October 7, 2022

Alvarez Shines; Broncbusters Only Take One in Dodge City


Dodge City, KS (westernkansasnews.com) It was one of the best weekends Broncbuster baseball fans can remember from one player.  The only problem is Garden City still lost three out of four games in Dodge City and are struggling to keep their head above water for fourth place to host a first round series in the region VI tournament.

Dodge City won Sunday’s first game 9-8 after nearly blowing a six run lead.  Garden City fought back to win the finale 4-2 behind the power pitching of sophomore Tony Yacovetta (win, 3-2).  

Game One Highlights

Frankie Alvarez fresh off a two homer performance in Saturday’s game two, started up Sunday’s first game with a homer.  That sparked a two run inning which feature a RBI double from Kyle Lopez off undefeated Russell Mithlo (5-0). 

Dodge City always seemed to have an answer this weekend scoring in each inning but their final at-bat in the sixth.  Down 2-1 in the bottom of the second, Johnny Balsamo singled in Hayden Simmons to tie the game at 2-2 off Garden City starter Dalton Shalberg.

The fourth and fifth innings did in the Broncbusters.  Conquistador first baseman Ricky Trammell fresh off a grand slam against GCCC J.J. Benes in game one of the series brought in three runs on a double to stretch Dodge City’s lead to 6-2.  The Conquistadors added three more runs in the fifth inning on a RBI single from second baseman Frankie Valle and two run homer by Leno Ramirez, his second homer of the weekend and ninth of the year.

Down 9-2 Garden City fought back in the sixth scoring four times.  Mithlo, who survived earlier troubled walked Alvarez with the bases loaded.  Ted Ramirez followed with a two run single and Mason Brown a RBI base hit making it 9-7 Dodge City.  Conquistador reliever Matthew Perea forced the Broncbusters to leave the tying runs in scoring position when Kyle Lopez grounded out to second.

Garden had another opportunity in the seven.  Cooper Bowermaster reached on shortstop’s Colbey Madewell’s fielding error.  Tyler Mohr followed with a single and Brennand Cascio added a RBI single, making it 9-8.  After Alvarez walked to load the bases, Ted Ramirez lined to center and with Cascio too far off second was doubled up to end the game. 

Game Two Highlights

The final game of the series turned into a pitchers duel between Garden City’s Tony Yacovetta and Dodge’s Andrew Riddell of Australia.  The Broncbusters struck first with Mason Brown’s Sac-Fly bringing in Frankie Alvarez for 1-0 lead.   After Dodge City tied it up in the bottom of the first, Alvarez worked his magic again with a two run single giving the Broncbusters a 3-1 lead.

Unlike two of the three other games in the series where the Broncbusters had the lead and could not hold it, this time Garden City finished the job.  It was not without some drama. 

Dodge City third baseman Leno Ramirez homered in the third inning with two outs.  The solo blast was his third homer of the series and gave him his 10th of the year.  Yacovetta settled down and pitched deep into the seventh inning, but was relieved with two outs following a walk to shortstop Colbey Madewell.  With runners at first and third Jason Nichols pinch hit for the Conquistadors, but could not bring in the tying run from third as Garden City reliever Stephen Pagendarm induced a groundout to second.

Garden lived on the edge in the eighth inning too.  Johnny Balsamo doubled to right center to lead off the inning.  Frankie Valle struck out and Leno Ramirez walked.  Josh Williams flied out.  Pagendarm ended the inning when Jordan Doan hit a sinking line drive to left that was caught by a diving Patrick Mixon.

Dodge City had one more opportunity in the bottom of the ninth trailing 4-2.  Without the league’s leading closer Marcus McKinney available because of a sore arm, Michael Dzjurgot attempted to get his first save.  The first two batters were retired in order, but Colbey Madewell followed with a single, Josh Fields singled off the base umpire, Madewell was allowed to reach third on a dead ball and Balsamo was hit by a pitch. 

Phillip Muldrow came in to close it out against Frankie Valle.  Leno Ramirez who hit a grand slam off Muldrow in Saturday’s second game was in the on deck circle waiting to get another chance at the right handed reliever.  Thankfully for Garden City it did not go that far as Muldrow struck out Valle and Garden City escaped with a 4-2 win.

Dodge City left nine men on base, but seven of those runners were stranded over the final three innings. 

It was a weekend to remember for four position players.  Broncbuster catcher Frankie Alvarez homered four times and had back to back two homer games giving him eleven for the season.  At one point in the series he reached base eight straight times.  Alvarez finished with 10 RBI during the four game set.

Three Conquistadors led the charge to help Dodge City take three of the four games.  Third baseman Leno Ramirez went 7 -13, three homers including a grand slam and had 10 RBI.  Centerfielder Johnny Balsamo went 10-14 with 9 runs, 5 RBI, homer and three stolen bases.  First baseman Ricky Trammell homered and went 5-14 (5-10 through first three games) with three runs and 8 RBI.

GCCC Coach Chris Finnegan

Meanwhile, Garden City is looking to turn their recent slide around having lost eleven of their last 15 overall and eight of their last 12 in conference.  The Broncbusters play a doubleheader at Bethany JV on Tuesday before going to MCC-Longview Friday and Saturday for a four game series.  

Dodge City is in a three way tie for first with a 29-13 overall record and 15-9 in conference.  Joining the Conquistadors atop the division standings are Seward County and Butler County.  Garden City is two games out of first in a three way tie for fourth place with Hutchinson and Barton County.  Hutchinson will play the final weekend of the conference year at Garden City on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26.