Lady Buffs earn softball split with Great Bend
By BRETT MARSHALL
By BRETT MARSHALL
The Garden City Lady Buffaloes softball team got the doubleheader split that head coach Trina Moquett was hoping for on Thursday against Great Bend, but it didn't exactly come the way she thought it would.
The Lady Buffs, facing the previously unbeaten Lady Panthers in a Western Athletic Conference showdown, rallied with one run in the seventh to tie the game at 4, and then scored twice in the top of the eighth to prevail, 6-4, in the opener. In the nightcap, however, the Lady Buffs stumbled and finished on the short end of an 8-1 setback.
The twin bill split left the Lady Buffs with an 8-3 overall record and 3-1 in the WAC. Great Bend is now 11-1 and 5-1. The Lady Buffs quickly return to the diamond as they host Dodge City at 3 p.m. today in another WAC doubleheader at Tangeman Sports Complex.
For Moquett, the jubilation of winning game one in come-from-behind fashion, was quickly dashed in game two as the Lady Buffs were shut down by Hunter Middleton in the nightcap, managing just three hits off the Lady Panthers' pitcher.
"We got ahead early in the first game, then had a lull, and things weren't going our way," Moquett said of the game one ebb-and-flow. "We picked up the one run to tie and then got the two runs for the win, and that was really a great thing for the girls to accomplish."
Garden and Great Bend traded runs in the second before the Lady Buffs put two up on the board in the third, offset by a single Great Bend run in the bottom half, making it a 3-2 Lady Buffs lead. The Lady Panthers regained the lead with two runs in the fifth.
But the Lady Buffs knotted the score in the top of the seventh, getting a lead-off single by Jamie St. Clair. Dusti Befort reached on an error before a groundout by Shai Cartmill moved the runners over to third and second. Haley Saldana then delivered a run-scoring single to left with two outs.
In the eighth, Jordan Torrones got things started with a one-out single to right field. With two outs, St. Clair and Befort had back-to-back singles, with Terrones scoring on Befort's hit to left. On the throw to home, St. Clair and Befort ended up at third and second. Abbie Dart reached on an error, which allowed St. Clair to score, making it 6-4.
Befort, who picked up the win by going the distance, gave up consecutive singles to Middleton and McKenna Mauler with one out before striking out Tarynn Stueder and then inducing Regan Unruh into a groundout back to the mound.
The Lady Buffs finished with 13 hits off Braylin Bretz and Middleton, who took the loss. Garden had three errors while Great Bend had five miscues. Befort finished with six strikeouts and walked none while all four runs she yielded were unearned. St. Clair led the hitting attack with four hits and Befort added two, including a double.
"From last year, we knew Great Bend was a pretty good team and we definitely wanted to get at least a split," Moquett said. "But once you win that first one, you want the next one, too. We just didn't have the same environment in the second game. Everyone got a little frustrated, and we've got to learn from that."
Freshman Dart was on the mound in that second game, and struggled at times, especially in the third when she was tagged for five runs by Great Bend.
"We just weren't quite as confident as game one," Moquett said. "I've got confidence that Abbie can do the job. She's young, and is gonna take some lumps. She's gonna have to grow into handling these kinds of situations and I believe she'll be alright. Offensively, we just couldn't get anything going."
While Dart did register eight strikeouts, she also yielded seven walks.
"I have confidence in her, and this was a good learning experience for her," Moquett said of Dart.
The Lady Buffs managed just three hits off Middleton, who had just two strikeouts and two walks, while Dart yielded 10 to the Lady Panthers.
Garden City 6, Great Bend 4 (8 inn.)
Garden City 012 000 12 -- 6 13 3
Great Bend 011 020 00 -- 4 7 5
Befort and Saldana; Bretz, Middleton (7) and Sanders. WP--Befort; LP--Middleton. 2B--GC (Befort), GB (Barber). 3B--GB (Gray). RBI--GC (Befort, Saldana, Cartmill, Greenlee), GB (Gray).
Garden City 000 100 0 -- 1 3 1
Great Bend 015 101 x -- 8 10 1
Dart and Nordby; Middleton and Mauler. WP--Middleton; LP--Dart. 2B--GC (Brunson), GB (Middleton, Unruh, M. Mauler, Kasselman. 3B--GB (Stueder). RBI--GC (Befort), GB (Doll, Stueder 3, Unruh, Kasselman).