Three Garden City High School spring sports teams ventured on the road for respective competitions on Tuesday as the baseball team headed to Great Bend, the softball team to Maize South and the boys tennis team was at Salina Central.
After a pair of lopsided doubleheader losses to begin the season, and an opening 11-6 loss Tuesday to Great Bend, the Garden City Buffaloes baseball team finally cracked the win column with a solid 9-0 victory over the Panthers.
The twin bill split left the Buffs with a 1-5 record and they will be on the road Friday for a 4 p.m. doubleheader at TMP-Marian in Hays.
Head coach Justin Reich was happy and relieved for the return to the lineup of junior Cooper Thayer, who had been sidelined for the opening two weeks with an injury.
Thayer pitched the second game to pick up the victory, going 4 2/3 innings, giving up just two hits while striking out five and walking only one.
Auston Waetzig pitched the final 2 1/3 innings of relief, giving up just one hit.
“Our pitchers did a good job all day,” Reich said. “We just made some costly errors in the first game, but I thought Carson (Sheeter) pitched well, too.”
Garden City exploded for three runs in the third of the winning nightcap and tacked on four more in the fourth. Two more insurance runs came home in their half of the seventh.
The Buffs had 11 hits in the win, with Andrew Kreutzer, Waetzig and Eiler Arreola each picking up two hits. David Arteaga drove in four runs while Arreola and Kris Henderson each had two RBIs.
“I thought we stayed disciplined at the plate so much better,” Reich said. “We were able to get some good bunts down, and then did a good job using our speed on the bases.”
The first game was a bit of a roller-coaster, with Great Bend taking a 4-0 lead in the first only to have the Buffs come back with three runs in the second and two in the third for a 5-4 lead. The Panthers, though, answered with two runs in the third, one in the fourth and tacked on four more in the fifth to finish out their scoring.
The Buffs had nine hits in the game, with Arreola and Isaiah Ramos each getting a pair of safeties. Lance Allred had two RBIs for the Buffs.
Garden City High School’s venture to south central Kansas to face two of the top softball programs in the Wichita area and finished with a pair of losses, the first a slim 3-2 loss to Maize South in the opener before falling 10-0 in a five-inning, run-rule game to Derby.
The twin setbacks leaves the Buffs with a 1-3 record and they will travel to Valley Center on Friday for a 4:30 p.m. doubleheader with the Hornets.
In the opening game, the Buffs went up 1-0 in the third when Ryleigh Whitehurst walked and advanced to second on a groundout by Reigan Crawford. Yazmin Vargas singled to left bringing home Whitehurst for the early lead.
Vargas was the starting pitcher for the Buffs and through three innings had kept the Mavericks in check. In the bottom of the fourth, Maize South tied the score with a pair of hits and a fielding error by the Buffs.
The Mavericks scored twice in the fourth when Kylee Yocum drilled a two-run home run off reliever Hailey Dart for a 3-1 advantage.
The Buffs used their final at-bat to make a rally when Whitehurst reached on an error and then raced home on Vargas’ triple to left. With Vargas as the tying run, Dart came up but was induced into a ground out to end the game.
The Buffs had seven hits in the game, with Vargas leading the way with a 3 for 4 effort and a pair of RBIs. Dart took the loss on the mound. Carley Sternecker picked up the win for the Mavericks.
“I don’t think we capitalized as well as we should’ve in the first game,” head coach Trina Moquett said. “We didn’t get a couple of bunts down and we ran ourselves out of an inning. But the main thing is that we’re hitting in the gear we need to hit. I thought we fought back pretty hard, but just came up short.”
In the second game, there wasn’t much that went right for the Buffs, as Derby scored three times in the first off Dart, added a single run in the third and then erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fourth.
The Buffs, who managed just one hit, a single to center in the third by Vargas but she was stranded at second. They had their best scoring opportunity in the second when they loaded the bases with one out on three walks but Dart went down swinging and Crawford grounded out on a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
Dart, who pitched the first three and two-thirds innings, was tagged for 8 hits and of the 10 runs yielded, only three were earned. She struckout three and walked three. Kaya Memanus was the winning pitcher for the Panthers.
“Derby’s a good team, but once again I thought we were timid at the plate,” Moquett said. “I still think our pitchers are throwing well, but a couple of errors go away and the score should have been closer.”
Rod Robinson has been coaching the Garden City Buffaloes tennis teams for more than a decade, and on Tuesday he watched one of the top performances by one of his doubles teams at the Salina Central Mustang Classic.
The Classic, which brings together several of the top-ranked teams in Kansas, saw the Buffs finish in fifth place of the team standings with 31 points, but the excitement of the day came when Will Keller and Daniel Darter placed second in the doubles division.
In the Classic, all doubles and singles are grouped together in bracketed formats.
Keller and Darter reached the finals against Central’s Will Hayes and Reed McHenry, falling to the Mustang duo by an 8-3 count.
But before that, they had won three straight matches, two in dominating fashion as they opened with an 8-0 win over David Buller and Joel Golubski of Newton, followed by an 8-3 triumph over Matt and Jake Lucas of Smoky Valley (Lindsborg). In the semifinals, they battled McCabe Green and Chase Courbot, also of Salina Central, before prevailing 8-6.
“They just played very solid all day,” Robinson said of the No. 1 team. “They made a number of good comebacks in some of the matches, but overall, they showed just how much they’ve improved. I couldn’t be more proud of how well they played.”
The Buffs’ other doubles team, Brian Carrera and Daniel Chacon, didn’t fare so well, losing their opening two matches before rallying with wins over Daniel Casimir and Issac Decker of Hesston (8-6) and then an 8-4 win over Miles Hammond and Griffen Peterson of Salina South.
In singles play, Nathan Morren posted a 2-2 mark, including an 8-6 win over teammate Huy Nguyen in the consolation side of the bracket. Morren lost a hard-fought match for ninth place to Newton’s Jonah Schloneger, 8-5. Nguyen finished 1-3, with his lone win coming over Brian Madrigal of Emporia by an 8-3 score.
The Buffs will be back on the road Thursday for a 3 p.m. court date at the Hutchinson Invitational.