emilie Laliberte had RBI singles in the sixth to finish the scoring.
DCCC starter Jaycie Morris gave up three runs in three innings before being lifted for Sarae Kistler, who allowed five runs in two innings of work. Taylee Heckman pitched the sixth, allowing two runs.
The biggest positive from the 8-1 win was Joslynn Lopez, who turned in one of her best performances of the season, allowing one unearned run on four hits while striking out seven.
"I thought Jos threw really, really well today," Holland said. "Hit her spots, ball was moving. Definitely looked really good today. Very proud of her."
Two second-inning runs were all the Busters would end up needing. Shanks singled and scored on an error on a grounder by Jalen Espinoza, who stole second and later scored on Mekayla Aguiniga's single to center.
GCCC scored in each of the final five innings, tagging Kistler for three runs and Heckman for five.
Next up today is a doubleheader in El Dorado with No. 1 Butler (39-2) to finish conference play, with games at 2 and 4 p.m. The Grizzlies swept the Busters convincingly in Garden City earlier this season, 8-2 and 18-3. Butler is 10-0 in conference and can clinch at least a share of the regular-season title with at least one win today against Garden City, and take it outright with a sweep. GCCC is 9-5 in conference.
"I think playing Butler tomorrow, we're gonna need good defense, and (to be) good at the plate, good, strong at-bats," Justice said. "I think today was a confidence-booster for us."
"Hopefully we can play well, keep it a game, maybe they make some mistakes," Holland said. "We play really, really well, maybe we can get us a win tomorrow."
Garden City 10, Dodge City 3
Dodge City 102 000 0 -- 3 7 2
Garden City 012 142 x -- 10 16 3
WP: Hoover. LP: Morris. 2B: Dodge City (Payne), Garden City 2 (Laliberte, Peterson). HR: Garden City (Justice, Shanks).
Garden City 8, Dodge City 1
Dodge City 000 001 0 -- 1 4 6
Garden City 021 212 x -- 8 11 3
WP: Lopez. LP: Kistler. 2B: Dodge City (Best), Garden City 3 (Justice 2, Peterson).