Garden City, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–For the second straight year, the Garden City Lady Buffalo softball team would face the Hutchinson Lady Salthawks with a state tournament berth on the line. The Lady Buffs got the win in 2014. Unfortunately on Thursday at Tangeman Sports Complex, it was the Salthawks who took the win, as they scored six runs in the final three innings to double up Garden City 6-3 in the Regional Championship. Hutchinson also defeated Wichita South 14-1 in 4 1/2 innings.
Garden City’s day got started quickly. In their first game of the day, the Lady Buffs batted around in the first inning, and led 3-0 against Wichita East (2-19). Their second inning definitely put the game away for good. In that inning, the Lady Buffs sent 18 batters to the plate, scoring 15 runs on 12 hits to lead 18-0 after two innings. Garden City hit for the cycle, which included three home runs and three triples. Dusti Befort retired the Lady Aces in order in the third to complete the perfect game in only three innings. Befort struck out six of the nine batters she faced. Abbie Dart scored three runs while driving in five, while Shia Cartmill and Jordan Terrones drove in three runs apiece.
The finale saw a bulk of the runs scored with two outs. Garden City scored first when Dusti Befort singled in Abbie Dart to make it 1-0 after the first inning. Befort would make it 2-0 in the fourth inning on solo shot. Dart had a no-hitter going for the first 4 2/3 in the circle, when Kacia Hilty hit a solo bomb over the center field wall to cut the Lady Buffalo lead to 2-1. Hutchinson would tilt the momentum strongly in their favor in the final two innings, scoring three runs in the sixth, with two of them coming on two-out Buffalo errors to take a 4-2 lead. Befort once again would knock out a solo home run to cut the Salthawk lead to 4-3. In the seventh inning, Alison Pierce would add some insurance for Hutchinson with a two-out, two-run home run to make it 6-3. Garden City would hit into two double plays in the final two innings, as the Salthawks punched their ticket to the Class 6A State Tournament in Lawrence next Thursday and Friday. The Lady Buffs outhit Hutchinson 6-4, but three errors in the final two innings proved to be costly. Hilty picked up the win, while Dart took the loss, as both pitchers went all seven innings.
Garden City ends their year at 16-6, while Hutchinson improved to 16-6.
Coach Trina Moquett Postgame