Road-weary GCHS softball goes 1-1 at Emporia

GCHS Athletics
Garden City High School's Brie Manwarren winds up to make a pitch in a game earlier this season at Tangeman Sports Complex.

Saturday’s 5-0 loss to Blue Valley-Southwest brought an end to one of the toughest stretches of the 2021 season for the Garden City High School softball team.

The Buffs were playing their second game in less than 24 hours at the Emporia Classic, and had just come off another highly-charged, heart-stopping 10-9, 10-inning win on Friday night against Wichita-Kapaun Mt. Carmel.

Like most of their games in the previous 10 days, the KMC victory was a roller-coaster, highly-emotional contest. The Crusaders took a 2-0 lead in the first before the Buffs scored once in the fifth. In the seventh, Kapaun exploded for 5 runs to go up 7-1 and seemingly having the game in hand.

But this Buffs’ team, as it has done numerous times this season, refused to fold. They pushed across six runs in the bottom of the seventh to knot the score at 7-all and send it to extra innings. The big hits came on consecutive triples from Mya Cruz (bases-loaded 3 RBI’s) and Kamryn Foster (scoring Cruz from third).

Neither team scored in the eighth or ninth innings, sending it to the 10th when Kapaun scored twice to again be in position to put the game away. Back came the Lady Buffs, though, getting three runs including the game-winner with one out when Angel Serrano drew a 1-out, bases-loaded walk.

Earlier in the 10th, Abby Parr had a lead-off single, with walks being issued to Brie Manwarren and Rilee McGraw before Gutierrez delivered a run-scoring single. Cruz also walked to push a run across home to tie the game at 9 before Angel Serrano walked on a 3-1 pitch count.

“It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for sure,” Moquett said of the number of one-run, extra-inning battles they’ve found themselves in time and again. “These girls love to have the pressure to be their best.”

If that wasn’t enough, the Buffs had gone on the road Thursday for their final game of a 3-game home-and-home series with rival Dodge City and had been dealt an 11-0 shutout against the Demons. But keep in mind that on Tuesday, in what had proved to be the pivotal games of the Western Athletic Conference race, the Buffs had beaten Dodge City at home on Tuesday, winning with come-from-behind scores of 5-1 and 7-4 to take a 2-game advantage in the WAC standings. They hold a one-game lead going into the final week of the regular season.

“Blue Valley’s record is good, and they also have lost to state contending teams, so it was good to see this level of competition which will help us for the postseason,” Moquett said. “Kapaun was not an easy team, either. Their defense was solid with some good hitters. The two days of playing that level of competition will be good for us.”

In the Kapaun victory, the Lady Buffs pounded out 14 hits, with Parr, Kamryn Foster and Anjie Serrano each getting two hits. Cruz had 4 RBIs and five other batters had 1 RBI each. But the bats were pretty much silent in the Blue Valley game on Saturday, which was a late morning scheduled start. The 3 hits came from Parr, Yesenia Castro and Gutierrez.

All that remains of the regular season is a Tuesday scheduled home doubleheader (weather permitting) against Thomas More Prep-Marian that begins at 4 p.m. at Tangeman Sports Complex, and then a single WAC home game against Hays High on Thursday at 4 p.m. The Lady Buffs, 14-3, had lost early in the season at Hays High in a WAC doubleheader. This season, all WAC schools play each other 3 league games. The Buffs are 9-2 while Dodge City is 6-3 with three WAC games left with Liberal this next week.

Emporia Classic

Friday, May 7

Wichita-Kapaun Mt. Carmel 200 000 500 2 -- 9 12 2

Garden City 000 010 600 3 -- 10 14 3

KMC—Chapman, Wolgamuth (7), Nguyen (L, 10) and Briggs; GC—Manwarren (W) and Anjie Serrano. 2B—GC (McGraw). 3B—KMC (Hunt, Wilber), GC (Angel Serrano, Cruz). LOB—KMC 11, GC 10.

Saturday, May 8

Garden City 000 000 0 -- 0 3 4

Blue Valley-Southwest 002 030 x -- 5 8 0

GC—Manwarren (L), Gutierrez (5) and Anjie Serrano; BVSW—Brickman (W) and Woodard. 2B—BVSW (Baber, Renzi). LOB—GC 3, BVSW 9.