Wichita, KS (westernkansasnews.com) Two unlikely heroes, a valiant effort from the pen and a terrific ending in their final at-bat all while facing elimination. This game had it all. The Garden City Community College Baseball Team (38-22) remains alive at the NJCAA Region VI Baseball Tournament beating Seward County 7-6 Sunday afternoon at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita. The loss ends the Saints season at 32-29. Garden City advances to play either Hutch or Johnson County Monday at 4pm.
What is even more remarkable about the win is Garden City won it only hours after suffering their first loss of the tournament 12-8 at the hands of Kansas City, Kan. The Broncbusters gave up the first run of the game on Kevin Connolly’s RBI double in the first off GCCC starting pitcher Dalton Shalberg. Saints starter Pete Macke did not last very long. He faced only three batters, walking the first two and hitting Rocky DeSantis. Garden City would face reliever Chris Juracek the rest of the inning and he would allowed two inherited runners to score. The Broncbuster led 2-1 after the first inning and did not even have a hit.
Shalberg would hold in there although in the third Seward slowly grabbed all the momentum. They retook the lead 3-2 on a two run single from third baseman Brandon Rix. The Saints opened up their biggest lead on Shalberg and the Broncbusters in the fifth on a RBI double from Reed Thompson and RBi single from Brent Williams. Shalberg would go another 1 1/3 innings before being relieved. He allowed six runs on 10 hits.
After giving up two in the fourth, Garden answered back with two runs in the bottom half of the fourth. Frankie Alvarez scored when Dalton Cook reached on an error from the shortstop Jake Fuller. Tyler Tucker’s infield single scored Jaxon Mohr.
Austin Aspegren (2-0) took over in the sixth from the Garden City bullpen and quickly became one of the heroes. His only mistake was a wild pitch the brought in Jake Fuller and gave Seward a 6-4 lead. Aspegren gave up just one hit over 3 2/3 innings. A total of three base runners reached against Aspegren, two of them on errors.
Garden City tied up the game 6-6 in the seventh inning off the Saints new reliever Bezio. Nolan Barrientos and Frankie Alvarez both reached on infield singles and after Jaxon Mohr was hit by a pitch and with the bases loaded second baseman C.J. Krainock broke his 1-6 slide in the tournament with a single to center, bringing in the tying runs.
The Broncbusters ended the game in the ninth off Saints reliever Adam Gauy. Gauy walked the leadoff batter Barrientos. Triffon Tatarin pinch ran and was bunted to second by Tyler Alitz. After Frankie Alvarez was hit by his bunted ball outside the batter’s box for the inning’s second out a wild pitch that move Tatarin to third gave GC the opportunity to end the game. Jaxon Mohr came up and promptly dumped a single into left fielder scoring Tatarin with the winning run. For a team the struggled so much with Seward earlier in the year losing three out of four in mid-March, Garden City was pleased with the way they turned the tables on Seward.
Coverage of Monday’s game begins at 3:45 on AM 1030 KBUF and westernkansasnews.com with the Taco Bell pre-game show. Garden City must win two games Monday to advance into the regional championship.