May 27, 2022

Out of luck; Seward takes first two from Busters

Final Highlights: GCCC vs. Seward

Liberal, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-During the 70 minute bus-ride home, Garden City skipper Chris Finnegan kept gnawing on what could have been. The end result: His team dropping the first two games of a pivotal conference series. 

Dominating performances by hurlers JB Olson (4-1) and Austin King (4-0) propelled Seward County to a Saturday-afternoon sweep at Brent Gould Field 3-2 and 4-2. 

“It’s a tough way to lose,” Finnegan said afterwards. “We were right there in both games.”

The difference was definitely pitching, and while JJ Bennes and Jake Eikleberry had nice days for Garden City (12-11, 5-5), they couldn’t keep up with the nasty stuff of their counterparts. 

In game two, King was filthy; fanning nine hitters including the first five Busters. He was one out away from a complete game until Head Coach Galen McSpadden pulled him in the top of the ninth following Kaleb Zimmer’s infield single. It only took Adam Guay two pitches to record his first save and complete the matinee twin killing. 

“We fought back after trailing early to tie the game up,” Finnegan said. “Then we give it right back to them.”

Seward County (16-10, 7-3) jumped out to a 2-0 lead-scoring a run in the second on Brandon Uriquizo’s RBI fielder’s choice and a run in the fourth on Mason Marshall’s single to left-center that plated Kevin Connolly. 

Finally, after having problems figuring out McSpadden’s powerful southpaw, the Busters found a chink in the armor in the sixth. Three straight, one-out hits including Rocky Desantis’s RBI double pushed the first run across for the Busters. The next hitter Cale Dineen  tied it with a safety squeeze; pushed perfectly towards the right side-scoring Tyler Allitz. 

But Eikleberry couldn’t hold serve in the bottom half of the inning, giving up a two-run double to Marshall. When Brent Williams and Connolly, who slapped two triples in the game, crossed home plate, Seward County had taken a 4-2 lead.

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From there King retired eight out of the next nine Buster hitters before giving way to Guay in the ninth.

In the first game, it was the Busters who struck early. Tyler Tucker, who was 0-for-his previous 14 at the dish, took the first pitch of the afternoon off of Olson and sent it over the right-center field fence. It was the freshman’s first home run of the year.

But two errors in the bottom half of the inning gave it right back. Jordan Leinweber’s RBI single compounded by Allit’s fielding error at short gave the Saints a 2-1 advantage. 

Garden City tied the game in the top of the fifth when Rocky Desantis pulled a run-scoring single into right field. Leinweber’s throw got away from the cutoff man allowing the sophomore to swipe second. With the go-ahead run in scoring position, Dineen, who finished the afternoon just 1-for-6, struck out on four pitches ending the threat. 

Like a carbon copy of game two, Seward struck back just a half inning later, grabbing the lead for good when the Busters failed to turn two on a Leinweber ground ball allowing Reed Thompson to trot home from third. 

“Until we can execute on a consistent level-nothing will change,” Finnegan said. “We need to change our mentality.”

Next up: Garden City at Seward-Monday, March 17-2:45 Dugout show on westernkansasnews.com/gccc-sports-streaming (Mike Pilosof)

Box Scores: gccc vs. seward game 1 | gccc vs. seward game 2

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