Buffs outslugged by Hays in doubleheader
By BRETT MARSHALL
If it had been a Shakespearean festival, Tuesday night's Garden City Buffaloes baseball doubleheader loss to the Hays High Indians would have been a combination of a Greek tragedy as well as a comedy of errors, albeit there was little to laugh about at the end of a bitterly cold, windy twinbill setback by the Buffs.
With the temperature hovering in the mid 40s and the wind blowing at 15-17 mph and gusting to 24 mph, the game was every bit as difficult as one could imagine.
Thus, after suffering losses of 15-7 and 10-7 to the Indians in Western Athletic Conference play, GCHS coach Bill Wilson was a mixed bag of emotion.
"The first game got out of hand so fast that all we could do was try to fight out way back," Wilson said of falling behind the Indians 12-0 after just three innings when Hays' batters were in attack mode. "They hit the ball better in the first few innings than I've seen from a team in quite some time. They were hitting it everywhere."
The Indians scored three runs in the first, six runs in the second and two in the third before adding a single tally in the fourth. At that point, GCHS pitcher Edgar Montoya and his Buffs were wondering if they would get run-ruled as they had in 2012 at Hays.
But give them credit, the Buffs found a way to make things interesting, but not interesting enough to satisfy Wilson.
The Buffs erupted for six runs in the fifth inning, banging out five hits to knock out starter Marcus Altman.
"I'm proud of the way the kids battled there and I think it carried over to the second game," Wilson said. "But then we gave some runs right back to them by putting too many runners on base."
Montoya completed six innings on the mound as he suffered his fourth loss of the season against just one win. He had 107 pitches before being relieved by Mitch Hernandez.
"We've got to find a way for Edgar and our other pitchers to find the inside part of the plate," Wilson said. "We've struggled with that all season. You can't just give a team half the plate and expect good things."
The Buffs also contributed to their misery as they committed four errors. Montoya had reasonable control as he struckout seven and walked two and hit one batter.
Thomas Solorio had a pair of hits and two RBIs, one of those on a long home run to right in the sixth inning. The Buffs finished with 10 hits, one of their top offensive efforts of the season.
"I thought we swung the bat well for the most part, more aggressive than we've been," Wilson said.
Hays erased any comeback chances by scoring three times in its half of the seventh. The Buffs muffed their final scoring opportunity in the seventh when Solorio thought he had ball four, but a strike was called, and when Downing got the ball back from the catcher he turned and threw to second baseman Chance Pitcock, who tagged out Marcus Zapata, who was headed to second, believing that Solorio had walked.
"Certainly a strange way for the game to end," Wilson said. "Thomas thought it was ball four, I thought the ball might have been right there. That's where the confusion was. Too bad because we had our best hitter at the plate and two runners on."
In the nightcap, as temperatures continued to plummet, the Buffs started off impressively, scoring two times in each of the second and third frames. In the second, Mario Montoya singled in a run and then another came on a double-play ball by Isaiah Rodriguez. The two runs in the third came on another RBI single by Mario Montoya and a throwing error by Hays shortstop Hayden Hutchison.
Starter Logan Dechant was cruising along with a one-hitter through three innings before giving up a run in the fourth. Then, the floodgates opened as Hays poured in nine runs in the fifth, getting six hits and being aided by two GCHS errors along with five walks issued by Dechant and Hernandez, who came on in relief.
"Once again, we just contributed to our own demise," Wilson said. "We're struggling with our consistency, but still I thought we competed hard and gave them a battle."
The Buffs did get three more runs in the fifth, but it wasn't enough. A triple by Solorio, an infield single by Dechant, a pair of Hays errors all helped narrow the gap to 10-7. But there would be no final rally for the Buffs as they watched their season record fall to 2-9 overall and 0-3 in the WAC. Hays improved to 8-2 and 3-1. The Buffs travel to Dodge City for a 4 p.m. Friday doubleheader against the Red Demons.
Hays 362 100 3 -- 15 12 1
Garden City 000 061 0 -- 7 10 4
WP--Altman (3-0), LP--E. Montoya (1-4). 2B--Hays (Hutchison, Altman), GC (Hernandez, Dechant, Rodriguez). HR--Hays (Downing 2), GC (Solorio). LOB--Hays 5, Garden City 12.
Hays 000 190 0 -- 10 8 5
Garden City 022 030 0 -- 7 6 4
WP--Schumacher (2-0), LP--Dechant. 2B--Hays (Hutchison). 3B--GC (Solorio). LOB--Hays 11, Garden City 6.