February 28, 2024

Slow Start; Buffs Baseball Swept by Junction City

Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com) The Garden City High School baseball team (8-13 in 2014) had high hopes after Coach Bill Wilson called it one of the most successful preseasons he had seen.  A little bit of youth was served on the mound Friday. 

One starter fared well in Colton Snodgrass while Jesse Ruiz did not make it past the third inning.  Junction City a 9-17 team that made state for the first time since 1999 in 2014 came up with the timely hits to sweep two games from the Buffaloes 5-3 and 9-6.

Game One Highlights

In the first game, Colton Snodgrass pitched well in making his first varsity start for Garden City.  He went six innings and gave up three earned runs and seven hits, while walking no one and striking out six.  Blue Jays left fielder Trae McDaniel connected on a two run homer to left as Junction City jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second.

One theme for the whole day was Garden City’s ability to come back after falling behind.  The unfortunate aspect was they were never able to get the lead.  Down 2-0 in the fourth inning of the first game, Buffaloes Centerfielder Marcus Zapata an all-conference selection from a year ago, singled home Garden City’s first run of the season. 

Blue Jay third baseman Charlie Peyla would add a RBI single off Snodgrass in the fifth as Junction City regained a two run lead 3-1.  Garden City would answer with a RBI double from Jacob Rivas in the sixth, but could not push him forward as the Buffaloes left the potential tying runner there. 

Finally in the seventh, Junction City broke through with two runs off Buffaloes closer Daven Acker. Peyla came through with his second RBI of the game on a triple to left center and pinch runner Xavier DeGuzman scored on Acker’s wild pitch.  Garden City would add a run in the seventh, but fell short 5-3.  The Buffaloes struggled offensively producing only three hits.

Game Two Highlights

In the second game, Garden City kept step for step with Junction City before allowing the big inning late.  Both teams went scoreless over the first two innings.  Junction City broke out on top with a two run third when shortstop Tim Bell doubled in a run and bases loaded walk to Amir McFarthing pushed across another run.  Garden City closed even on a two run inning off Blue Jays starter Tate Zimmerman which included a RBI double from leftfielder Jacob Rivas.

After Buffaloes starting pitcher Jesse Ruiz was knocked out of the game in the third.  Miguel Sanchez coughed off a run from the Buffaloes pen when Charlie Peyla notched his third RBI of the doubleheader hitting a ground rule double that bounced over the leftfield fence. 

Aggressive base running from Buffaloes catcher Addison DeHerrera pulled the game even at 3-3 in the fourth.  DeHerrera advance to second on a bunt from Griffin Brunson and moved on to third when no one covered the base.  Seeing DeHerrera advance to third, first baseman Nate Johnson threw wildly across the diamond and DeHerrera scored.

Junction City touched up Sanchez for two runs in the fifth, but Garden City was right there to hold serve in the bottom half of the inning.  Eric Heiman’s double scored Jacob Rivas.  Rivas advanced to third on a throwing error from Blue Jays pitcher Tate Zimmerman and scored on Zapata’s Sac-Fly to right.

Two throwing errors did in Garden City in the sixth and Junction City made three runs stick to pull ahead for good.  Tim Bell knocked in a run to give the Blue Jays the lead and Trae McDaniel followed with his own RBI double.  Both runs were charged to reliever Eric Heiman who took the loss in falling to 0-1. 

The Blue Jays added an insurance run in the seventh on Bell’s third RBI of the game when he singled off Acker.  The 9-5 lead was too much to overcome, although Garden scored one in the bottom of the seventh and left two others on base. 

Garden City is back at home next Friday to play Wichita Heights. 

GCHS Coach Bill Wilson’s Post-game Comments