GCHS knocks off Liberal

GCHS Athletics

On a cold and blustery late March night, the Garden City Buffaloes baseball team found a way to produce the right combination for a key 7-4 Western Athletic Conference victory on the road at Liberal on Tuesday.

It might not have been the most cleanly-played game as the Buffs committed 3 errors, their three pitchers combined to issue 12 walks, yet their own 13 hits and seven stolen bases were enough to hand coach Justin Reich’s team its third straight win to begin the 2021 season.

The Buffs have little rest as they will be on the road again on Thursday, April 1, for a 4 p.m. doubleheader at Goodland.

“We were able to do enough good things to offset the not good things,” Reich said. “I think we’re still playing good defense as all 3 errors were things that don’t typically happen and we can fix those.”

Both teams produced single runs in the first and second innings for a 2-2 tie before Liberal took the lead with another single tally in the bottom of the third.

The Buffs, though, got three runs in their half of the fourth to go up 5-3 before Liberal scored its final run in the bottom of the fifth to narrow the lead to 5-4. Two more insurance runs were produced in the Buffs’ seventh.

Senior pitcher Peyton Walters pitched the first four innings to pick up his first victory of the season. He didn’t give up a hit, but with errors was tagged for 3 runs, 2 of which were earned. He struck out seven but walked eight.

“It was just really cold and windy and the conditions were tough for all the pitchers,” Reich said. “Micah (Perez) and Iziah (Salinas) did nice jobs coming in to relieve late in the game.”

Four Buffs’ batters had multi-hit games with Ricardo Almanza leading the way by going 3-for-3 with an RBI single in the second. Koby Acker was 2-for-4 with an RBI, Caleb Wiese 2-for-4 with an RBI, Walters went 1-for-3 with the only extra-base hit in the first with a double. Reid Hopkins was 1-for-2 with an RBI. Kaiden Luna also went 2-for-3.