June 20, 2024

Buster Baseball takes three from Cloud County

Garden City, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–Coming into the weekend, the Garden City Baseball team was riding on a three-game losing skid, with two of the losses against powerhouse Iowa Western Tuesday and Wednesday. In a weekend that saw late April like weather, the Busters stayed towards the top of the Jayhawk West standings, by taking three out of four from the Cloud County Thunderbirds at Williams Stadium.

The series started off with an 8-3 win over the Thunderbirds Saturday afternoon to start off the weekend on the right foot. Garden City got two solo home runs from Brooks Benson, as the Busters led 4-0 after three innings. Cloud County rallied with three runs in the fifth inning to pull to within one, but Garden City would rally for four runs in the sixth to put the game away. JJ Benes got the win, as he struck out nine batters in five innings pitch, despite surrendering three runs on nine hits. 

Game two on Saturday saw another win for the Busters, as they scored a run in the first, third and led 6-1 after five innings. In the fifth inning, Cooper Bowermaster highlighted the Garden City scoring, but blasting a three-run home run. Cloud County took advantage of four Buster errors, and scored four in the top of the seventh to pull to within 6-5. The Buster bullpen came carried Garden City to the one-run win at 6-5, as Marcus McKinney picked up his fifth save of the season. Dalton Shalberg gave up five runs, three earned in 6 2/3 innings, on seven hits and struck out seven.

Sunday’s first game was tough for Garden City, who never led in the game against Cloud County. The Thunderbirds scored three runs in the first inning, en route to their 8-5 win. Frankie Alvarez dropped in a solo home run over the left field wall in the bottom of the first to pull to within 3-1. After Cloud County took a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the third inning, the Busters rallied for three runs, and pulled to within 5-4, and that would be the closest they would get the rest of the game. The Thunderbirds took advantage of three Buster errors in the game, and plated two runs in the sixth to secure a win in the four-game series 8-5. Tony Yacovetta took the loss, giving up six runs, five earned, on four hits with seven strikeouts in five innings of work. 

Garden City would take the final game of the four-game series, blasting 13 hits in a 16-6 walk-off win in eight innings over Cloud County. Frankie Alvarez hit his second lead-off home run of the day in the bottom of the first, as this time, his second home run of the day cleared the right field wall. After the Thunderbirds tied the game up at three in the third inning, the Busters blew the game wide open, scoring four runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and took a 13-3 lead after six innings. Brennan Cascio knocked in a two-run home run in the sixth inning, and Mason Brown drove in four runs, including a two-run double in the eighth inning to end the game. Noah Draper picked up the win, giving up three runs, one earned on five hits, and struck out seven in five innings of work.

After the weekend, Garden City is 20-9 overall, and 11-5 in conference play, while Cloud County is 9-20 overall, and 5-11 in conference play.

Coach Chris Finnegan Postgame

Garden City will have a home and  home on Tuesday and Wednesday, traveling to Frank Phillips on Tuesday, and hosting them on Wednesday, then will have a showdown in a four-game series on Saturday and Sunday in El Dorado against Jayhawk West Conference leader Butler.