The Garden City High School diamond teams both throw out the first pitch on their postseasons on Thursday in eastern Kansas.
The Buffaloes softball team heads to Topeka High School’s Hummer Park for their four-team regional, which begins at 3 p.m. Thursday, and the baseball team heads to Lawrence High School for their four-team regional, which begins at 2 p.m. Thursday.
The Buffs (13-3) enter their region tournament as the fifth seed and faces 12th-seeded Wichita South (5-13) in the 3 p.m. opener.
In the other semifinal, host Topeka High (14-3) takes on 13th-seeded Junction City (4-12) at 4:30 p.m. The winners of those two games will face-off in the 6 p.m. regional final, with a state berth on the line.
Garden City’s offense is led by hitter/pitcher duo of Yazmin Vargas, who is hitting .456 with a .551 on-base percentage, 24 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, and Hailey Dart, who is hitting .432 with a .559 OBP and 21 RBIs.
In the circle, Dart is 6-1 with a 1.72 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 44 ⅔ innings pitched. Vargas is 4-2 and a 2.05 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Providing some more offensive pop is catcher Erykah Foster (22 RBIs) and first baseman Taylor Terpstra (17 RBIs).
The Buffs’ likely opponent in the region final is Topeka, which is led by sophomore Zoe Caryl (.662 avg) and senior Taryn Benning (.605). Freshman pitcher Nijaree Canady has been dominant in the circle, going 10-3 with a 0.37 ERA in 74 innings pitched.
The Buffs (11-9) enter as the 11th seed and faces sixth-seeded Topeka Washburn-Rural (11-5) at 2 p.m. Thursday in the region opener. In the other semifinal, third-seed Lawrence (14-4) faces 14th-seed Wichita North (7-11).
The winner of those two games will face off at 5 p.m. Thursday in the region final with a state berth on the line.
Garden City’s offense is led by senior Easton Lager, who is hitting .525 with a .600 on-base percentage. Auston Waetzig is hitting .500 with 13 RBIs and 23 runs scored.
On the mound, Elier Arreola is 2-4 with a 3.53 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 35 ⅔ innings. Cooper Thayer is 4-2 with a 5.07 ERA.
In relief mostly this season, Aaron Urrutia has been brilliant, recording a 2.75 ERA in 20 ⅓ innings of work.