Garden City takes two from Independence

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Lacey Kearsley winds up to make a pitch to a Northwest Technical batter during a March game at Tangeman Sports Complex. Kearsley picked up two wins on Saturday at Independence.

Broncbusters in first place for Jayhawk West

INDEPENDENCE - It was almost a day of missed opportunities for Garden City Community College, stranding 14 runners while falling behind 3-0. But wise people understand that almost doesn't count, and for once, that was a good thing.

Nya Chacon and Carly Powley each went yard, Lacey Kearsley notched her eighth win of the season in the circle, and the Broncbusters rallied late for a 4-3 victory over Independence Sunday afternoon.

This was a day of near misses for Garden City, who went the first two innings without a single hit. And even after Tara Reid singled to start the third, the Broncbusters went in order after that. The fourth inning played out the same way.

Meantime, Independence broke a scoreless tie in their half of the fourth when Sarena Sanders smacked an RBI double. They made it 3-0 in the fifth on another RBI knock by Sanders and Jamie Burke's run-scoring base hit.

Chacon though changed all of that with one swing in the sixth.

Following singles by Elycia Johnson and Powley, Chacon pulverized Kenna Ferguson's fastball for a three-run homer to center that tied the game. That setup Powley's theatrics in the seventh, when the sophomore smashed a two-out solo bomb to give the Broncbusters the lead for good.

Independence did have a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, bringing the winning run to the plate with only one out. But Kearsley got Parker Moore to line out to second and Pair flied to right to end the game.

Kearsley struck out five in 2.2 innings of work, allowing just one hit for Garden City. Reid, who started the game, surrendered three runs on nine hits in 4.1 innings. Chacon finished 1-for-4 at the plate with three RBI and Johnson, Powley, Alexis Maestretti and Reid all collected two hits each.

Game 2

After sweating things out in their series opener with Independence on Sunday, the Broncbusters didn't take anything for granted in game two. And their approach gave Amy Schmeckpeper's first-place squad their third straight win.

McKayla Encinias mashed two home runs, Lacey Kearsley picked up her second win of the day, and Garden City topped the Pirates 10-2. The win gave Garden City a two-game lead over Colby for tops in the Jayhawk West.

And it was Encinias providing the early statement.

After fouling off six pitches to lead off the game, the sophomore finally got ahold of one, taking Brooke Vicory deep for a 1-0 advantage. In the second, Alexis Maestretti followed suit with a lead-off bomb, Nya Chacon singled home a run in the third, and Garden City was up 3-0.

The Pirates got a run back in the fourth on Parker Moore's run-scoring double. But the Broncbusters were quick to counter thanks to Arianna Griego, who used a little two-out magic in the fifth with a single to center to push Carly Powley across for a 4-1 lead. An inning later, Kearsley smoked a two-run triple to deep center, and Maestretti clubbed a hard infield single to give the Broncbusters a six-run edge. Maestretti eventually stole home, Encinias homered again in the seventh, and Garden City was up 10-1.  

Encinias finished 3-for-5 at the plate for Garden City, snapping a season-long three-game hitless streak. Chacon recorded her 20th multi-hit game of the season and has now hit safely in 29 out of 30 contests this season while the bottom four of the order: Maestretti, Reid, Griego and Micaela Mirabel combined to go 8-for-16 with three runs scored and three RBI.

Vicory took the loss for Independence, allowing 10 runs on 15 hits in seven innings. She labored for most of the day, tossing 136 pitches.