Buffaloes split with Panthers on diamond

GCHS Athletics
Garden City High School's Kaiden Luna winds up to make a pitch to a Great Bend batter Friday at Clint Lightner Field.

After escaping with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Great Bend in Friday’s Western Athletic Conference doubleheader at Clint Lightner Field, the Garden City Buffaloes couldn’t sustain the momentum into Game 2, falling 6-3 to the Panthers.

The twinbill split left the Buffs with a season mark of 7-3 and they are now 3-3 in the WAC. Great Bend falls to 4-6 overall and 3-3 in the conference. The Buffs will return to action on Tuesday, April 27, with a 6 p.m. single WAC game at rival Dodge City.

The Buffs’ winning run came in the bottom of the sixth to break a 2-2 deadlock when Jesse Baltazar singled to center and then advanced to second base on an error by Great Bend’s pitcher. With one out, Baltazar then reached third on a wild pitch.

The Buffs got the winning run to home plate with two out in their half of the sixth and then Caleb Metzen, who got the win for the Buffs, retired the Panthers 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh to preserve the victory.

The opening inning had started with Great Bend scoring one run. That was followed by a single tally from the Buffs, who got a single from Peyton Walters, Koby Acker reached on an infield bunt, with Walters moving to second. Baltazar walked to load the bases and then Walters scored when Ricardo Almanza was issued a walk. But Micah Perez flied out to end what could have been a much bigger inning.

The teams once again traded runs in the fifth inning, with the Buffs scoring theirs on a triple by Almanza before Metzen delivered an RBI sacrifice fly to right, scoring Almanza. That set the stage for the Buffs’ winning sixth-inning production.

In Game 2 with Walters on the mound for the Buffs, the Panthers struck early with two runs in the top of the first. The visitors tacked on a single run in the second before the Buffs got on the board in their half of the second.

Metzen singled to center, and then moved to second on a walk to Baltazar. Those two runners advanced to third and second on a sacrifice by Koby Acker. Metzen was able to race home on a passed ball.

Before the Buffs could score their second and final run, Great Bend had added two runs in the fourth and a single tally in the fifth for a 6-1 lead. The Buffs’ final runs came when Almanza doubled to left center to drive in Caleb Wiese, who had singled, and then Almanza eventually scored on two passed balls.

Walters, who pitched the first three innings before leaving the mound, suffered the loss. He had thrown 72 pitches in his official pitch count. Wiese went 2-for-3 to lead the limited hitting attack.

Game 1

Great Bend 100 010 0 -- 2 6 2

Garden City 010 011 x -- 3 5 3

GB—L. Holden (L), E. Chavez (6) and B. Beck; GC—M Perez, K. Luna (4), C. Metzen (W, 6) and Acker. 2B—GB (Poe, Hernandez). 3B—GC (Almanza). LOB—GB 8, GC 8.

Game 2

Great Bend 210 210 0 -- 6 5 0

Garden City 010 020 0 -- 3 6 2

GB—Hernandez, E. Chavez (5) and B. Beck. GC—Walters, Salinas(4) and Acker. 2B-GC (Almanza). LOB—GB 9, GC 7.