Less than a week following one of the most heartbreaking losses of the season, the Garden City High School softball team capped off their regular schedule with a dominant performance on the road.
The Buffs concluded the regular season Monday with a postponed doubleheader re-do at Goodland, dispatching the Cowgirls 9-1 in a seven-inning test and then blowing past them 19-1 in a three-inning, mercy-rule ending.
Monday’s sweep improved the Buffs’ season record to 15-5, having won 14 of their final 16 games, after struggling out of the gate at 1-3 in the first week of April.
“It was kinda nice and I couldn’t be any happier,” said GCHS coach Trina Moquett. “The team collectively has given us a chance to be in a position to get back to the state tournament.”
In the broom job, the Buffs jolted the Cowgirls pitching staff, collecting 18 hits in the first game and 19 in the second.
Sophomore Yazmin Vargas went 7 for 9 in the two games, while driving in seven runs.
Ryleigh Whitehurst had a pair of hits in the opener, driving in two runs while Reagan Nordy, who was 6 for 7 in the two games, had four hits in the opener and then three RBIs in the nightcap.
Erykah Foster collected four hits and drove in four runs in the second game. In all, every single starter had at least one hit in the two games, with 14 having multi-hit games.
“The offense was clicking most of the day, although we were a little lethargic in the early part of Game 1,” Moquett said. “It took a little while to get going, but in Game 2, we hit on all cylinders.”
The offensive output of Vargas allowed her to break two school records — she now totals 44 hits, breaking the mark of 42 set by Freedom Van Meter while her 10 triples eclipses the mark of five set by Abbie Dart.
“She’s had an exceptional season,” Moquett said of the sophomore, who plays shortstop and is the No. 2 pitcher for the Buffs. “She’s had a bunch of RBIs, and that’s because the bottom of our lineup is getting on base. So, top to bottom, the offense is really clicking.”
Vargas had an extra-base carnival of sorts Monday, going for three doubles and a home run in the 9-1 opener before adding in a pair of triples in the nightcap rout.
In all, the Buffs recorded 13 extra-base hits of the 39 safeties in the two wins.
Now, the Buffs have to play the waiting game to see where they will fall in the seedings for the western portion of Class 6A regional bracketing.
They are currently tied with Dodge City and Wichita Southeast at five losses, with Dodge still to finish its season on Thursday against lowly Liberal, while Southeast was playing Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel Monday, a team the Buffs clobbered 19-7 on Saturday at the Emporia Spartan Round Ball Classic.
If the three teams are tied at the end of the regular season, they will draw by lot for the fourth, fifth and sixth seeds, with the No. 4 seed getting to host 1 of the 4 regional tournaments.
“We’ve done all we can, so now we just wait,” Moquett said.
Regional play begins next week, with the state tournament set for May 23 and 24 in Lawrence where the Buffs finally broke through and won two games in finishing third in the state tourney.