Buffs softball suffers shutout loss to Dodge City

GCHS Athletics
Gadren City High School second baseman Jesykah Foster throws to first base for an out off a Great Bend grounder April 29 at Tangeman Sports Complex.

Nearly all spring season, the Garden City High School Buffaloes softball team had come up with game-winning efforts in nearly every game.

Until Thursday, May 6, the Buffs had lost just once, 5-4, in extra innings nearly a month earlier on April 13 at Hays. But Thursday was unlike any other game Coach Trina Moquett’s team had played this spring.

Following Tuesday’s key Western Athletic Conference doubleheader sweep of rival Dodge City (5-1 and 7-4), the Buffs traveled to Dodge City for a single WAC contest owning a two-game lead with two league tests left (the other will be May 13 at home against Hays).

This time on Dodge’s home field, the Buffs suffered one of the biggest setbacks in recent memory, dropping an 11-0, 5-inning, run-rule loss to the Red Demons while being no-hit by Dodge ace Raime Lopp, who had absorbed one of those Tuesday losses in Garden City.

The only base runners for the Buffs came when Gisselle Gutierrez and Brie Manwarren were hit by pitches from Lopp. Gutierrez was stranded at first in the second and Manwarren was erased on a double-play by Dodge in the fourth.

As good as the Buffs were on Tuesday when they swept the big DH from the Demons, it was Dodge’s turn on Thursday. They had 11 hits, including a pair of home runs from Brittany Lomas, one each issued by starting pitcher Manwarren and reliever Gutierrez. Those two blasts accounted for 6 runs, including a grand slam in the third. From an error, hit batters or walks, Dodge City used those to score 5 of the runs.

Manwarren, who suffered her first loss of the season after 12 wins. She pitched just 2.1 innings, giving up five hits, six runs while striking out three and walking two. Gutierrez came in to relieve her in the third, and yielded four hits, five runs while striking out 3 and walking 1.

The loss dropped the Buffs’ WAC record to 9-2 with just the Hays game remaining, and to win an outright league title will need to defeat the Lady Indians. They are now 13-2 overall. Dodge City, meanwhile, improved their season record to 6-3 in the WAC and 12-3 overall.

Additionally, the Buffs have a busy next seven days, playing Friday and Saturday at the Emporia Classic. They faced Wichita-Kapaun Mt. Carmel at Friday and then took on Blue Valley-Southwest on Saturday. The Demons have remaining games with Emporia and Andover Central in the same Emporia Classic, and then play a 3-game series with WAC foe Liberal, which is 0-7 in the league at the moment.

From here to the end of the regular season next week, all games are critical in the chase to be one of the top four seeds in Class 6A Western Region. Those top four seeds will host sub-states, and currently the Buffs are tied with Wichita Northwest and Topeka-Washburn Rural for the third slot with 2 losses each.

Unbeaten Topeka High (18-0) and defending 2019 state champion Lawrence-Free State (13-1) hold down the top two spots.

Next week, the Buffs host Thomas More Prep-Marian in a Tuesday doubleheader before hosting Hays in the critical game on Thursday at Tangeman Sports Complex. The home games will begin at 4 p.m.

Garden City 000 00 -- 0 0 1

Dodge City 126 2x -- 11 9 0

GC—Manwarren (L, 12-1), Gutierrez (3) and Anjie Serrano; DC—Lopp (W) and Miller. 2B-DC (Lopp, Landa). HR—DC (Lomas 2). LOB—Garden City 1, Dodge City 3.