Busters' baseball goes 1-3 against No. 1 Iowa Western





What should be made of the Garden City Community College baseball team's home-opening series against Iowa Western this weekend?


one hand, the Broncbusters went 1-3, two of the losses by one run in

winnable games — a couple lapses in execution maybe costing GCCC. On the

other hand, Garden City played three one-run games with the No. 1 team

in the nation, and for three of the four games, were pretty evenly

matched with the Reivers.

"You can look at it both ways if you want to," GCCC head coach Chris Finnegan said.


City dropped the opening game on Saturday, 6-5, then got run-ruled in a

12-0 clunker of a loss in Game 2. The Busters came back with a 5-4

walk-off win in eight innings to start Sunday, and couldn't hold on to a

five-run lead in an 8-7 loss to finish the series.

"This weekend is

more of a lesson, a learning experience for this group of guys,"

Finnegan said. "They're still inexperienced, they're still learning how

to win, battle back. But the main importance of it is, we put together a

full day today of our attitude and effort. That's a plus. That's a plus

right there."

"We've still got some things to work on, but I think

our effort was there today," right fielder Alex Buechler said. "Not in

the second game yesterday. But I think we can work on some stuff, and if

we keep playing like that, we're gonna win a lot of games."

The highlight of the weekend was that 5-4, eight-inning win in Game 3.


Zimmer drew a bases-loaded, two-out walk to preserve the win for

Bradley Spires, who pitched a gutsy complete game, retiring the final 11

batters he faced.

Spires allowed a leadoff home run to Matt Kianka

on the first pitch of the game, and the Busters were down 4-0 entering

the home half of the third.

Tyler Alitz singled and scored on

Zimmer's double for the Busters' first run, and Spires settled down

afterward, allowing three more baserunners the rest of the way, on two

hits and an error by first baseman Nolan Barrientos.

"He pitched out

of some jams, and hit some big pitches in some big situations for us,"

Finnegan said of Spires. "And that's what he's supposed to do. We're

gonna have a lot more of those games with the rest of our guys, too.

That was a plus, just for our pitching staff to see that. Hey, we had a

guy, we didn't go to the bullpen, we set with a guy for eight innings,

and he got the job done for us."

Garden City loaded the bases in the

sixth, and Buechler hit a two-run double off the right field wall to

make it 4-3. Kevin Czarnecki had a pinch-hit RBI groundout to tie the

game, and the Busters broke through again in the eighth for the win.

GCCC put together a six-run third inning in an 8-7 loss in the finale.


2-1, Garden City put its first two men on in the third, and Buechler

came up big again, with a sinking line drive single to center that

short-hopped IWCC's Thomas Clay and got to the wall. Zach Barton and

Barrientos scored, and Buechler was waved home and scored as well.


saw it get past, and I was thinking three all the way. I saw coach

waving me home, so I just turned ahead and ran, made it there," Buechler

said. "I wasn't expecting to go four, but it worked out pretty well."


Busters got another run on a double-steal, and Zimmer hit a two-run

home run off the scoreboard in left-center to make it 7-2.


Reivers got three back in the fourth off starter Brooks Trujillo, and

three more in the sixth. Trujillo was replaced by Colton Kibler after

allowing the first two men in the sixth to reach, and Clay tied the

game with a two-run single, with Adam Morey's RBI groundout scoring the

winning run.

GCCC had Barton at second with one out, but couldn't score him in the sixth, and the Busters went down in order in the seventh.

There wasn't much to like in Game 2, a 12-0 blowout in five innings.


get blown out Game 2 because we rolled over," Finnegan said. "We didn't

get it; we didn't understand. Our effort was not very good."

Game 1

saw the Reivers go up 3-0 in the top of the first, and take a 6-4 lead

after five. GCCC got back-to-back doubles from Barton and Zimmer in the

sixth to make it a one-run game, but couldn't do anything with a one-out

walk in the seventh.

"Realistically, you look at Game 1, both teams

had a chance to break it open," Finnegan said. "Both sides made big

pitches in big situations, they really did. Unfortunately, we come out

on the losing side, and that's part of the game."

Still, there was a

fair amount to like despite the three losses, especially considering it

came against the nation's top team. Iowa Western has made the NJCAA

world series every year since 2007, and was champion in 2012 and 2010.


up some of the execution — errors here and there, and a couple of

failed squeeze plays — could go a long way toward the team's success

this season.

"Here and there, just executing the game, and making the

routine plays," Buechler said. "And sometimes even making the

spectacular play, keep us in the game. We'll work on it, and we'll get

better. I'm not too worried about it."

The Busters are on the road for a 2 p.m. game on Wednesday against Frank Phillips College in Borger, Texas.


Game 1

Iowa Western 6, Garden City 5

IWCC        301        111        0        —        6        12        3

GCCC        110        201        1        —        5        11        1

WP: Youngdahl. LP: Clapper (0-1). SV: Robinson.

Game 2

Iowa Western 12, Garden City 0

IWCC        113        25x        x        —        12        14        0

GCCC        000        000        0        —        0        1        3

WP: Johnson. LP: Heifner.

Game 3

Garden City 5, Iowa Western 4 (8)

IWCC        112        000        00        —        4        7        0

GCCC        001        003        01        —        5        10        2

WP: Spires (1-0). LP: Darcy.

Game 4

Iowa Western 8, Garden City 7

IWCC        101        303        0        —        8        7        1

GCCC        106        000        0        —        7        9        2

WP: Appleby. LP: Kibler.

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