Bedeviled: Buffs drop twin bill
By BRETT MARSHALL
By BRETT MARSHALL
It's been a difficult week for the Garden City High School Buffaloes baseball team.
First, they suffered twin shutouts on Tuesday at Hays, including being no-hit.
Then, on Friday at Clint Lightner Stadium, the Buffs, despite hammering out 12 runs in two games and recording 14 hits, endured another pair of Western Athletic Conference losses, this time to rival Dodge City, 7-6 in the opener and 14-6 in the nightcap, before a raucous crowd.
To top it off, head coach Bill Wilson was ejected in the third inning of the second game, as was designated hitter Martin Terrazas.
Most likely, the ejections came for disputing a variety of calls from the two-man umpiring crew, which also resulted later in the nightcap the ejection of Dodge City coach Daniel Rogers when his team was leading 14-6 in the top of the seventh as he argued a batter's interference with catcher Thomas Solorio, who was attempting to throw out a runner at second.
"Well, it was an interesting night," Wilson said when he was able to return to the diamond after the doubleheader was over. "I didn't get to see much of the game. But I will tell you, I'm proud of the fight the kids had in them. We battled through a lot. We hit the ball hard all over the place."
The first game was the backbreaker and heartbreaker for the Buffs.
They scored three runs in the first and added two more in the second to take early command against a red-hot Red Demons team that entered the twin bill with an 8-1 mark.
Solorio had RBIs in both innings, one on a single and the other with a double. Ivan Gutierrez, Emilio Parr and Mitchell Hernandez each had an RBI in support of starter Daniel Flores.
Flores was nearly flawless through the first three innings, yielding just three hits. Then the pitching struggles that have beset the Buffs for much of the season reared its ugly head. Dodge City plated seven runs in the fourth off just four hits, but the big one was a three-run home run off the bat of Austin Weiser. A pair of walks and a hit batter didn't help the cause either.
"I'm a little disappointed that we weren't able to finish off that first game," Wilson said. "We hit the ball hard, had legitimate hits, so it's definitely not the bats that are causing us problems. It seems like when we get a lead, our pitchers go right back out there and give it right back. I'm looking for a bulldog on the mound, and we don't seem to have that mentality right now. It's not because we're not trying, it's somewhat that we have a lot of new kids playing varsity ball their first year. There's not a lot of experience out there."
The Buffs appeared likely to have a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh when Mario Montoya tripled to deep left center field, but Parr and Terrazas went down swinging to end the game. The Buffs had 10 hits while Dodge City managed seven off Flores and reliever Daven Acker.
In the nightcap, Dodge scored once in the second and the Buffs came right back with four runs of their own in the bottom half. Solorio delivered a two-run single while the Buffs took advantage of three consecutive hit batters to score one run on a walk to Acker.
Once again, Wilson's dire assessment of his pitching came true. Montoya walked three batters, all of whom scored, and then Solorio came in to pitch and promptly walked a batter and another reached on an error. Before it was over, six runs for the Demons were scored.
The Buffs made one final run at the Demons, scoring twice in the fourth off three hits, with Solorio getting another RBI single and Marcus Zapata delivering a run-scoring double.
But that would be it.
Dodge City pushed across four runs in the fifth and three runs in the sixth, aided by three fielding errors by the Buffs, who went quietly at the plate, with the final 10 hitters being retired by winning pitcher Andrew Balderaz.
The Buffs are now 4-9 overall and 1-5 in the WAC. Dodge City improves to 10-1 and 3-1. The Buffs return to action at 4 p.m. Tuesday when they host Wichita Word of Life at Clint Lightner.
Dodge City 000 700 0 -- 7 7 3
Garden City 320 010 0 -- 6 10 1
Weiser and Wells; Flores, Acker (4) and Solorio. WP--Weiser; LP--Acker. 2B--Dodge City (Wells, Unruh), Garden City (Solorio). 3B--Garden City (Hernandez, Montoya, Parr). LOB--Dodge City 4, Garden City 7.
Dodge City 016 043 0 -- 14 9 3
Garden City 040 200 0 -- 6 4 5
Balderaz and Wells; Montoya, Solorio (3), Hernandez (6) and Solorio, Acker (3), Solorio (6). 2B--Dodge City (Wells, Chance), Garden City (Zapata). LOB--Dodge City 7, Garden City 5.