Garden City Wind opens summer season

Brad Nading
Garden City Telegram
Garden City Wind second baseman Calvin Butler makes an off-balanced throw to beat a Salina Stockade runner to first base for an out Wednesday at Clint Lightner Field.  The Wind dropped the season opener in the ninth inning, 11-7.

After a season cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, local baseball fans packed Clint Lightner Field’s stands Wednesday as the Garden City Wind returned to the diamond. 

Although the team is filled with different players now, it was the first time since Aug. 6, 2019 that Garden City fans got to cheer the local team.

The Wind opens it season with a six-game series against the Salina Stockade. In the opener, Salina came out on top, 11-7, with a ninth inning rally.

Salina opened the game with two home runs, a solo shot by Caleb Rosario to start the game and Erique Batista collecting a 2-RBI  shot in the first three batters of the game.  The Stockade added two more runs in the fourth to take a 5-1 lead.  The Wind’s Alex Nielsen scored in the first.

Garden City Wind's Alex Nielsen connects with a Salina Stockade pitch for a double Wednesday in the season opener at Clint Lightner Field.

Garden City’s offense came to life in the bottom of the fourth though, as Manuel Blanco smashed a two-run home run to tie the score at 5-5.  Brendan Hostettler and Terry Daniels each scored later in the inning to give Garden City a 7-5 lead going into the fifth.

The Wind’s offense, however, was shut down for the rest of the game.

Salina’s Rosario crossed the plate in the sixth to pull the Stockade within one 7-6.

The Stockade mounted a comeback rally in the ninth, scoring five runs to eventually take the win.

Garden City had 10 hits in the game, while Salina had 14. Both teams were error-prone in the opener with the Wind having six and the Stockade three.

The teams faced off again Thursday night, with the game occurring after press deadline, and will play again Friday at 6:35 p.m., then continue through the weekend with Sunday’s doubleheader being played at Colby.

Salina   3; 0; 0; 2; 0; 1; 0; 0; 5; - 11

Garden City 1; 0; 0; 6; 0; 0; 0; 0; 0; - 7

2B - Garden City:  Alex Nielsen (1); Salina:  Devon Zieke (2), Christian Thorpe (1), Mario Alston (1). HR - Garden City:  Manuel Blanco (1); Salina:  Caleb Rosario (1), Enrique Batista (1).  SB - Garden City:  Preston Rackley (1), Manuel Batista (1), Calvin Butler (1), Carlos Cartaya Jr. )1); Salina - Christian Thorpe (1), Drake Ayala (1).