A sunny afternoon in Garden City was just what the Broncbusters ordered, as they swept the Pratt Community College Beavers, 3-2 and 10-5, in a conference matchup, the seventh straight win over Pratt spanning two seasons.
In the first game, it took a late score to give the Broncbusters the 3-2 win.
Jake Barber opened the inning with a double to left. One strikeout later, Pratt gave up two intentional walks to load the bases.
The next batter, Dakota Finley, singled on a hard ground ball to left, driving in Barber for the walk-off win, their third such win of the season.
Jacob Douglas got the win in relief, giving up one hit while facing four batters.
Eric Heiman, Garden City High School standout, pitched the first six innings, scattering six hits and striking out four.
Garden City scored two runs in the first to open game two. Finley hit a two-out single to plate two runners and then scored on a wild pitch to give the Busters a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth, Garden City native Griff Brunson singled home the Busters’ fourth run with two out.
Barber singled on a pop fly to score Chris Lara and give his team a 5-0 lead.
Pratt finally got on the board in the fifth. Jack Partington got a one-out triple past a diving Barber in center field. Sean Johnson got him in with a two-base error on a ground ball past Brunson at shortstop, the third Busters’ error of the game.
A strikeout later, Landon Hulet singled to center to score Pratt’s second run, but Malachi Crone got his fifth strikeout of the game to stop the bleeding.
Barber, whose single in early in the game to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, came up in the sixth with runners at the corners and blasted a shot off the wall for a 2-run triple, his 24th RBI of the season.
The Beavers collected four straight singles in the sixth, chasing Crone, who scattered nine hits, giving up two earned runs and striking out five while walking none.
Andrew Sumner relieved Crone with two gone in the sixth and two runners on, and a fourth Garden City error played the fourth Pratt run but got Dylan Hamilton to fly to deep left to end the threat.
Brendan Anderson drove in two runs in the sixth with a single to put the Busters ahead 9-4.
Pratt was just 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.
Coach Chris Finnegan was happy to get the wins at home, but game two’s errors posed a bit of concern.
“Part of it is just expecting the baseball,” he said. “But sometimes when you expect every ball hit to you, sometimes that ball comes at you and you’re like, ‘what do I do?’ and you catch yourself and get caught up.”
It’s a part of the game, Finnegan said.
“It didn’t kill us. It hurt us but didn’t kill us,” he said. “We’re fortunate to get some big two-out RBIs in game two and found the sweep today.”
Garden City (20-12) will travel to Pratt (10-18) on Saturday to complete the series.
Pratt is a tough place to play, Finnegan said.
“Everybody in our conference knows that,” he said. “We just have to find a way to stay the course there. If we can keep doing what we’re doing, put some pressure on them, minimize our mistakes and maximize off theirs, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”