Thanks to a four-run rally in the ninth inning of the series finale in Hutchinson Saturday, the Garden City Broncbusters were able to avoid a back-breaking sweep by the Blue Dragons.
But that took the Busters getting several breaks, as Hutchinson committed three pivotal errors and a dropped third strike in the Busters’ 8-5 win. None of the Busters’ four runs in the inning were earned, and none came from an RBI.
The host Dragons won the day’s opener, 5-3, after sweeping Thursday’s games in Garden City.
At the end of the weekend, the Busters are below .500 at 20-21 and are 6-14 in the KJCCC West, sitting in eighth of nine teams. Hutch (21-16, 13-11) improved its standing to fifth in the West.
Hutchinson 5, Garden City 3
As has been the case for much of the Busters’ season, they had to try to come back from an early deficit in Saturday’s opener. Hutch took a 2-0 advantage on Logan Satori’s RBI double and then Dylan Nedved’s RBI single in the third off Buster starter Eric Heiman.
The Busters cut it in half on Darian Burns’ RBI double in the fourth, but Hutch pushed the lead to 4-1 on Zion Bowln’s two-run single.
Again, the Busters chipped away, with Alec Eskenazi walking to lead off the fifth, and Griff Brunson reaching on a bunt. Clint Allen laid down a sacrifice bunt, and then Robbie Young singled in both Eskenazi and Brunson to make it 4-3.
After Ty Barclay struck out, Corbin Truslow singled, but Chris Lara’s line drive to second was caught, and the threat was over. That’s as close as the Busters would get, managing just a pair of walks in the seventh, after Hutchinson’s Bobby Morgensen’s home run in the bottom of the fifth reached the final 5-3 margin.
Garden City 8, Hutchinson 5
The Busters did take the opening lead in the nightcap, when Young singled in Allen and the Truslow tripled in Young for a 2-0 advantage.
Truslow made it 4-0 with a two-run homer to center in the sixth, after Barclay led off the inning by walking. But Kendrick Catron — who is returning from injury and had only thrown six combined innings coming into Saturday — ran out of gas, allowing a walk, single and a double, before being relieved by Jacob Douglas. Up to that point, Catron had kept the Dragons' bat silent with no hits.
Only one run had scored at that point, however, before Douglas allowed back-to-back doubles to Bowln and Scott Wolverton as Hutch tied the game at 4. The score remained even until the ninth, when Brunson singled to begin the rally with one out. Allen was hit by a pitch, and Young walked, before Hutch catcher Wolverton couldn’t handle a throw home on Barclay’s chopper to third baseman Garrett Stephens, allowing Brunson to score — to take a 5-4 lead — Barclay to reach, and the two other runners to advance a base.
Truslow struck out, and so did Chris Lara to potentially end the inning, but the pitch was well outside and Lara reached first and Allen scored on a wild pitch third strike — the run would prove meaningful when Wyatt Divis homered to lead off the Hutchinson ninth.
Then, on back-to-back at bats, Stephens and Nedved, who started the game on the mound and then switched to shortstop in the sixth, then booted groundballs off the bats of Burns and Ty Lightley, respectively, as the Busters added a pair of insurance runs.
The Busters now take on Pratt in this week’s Thursday-Saturday series. The two squads meet in Pratt first at 1 p.m. Thursday.