Garden City Buffaloes
Lady Buffs fall, 7-4, after rain delay in state opener.
By Jeff Deters
Special to the Telegram
OVERLAND PARK — The game was there for the taking early, and Garden City High School softball had momentum. Until Mother Nature took it away.
The No. 7 seed Buffaloes had just cut their deficit in half against No. 2 seed Washburn Rural in the third inning on Thursday in the opening round of the Class 6A state softball tournament at Blue Valley West. But heavy rain halted play, and the game was stopped for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. When play resumed, the Junior Blues caught fire and built a six-run lead before holding on for a 7-4 win.
"Anytime you have a delay, you're not sure which way the tide's going to turn," Garden City coach Trina Moquett said. "I think before that rain, we were starting to get a little momentum, and then it kind of slowed us down. So that's always a tough thing to do, and both teams have to do it. But we kept battling."
Down 7-1 at the end of the fourth, the Buffaloes answered with two runs in the top of the fifth against Rural starter Madison Roth. Shea Nordby and Jordan Terrones walked to get things going, and with one out, singles by Haley Saldana and Kennedy Brunson gave the Buffaloes new life, but it wouldn't last.
Rural (21-2) took a 2-0 lead at the end of one as it hit Garden City starter Dusti Befort for two runs on three hits. Befort, however, settled down and pitched a scoreless second, and was in control. She had one out in the bottom of the third when rain forced both teams and fans to head for cover. When play resumed, Rural went to work, scoring two runs in the inning and three more in the fourth.
"After that rain delay, the mound was still a little iffy," Moquett said. "And she was having a hard time getting her footing. She's a competitor, and we want the ball in her hands when the game's on the line. We'll take that anytime with her."
In the sixth, Nordby doubled with one out against Rural reliever Kelsee Henry, and scored on Terrones' double to make it 7-4.
"We put up a fight," senior Jamie St. Clair said. "We were seeing the ball better, and being more relaxed in the box later in the game. We listened to our coach, and she told us to move up in the box so we could make contact on the ball before it broke on us."
Befort gave up seven runs on nine hits while striking out six to go with five walks. Brunson had two singles and Terrones had two doubles to pace the offense.
"Give credit to Garden City," Rural coach Brenda Holaday said. "They battled and kept fighting, and that's what you're supposed to do in a state tournament. Nobody wants to go home."
The Buffaloes ended the season 14-8, and Moquett and her players walked off the field with their heads held high.
"I couldn't ask for a better team to coach," she said. "This group of girls, we're young, but they battled all year long. Our regional tournament, we battled to get to state, and I'm so proud of them."
Garden City (14-8) 001 021 0 -- 4 7 1
Washburn Rural (21-2) 202 300 x -- 7 9 1
Befort and Nordby and Saldana. Roth and Metzger. W--Roth L--Befort. 2B--Garden City, Terrones 2, Nordby; Washburn Rural, Holman 2, Snow. 3B--Washburn Rural, Roth. LOB--Garden City, 5; Washburn Rural - 6.
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