GCCC softball splits in triangular

VERNON, Texas - Audrey Graf has been terrific to start the 2020 campaign. Saturday's opener was no exception.

The sophomore hit another double and drove in two runs, Kaylee Rogers had a three-hit day, and Garden City beat North Platte 11-7.

And the Broncbusters had to do it by coming from behind again.

The Plainsmen scored first in the top of the second when Sienna Pfaff doubled home a pair off of Rogers. They tacked on another run in the third on Jace Cundiff's sacrifice bunt.

But the Broncbusters got rolling in the bottom of the fourth. Rogers doubled to center, Kenzie Moore was hit by a pitch, and Elisabeth McGill ripped a two-run double to the gap in left. Vivian Lopez followed with an RBI triple, Gaby Hernandez and Graf powered run-scoring doubles, and Madison Biller and Rogers slapped RBI singles to make it 7-3.

Garden City added to their lead in the fifth. With two on and one out, Hernandez lofted a ball over center fielder, Megan Hernandez's head, bringing Lopez home. Graff added a sac fly, and Biller hit a shallow bloop into left to plate Hernandez, making it 10-3.

After North Platte scored a run in the top of the sixth, the Broncbusters answered in the bottom half with Ellie Walters run-scoring extra base-hit.

The Plainsmen managed to rally in the seventh, loading the bases on two singles and an error. That set the table for Alea Binkly, who pushed two runs across after hitting a sharp grounder that Walters misplayed at third. Three batters later, Brittany Bui singled to make it 11-7. But that's when reliever, Megan Walz, settled down, getting Hernandez to ground out to first to end the game.

Rogers picked up the win in the circle for Garden City, allowing just one earned run on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. She struck out three and walked one. Lopez went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI in the nine-hole, Hernandez collected two hits and drove in two, and Biller knocked in a pair as well.

If people aren't taking Vernon seriously this year, then that's a major mistake. After all, they have beaten Butler already. And on Saturday, they completed a sweep of the Broncbusters.

Trinity Castillo hit two jacks, Kyla Snow drove in three, and Vernon continued their early-season tear with a 14-2, five-inning run-rule victory over Garden City.

And this game was all about power.

Interestingly enough, it was the Broncbusters who struck first. Madison Biller's two-out RBI double in the first gave Garden City a brief 1-0 advantage. But the Chaparrals quickly answered in the home half when Snow singled one home and Alexis Hoang tripled off the wall to make it 2-1. Then in the second, Castillo pulverized Hill's fastball over the fence in left, Stonie Carrillo singled home one, and Snow blasted a two-run shot to put Vernon up 7-1.

But it was the fourth where the Chaparrals put the game on ice.

The home team scored seven runs, which included a pair of homers: a two-run shot by pinch-hitter Natalie Hester and a two-run bomb off the bat of Castillo, stretching the lead to 14-1.

Garden City starter, Taylor Hill, was roughed up for 14 runs on 15 hits in four innings. She gave up four home runs. The offense meantime managed just six hits.

Vernon slugged out 15 hits with everyone except Jaleigh Durst collecting at least one. Starter, Laynie Barstow, allowed just one earned run on six hits. She struck out three.

Garden City is in action at home on Wednesday at Tangeman Sports Complex with a doubleheader against Otero beginning at 1 p.m.