Broncbusters splits with Trinidad State

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Lacey Kearsley winds up to make a pitch to a Trinidad State batter Sunday at Tangeman Sports Complex.

There is one certainty above all else: February is not softball weather. Sunday's bitter cold definitely proved that. It also stymied Garden City Community College in their series opener.

Gianna De Luca-Paape drove in five runs including a grand slam, Trinidad State smashed four long balls, and the Trojans outlasted the Broncbusters 14-8 in game one at Tangeman Sports Complex.

Trinidad State wasted no time in putting a charge in the ball. In the top of the first, Bailey Griego crushed a run-scoring double to the gap in right-center before De Luca-Paape's RBI single made it 2-0.

The Broncbusters countered in a big way in the bottom half when Nya Chacon took Griego deep for a two-run shot that tied the game. But it was all Trojans from there.

In the second, Jayden Gandert doubled home a pair. An inning later, Gabriella Montoya drilled a solo homer to left, putting the road team up 5-2. The Trojans eventually stretched that to an eight-run cushion on De Luca-Paape's grand slam in the fourth, Sydney Stewart also jacked a two-run dinger in the fifth, and Trinidad State had a 13-2 advantage.

But facing the run rule in the bottom of the fifth, Garden City never crumbled. Elycia Johnson and Chacon provided RBI knocks, Carly Powley smacked a two-run homer, and the brown and gold was within six. Later in the frame, Lacey Kearsley came around when McKenzie Moore's hot shot was booted by Anna Palomar at third.

But that's as close as the Broncbusters got. Griego answered for Trinidad State with a homer in the sixth; then proceeded to shut down the Garden City offense, retiring the final six batters she faced.  

Griego picked up the win in the circle for the Trojans, giving up eight runs on nine hits in seven innings. Meantime, Kearsley struggled from the start for the Broncbusters, yielding 12 runs on 14 hits in 4 1/3. It was all part of a day that saw Trinidad State collect 20 hits and score in every inning but the seventh.

GAME 2

Sunday's opener did not go according to plan as Amy Schmeckpeper's team allowed four home runs. But in Sunday's finale, the Broncbusters got back on track thanks to some early offense.

Nya Chacon went 3-for-4 at the plate and drove in two, Carly Powley collected two RBI, and Garden City topped Trinidad State 8-7 in game two at Tangeman Sports Complex.

Schmeckpeper's starter, Tara Reid helped her own cause in the first, smacking a hot-shot single to center that scored Chacon from third. Two batters later, Alexis Maestretti ripped an RBI single, and Garden City was up 3-0.

Meantime, Reid did her best to keep Trinidad State off balance. She wiggled around a two-on-two-out jam in the first by striking out Jayden Gandert. Then in the second, she fanned two more after surrendering a leadoff double to Katie DeVille. But her fortunes turned a bit in the third when Powley misplayed a ball on the left side of the infield. Three batters later, Sydney Stewart singled home a run followed by DeVille's RBI base hit that pulled the Trojans to within two. An inning later, Trinidad State again had first-and-second with just one out, but Reid got out of it again with a pair of punchouts.

Reid's magic kept Garden City in front, and in the bottom of the fourth, Chacon delivered a little insurance with an RBI double to left. How fortuitous was that? Well, the next time the Trojans came to the plate, Gandert clubbed a solo shot to center to make it a one-run game again.

It stayed that way until the sixth, when the Broncbusters padded Reid's lead with McKayla Encinias's run-scoring triple and Chacon's RBI extra base hit. Powley sprinkled in an RBI single before a Trinidad State error allowed Garden City to stretch the lead to five.

But there were some anxious moments in the top of the seventh. The Trojans loaded the bases; then scored a run on an error by Maestretti in center. The next batter, Gabby Vaarela, doubled home two on a shot to right, which was followed by Sydney Stewart's RBI double that made it 8-7. But Reid finally settled down and froze Gandert with an 0-2 fastball to end the game.

Reid picked up her second win of the season giving up seven runs on 14 hits in seven innings for Garden City.

Garden City is back in action on Sunday when they host Miles C.C. for a doubleheader beginning at noon and 2 p.m. at Tangeman Sports Complex.