The Garden City Wind finished their third season in franchise history on Saturday, capping the otherwise disappointing season with a positive note.
The Wind exploded for three home runs for five runs in the first inning and then held off a Santa Fe, N.M., Fuego rally to win, 6-5, in Santa Fe. The Wind end the season at 19-43, while Santa Fe was 32-27. Both teams failed to qualify for the postseason.
Wind veteran Joey Cecere led off the season finale with a single, followed by a walk to Morgan Blatnik. Ryan Whitt immediately followed with an 0-1 blast for a quick 3-0 lead.
Followed a groundout to first by Cameron Hetchn, Taylor Zeutenhorst and Eli Roundtree hit back-to-back home runs for the early 5-0 advantage.
The Fuego got one back on Willie Doll’s RBI double in the bottom half of the inning, and two more on Matt Haskins’ home run and AJ Flores’ RBI single in the fourth.
Jack Finnegan — who played right field to start and then was put in as a reliever to close out the game — hit a sacrifice fly to score Roundtree in the sixth to put the Wind back up by three, before Santa Fe scored a single tally in both the seventh and eighth innings.
Finnegan picked up the save, going the final 1 1/3 innings, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out one.
Zak Qualls — 3 2/3 innings, five hits, two runs and four strikeouts — picked up the win in relief, after starter Mason Mayberry was knocked out after just four innings, in which he gave up three runs and eight hits.
In three seasons of existence, the Wind are 78-112, but were 38-26 in 2016, making their only postseason appearance.