GCCC splits series with Miles

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Elycia Johnson runs to third base off a sacrafice grounder by Nya Chacon to advance her during a February game against Lamar at Tangeman Sports Complex.

Sometimes, mother nature can be just flat out brutal. Monday was one of those days.

Thanks to constant 40 mph winds, normal line drives became home runs, breaking balls became, well, acrobatic saves by catchers turned into hockey goalies, and singles turned into inside-the park home runs. The only thing missing was the rodeo clown, although what difference would that have made?

Olivia Cook hit three home runs and drove in eight, Kelealani Waiau went 5-for-7 at the plate, and Miles climbed out of a seven-run hole to beat Garden City 27-26 at Tangeman Sports Complex.

To say this game was crazy wouldn't do it justice. In fact, insane, outrageous and down-right absurd may be the only way to describe it. And it was almost a carbon copy of Sunday's opener, at least the start of it anyways.

The Pioneers scored six runs in the 1st smacking a pair of home runs including Cook's two-run job. But the Broncbusters weren't down for long, thanks to Nya Chacon, who is having as good a start to a season as any Garden City player in recent memory. The freshman absolutely unloaded on Kelealani Waiau's fastball in the bottom half of the first frame for a three-run homer to slice the deficit in half. After Miles added a run in the top of the 2nd, the Broncbusters flipped the game in the bottom half. They scored 11 runs on 10 hits and sent 16 players to the plate in a half inning that lasted almost an hour. It included a three-run, momentum-shifting long ball from Lacey Kearsley, who celebrated her birthday on Monday, and a two-run bomb off the bat of Elycia Johnson. When it was all said and done, Garden City turned a 6-0 hole into a 14-7 advantage.

But with the Southwest Kansas wind, no lead is safe. Such was the case on this day.

Cook homered again for Miles in the 3rd, fueling a four-running inning that pulled the Pioneers to within three, 14-11. A Lilnoe Nihi RBI single in the 4th, and Cook's run-scoring triple in the 5th, tied the game at 14.

Garden City responded in their half when Encinias went deep. Three batters later, Chacon clubbed a two-run shot, and Tara Reid followed with an RBI base hit, putting the Broncbusters in front 18-14.

But again, Miles answered, pulling to within one in the 6th when Taylor Woolley fit a ground ball past the glove of a diving Chacon at short. Then, in their half of the 7th, Kassidy Kinzie's bunt resulted in an RBI, Autumn Porter bounced into a fielder's choice that scored Raegan Harper, Cook left the yard again, and Waiau and Harper stroked a pair of RBI singles to put Miles up 24-18.

Game over. Well, not quite.

With two outs in the bottom of the 7th, Alexis Maestretti started the rally for Garden City with an RBI single to center. Micaela Mirabal walked with the bases loaded, McKenzie Moore doubled to the gap in right-center, and Encinias tripled home a pair to tie the game. But with the winning run 90 feet away, Johnson popped out harmlessly to short.

Miles then took the lead for good in the 8th. Kearsley held the ball too long on a bunt attempt by Tessa Della Silva, and Porter crushed a two-run homer to center to put the Pioneers in front 27-24.

The Broncbusters made thing interesting in the bottom half when Kearsley singled home a run and Reid pushed another across on a fielder's choice. But Maestretti struck out on a 1-2 changeup, and the game was over, almost four hours later.

Garden City lost despite slugging out a season-high 24 hits. Chacon was 4-for-6 with six RBI, and Kearsley was 5-for-6 with six driven in. But Head Coach, Amy Schmeckpeper had to use three different pitchers with the starter, Reid, surrendering 11 earned runs on 14 hits. Johnson allowed four runs on six hits, and Kearsley was tagged for 10 on seven knocks.

Game 2

Things definitely calmed down a lot in the series finale on Monday.

Alexis Maestretti mashed two home runs, Micaela Mirabal went deep as well, and Garden City avenged a wild 27-26 loss to Miles in game three by taking the finale 13-4 in a six-inning run-rule.

And for some reason, Amy Schmeckpeper's team thrives on adversity because for the fourth time in the series, the Broncbusters fell behind early.

Olivia Cook's three-run blast in the first put the Pioneers up 3-0. But that was short lived once Nya Chacon, who's been on an absolute tear to begin the year, drilled a two-run shot to tie the game in the bottom half. An inning later, Mirabel joined the party, crushing a leadoff homer off of Kelealani Waiau to put Garden City in front for good. Four batters later, Lacey Kearsley's line-out double play allowed Mckayla Encinias to score from third to make it 5-3. Then, in the third, after Tara Reid's double to center, Maestretti cranked a two-run jack for a 7-3 cushion.

Miles got a run back in the 4th on Tessa Silva's RBI single, but that's the last time the Pioneers threatened, and in the 5th, Garden City tacked on three more including McKenzie Moore's hot-shot triple to left and Chacon's free pass with the bases loaded. That was the prelude to the Broncbuster 6th when Maestretti ended the game with a three-run walk-off blast.

Maestretti drove in five runs for Garden City, which earned a series split. Chacon walked three times, and Reid finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Kearsley picked up the win in the circle, allowing three earned runs on six hits in six innings.

Garden City, now 5-7 overall, hosts Seward County at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Thursday at Tangeman Sports Complex.