Garden City Community College’s softball team needed a win.
The Broncbusters were in the throes of a five-game losing streak into Monday’s non-conference nightcap vs. visiting Trinidad State (Colo.). Their ace, Samantha Akers, had just lost a 6-5 game to the Trojans, after the Busters missed a couple of golden opportunities to tie it or take the lead late.
Then came sophomore Marissa Montiel, who dominated the Trojans for all seven innings of a 2-0 win to secure a split for Garden City, which is now 19-21 overall.
The diminutive left-hander — who contemplated not returning for the spring softball season before ultimately deciding to compete — struck out 10 hitters and walked just one in the complete game, three-hitter.
“Ris (Montiel) had an awesome game,” GCCC head coach Becky Gundy said. “We were super, super excited for her.”
The Trojans did not even have an extra-base hit off Montiel.
“She is a kid that for two years I’ve been saying, “If we can play defense behind her, I know she can have a great day,’” Gundy said. “And she’s been awesome for us all year, but today was finally that day … They never really squared her up.”
Montiel did not receive a ton of support from the Buster offense — RBI singles from Angel Jimenez and Erica Vessels in the third and fourth innings, respectively — but she managed to make the two runs hold up.
A runner got to second in the first off a hit-by-pitch and a sacrifice bunt, but Montiel induced a fly out and then struck out a batter to end the threat. Then Montiel allowed a single to lead off the sixth, and a sacrifice bunt got the runner all the way to third on the play.
But a strikeout and lineout ended that threat, too.
Just a two-out single kept Montiel from closing out the game in perfect fashion in the seventh.
“For her to come out and have an awesome day, it couldn’t have been better to break that losing streak with her on the mound,” Gundy said.
In the opener, the Busters and Trojans exploded out of the gate with multi-run first innings. First, Akers allowed three consecutive singles, a walk and a hit-by-pitch to open the game, before getting out of the bases-loaded jam with a strikeout, an RBI groundout and another groundout to limit the Trojans to three runs.
The Busters immediately answered with a walk by Vessels to leadoff the first, a single by Alyssa Tilley and then Angel Jimenez blasted a 0-1 pitch to center to tie it. The Busters took the lead six batters later, thanks to a couple of Trinidad errors.
The Trojans tied it at 4 in the second, and then took a 5-4 lead on a sacrifice fly in the fourth. The Busters then tied it again on Vessels’ home run in the bottom half of the frame. But after Trinidad re-took a 6-5 lead, the Busters failed to answer, despite getting runners to second and third with no outs in the sixth.
Jimenez — who is filling in at catcher for the injured Taylore Hartman — sliced a line drive to the wall, but Vessels was caught off the bag when the catch was made and failed to tag up, leaving the Busters down a run. Then, Ariel Denney popped up for the second out, and Bailee Muxlow-Volk’s weak grounder was easily handled to end the threat.
The Busters went 1-2-3 in the seventh to suffer the loss.
“We had runners on base, and we just couldn’t get them across,” Gundy said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
The Busters get back to action at 2 p.m. on Wednesday in a road twin bill at Pratt.