Garden City, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–In a best-of-three series on Saturday, Garden City hosted Independence at Williams Stadium with a chance to make it to the Super Regionals. On a warm day, the Busters used the long ball in both games to propel them to a sweep of the Pirates 10-8 in game one and 9-5 in game two.
After taking down the Pirates in order in the top of the first, Garden City wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. Following a lead off triple by Tyler Tucker, Kaleb Zimmer hit a two-run home run over the left center field wall to lead 2-0 after the first inning. Independence struck back in the second, with a three-run bomb by John Kamies to give them a 3-2 lead. The Busters tied the game in the bottom half of the inning, on a sacrifice fly by Kadin Hydrick, which scored Francisco Alvarez. After a scoreless third inning, Garden City took the lead for good in the fourth inning, on an Alvarez two-run home run to make it a 5-3 game. Hydrick made his mark known in the bottom of the fifth inning to push the lead to 6-3. He would leave his mark once more in the game. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Hydrick hit a three-run double to give Garden City a 9-5 lead. Independence tacked on a run in the seventh and two in the eighth, before the Busters added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Tyler Clapper recorded four outs to get the save. JJ Benes gave up six runs on 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also struck out seven to pick up his eighth win of the season. Kadin Hydrick drove in five runs in the game, and had two hits in the game. Tyler Tucker, CJ Krainock and Francisco Alvarez had two hits each for Garden City. Tyler Hulse took the loss for Independence, allowing eight runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings pitched. Laramie Kirkwood had three hits and John Kamies drove in three runs for the Pirates, who outhit Garden City 12-10.
Independence scored three runs in the top of the first inning to begin game two. Whatever momentum the Pirates had early on, the Busters switched it in their favor. Rocky Desantis had a two-run home run in the bottom of the first to cut the lead to 3-2 after one inning. The floodgates would open for the Busters in the second inning. They sent 11 to the plate, and scored six runs on five hits to take an 8-3 lead. Independence tacked on a run in the fourth and sixth inning to cut it to 8-5. Garden City tacked on one more run in the seventh inning, and the Buster bullpen was able to shut the door on the Pirates, only allowing a hit in the final three innings, despite walking four and hitting a batter in those final three innings. Chris Bonk got the win, giving up five runs, four earned on eight hits with five strikeouts in six innings of work. Austin Aspegren froze pinch-hitter Bryce Walker for Independence on a full count to send the Busters to Wichita, and complete the sweep. Tyler Alitz drove in a run on three hits in game two for Garden City. Kaleb Zimmer collected two hits. Pirate starter Matt Wasche went only two innings, surrendering eight runs on eight hits with one strikeout. Matt Henning gave up only run run on two hits in the final six innings of work for the Pirates. Jacob Bryant had two RBI and two hits in game two.
Garden City improved to 36-21 on the season after the doubleheader sweep, while Independence ended their campaign at 23-30.
The Busters will play Coffeyville on Friday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita. First pitch has yet to be determined. The Red Ravens swept Barton on Saturday with wins of 8-2 and 11-1 (7). Also in the upper bracket, top seed Johnson County run-ruled Cloud County in seven innings in both games 14-4 and 13-3. They’ll face Kansas City, who defeated Colby in the winner take all Sunday 8-2.
In the lower half, Cowley swept Dodge City 8-7 (10) and 10-2, Butler defeated Fort Scott 12-1 (7) and 7-6, and Hutchinson swept Allen 3-0 and 4-1. The slight surprise of the weekend came in Chanute, where the defending Region VI Champions Neosho County were knocked out by Seward County in game three of the best of three series Sunday, with a 14-2 win in seven innings.