April 19, 2024

Dodge City Stuns Garden in First Two of Weekend Series

Dodge City, KS (westernkansasnews.com) Mama said there would be days like this.  Last year, it was Garden City that used a four game sweep of Dodge City to propel them to a second place finish in the Jayhawk West and 2-2 record at the Region VI Junior College tournament in Wichita.  This year the tables are turning. 

Dodge City had split their last eight doubleheaders until yesterday’s sweep of Garden City winning 11-0 in a run ruled shortened five innings and 14-10 in game two.  The doubleheader sweep puts Dodge City in a first place tie with Butler while Garden City falls to fifth place, two games behind.

Game One Highlights

JJ Benes (Lost, 6-2) started game one for the Broncbusters looking for his seventh win of the year against Conquistadors’ righthander Luke Crabbe (Win, 5-2). 

Benes allowed a first inning unearned run when shortstop Brennan Cascio failed to field a little flare ball in front of the second base bag that scored Johnny Balsamo.  Garden was able to get a leadoff double in the second from Mason Brown.  He was left stranded there.  Little did Broncbuster fans realize that would be Garden City’s only hit of the game.

Dodge started using the power of the long ball in the third inning.  Benes tried to keep sharp after a 35 minute lightning delay halted the game in the top of the third.  Playing at Cavalier Field with a short distance to the power gaps, the Conquistadors took advantage of playing on their home field.

Johnny Balsamo added a solo blast homer in the third to give Dodge a 2-0 lead.  After the next two batters reached base, Josh Williams powered out his fifth homer of the year.  The three run blast made it 5-0 Conquistadors. 

What was shocking is Benes had only given up three homers coming into the game and two of those came against Butler.  He would serve up three before this day was over. The biggest homer  came in the fourth.  Dodge City already building on the two run single from Leno Ramirez would add four more runs on first baseman’s Ricky Trammell’s grand slam.  For Trammell it was his first homer of the year.  Benes had his worst outing of the year giving up 11 run, 10 earned on three homers and 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings.

Conquistador starting pitcher Crabbe went five innings for his fourth complete game and the team’s eighth, shutting out Garden City for the first time all year.  Crabbe walked two and struck out eight.  Only four Broncbusters reached against Crabbe in game one.

Game Two Highlights

At least Garden City scored early in game two tying up the game at 1-1 on Easton Palmer’s RBI single bringing in Brooks Benson.  Layne Downing was on the hill for Dodge City looking to improve his record to 4-0.  Downing struggled early, but he stayed in long enough to go deep into the sixth.

Garden was able to surge ahead over the next two innings.  Mason Brown connected on his second homer of the year to left that hit scoreboard giving Garden City a 3-1 lead.  Frankie Alvarez added his eighth homer of the year in the fourth to make it 4-1 Broncbusters. 

Brendan Peitsmeyer could not take advantage of the early offense in his bid to improve on a 4-2 record.  Two errors combined with five hits in the bottom of the fourth gave Dodge City a 5-4.  Three of the five hits never left the infield .  

The Broncbuster offense was not the problem in game two.  Garden City pounded out 17 hits in the loss.  Shortstop Brennan Cascio had his first hit of the series in the sixth to tie the game at 5-5 on a single that brought in Patrick Mixon. 

The tight game led to a lot of late inning dramatics.  Dodge retook the lead in the seventh off Garden City reliever Noah Draper.  Jordan Doan smashed a single past the third baseman Ted Ramirez bringing in Leno Ramirez with the go ahead run.  Stephen Pagendarm kept the game at 6-5 by retiring the next three batters in a row forcing Dodge to leave two insurance runners on base.

In the eighth,  Conquistador reliever Austin Hammer gave up back to back singles to Patrick Mixon and Brooks Benson.  Tyler Mohr was hit by a pitch on a bunt attempt.  Dodge Head Coach Phil Stephenson said Mohr did not pull his bat back which would have resulted in a strike.  The umpires disagreed and let Mohr take first.  After Cascio’s strikeout, Alvarez hit a grand slam to right giving Garden City a 9-6 lead.  For Alvarez it was his first two homer game of the year.  Alvarez also concluded a three homer week.  He homered in Wednesday’s 4-3 loss at Lamar.

Garden City was riding a wave of momentum. That is until they encountered a bigger wave.  Phillip Muldrow started the eighth in relief and it started out badly with a fielding error on a bobbled roller to first by Cooper Bowermaster.  Balsamo walked and Frankie Valle added an infield single loading the bases.  That brought up Leno Ramirez. The Conquistador’s leading home run hitter did not disappoint Dodge City fans smacking a long fly to deep right for a Grand Slam to give the Conquistadors a 10-9 lead. It was also the second straight game Garden allowed a grand slam to Dodge.

Closer Marcus McKinney was brought and he struggled with his control.  Two walks and two wild pitches later set up Coleby Madewell’s RBI groundout and Johnny Balsamo’s two run single buried Garden City with an eight run bottom of the eighth.  At the end of the inning Dodge City held a 14-9. 

Garden attempted a comeback in the top of the ninth singling three times, all with two outs and scoring one on Tyler Mohr’s single to right bringing in Mixon.  Cascio ended the game hitting into a fielder’s choice and reliever Cory Royer battled through a rough ninth to improve his record to 3-1.  Muldrow suffered the loss in relief for Garden City dropping his record to 0-2.

Garden City (24-19, 14-12) has lost 10 of their last 13 and seven of their last 10 in conference. Dodge City improved to (28-12, 14-8).  Anticipated pitching matchups for Sunday’s doubleheader include Tony Yacovetta (2-2, 4.37) and Dalton Shalberg (2-4, 5.45) for Garden City going up against Russell Mithlo (5-0, 1.70) and Australian Andrew Riddell (4-2, 5.75) for Dodge City.  Pre-game coverage begins at 12:45 on westernkansasnews.com.  First pitch is at 1:05.