Garden City, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–Sunday’s game three of the best of three series between Garden City and Fort Scott turned out to be a complete opposite of what transpired Saturday. Both teams had an offensive outburst both games. For a majority of the game at Williams Stadium, it was a pitchers dual. In the end, the Busters bats proved to be too much, as they added plenty of insurance in the eighth with four runs to double up the Greyhounds 8-4 to advance to Friday’s 7 pm matchup with the Cowley Tigers at Lawrence Dumont Stadium in Wichita.
Garden City never trailed in the game, but they were tied and only for a half an inning. Sean Kennedy put the Busters on the board in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI sacrifice fly that scored Brooks Benson from third to give them the early 1-0 lead. In the third inning, Garden City tacked on two more runs, thanks to Sean Kennedy’s RBI single that scored Kyle Lopez from first, and on the next pitch, it was Conner Reynolds with an RBI triple that scored Kennedy from first to give the Busters the 3-0 lead. Fort Scott would not go down quietly. They countered with two runs in the fourth and one in the sixth to tie the game at three. In the fourth, the Greyhounds had four hits in the inning, capped off by a Mackay Williams RBI double that scored Jedd Andrade to cut the deficit to 3-2. The sixth inning saw Gabe Franklin collect a two out RBI double that scored Nick Banman to tie the game at three. However, the tie would be short lived. In the bottom half of the sixth, Garden City saw its sophomores take over. Redshirt sophomore CJ Krainock drove in Jesse Gonzales with a one-out RBI single to give the Busters a 4-3 lead. Needing some insurance runs in the eighth, Garden City padded their lead in a big way, with four runs on five hits. After Reynolds scored on a wild pitch, Krainock came up big again, picking up his second RBI single that scored pinch runner Billy Clark. Aeneas Roberson would drive in Krainock with an RBI double, and Benson singled in Roberson to push the lead to 8-3. Fort Scott had one final answerback, as pinch hitter Taylor Fajardo crushed a one-out home run over the left field wall to cut the deficit to 8-4. The Busters would get the final two outs of the game, sending them to the Region IX quarterfinal round for the first time since 2014.
Brendan Pietsmeyer pitched a solid game for Garden City for the final time in Williams Stadium. He went all nine innings to improve to 9-1, giving up four runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and 134 pitches. Sean Kennedy and CJ Krainock drove in two runs each, and Roberson, Reynolds, Gonzales and Krainock combined for eight of the Busters’ 12 hits in the game. For a second straight game, they played error free. Fort Scott’s Justin O’Laughlin went 5 1/3 innings on the hill, giving up four runs on seven hits with four strikeouts. Jacob Biller had two hits in the game, and four different Greyhounds drove in at least one run. Fajado’s home run in the ninth was the lone home run of the day.
Garden City improved to 43-15 on the year, and will face the Cowley Tigers on Friday at 7 pm. Cowley swept Butler 11-1, 15-0 on Saturday. Fort Scott finishes their year at 37-21. Fort Scott and Dodge City, two of the final three teams in the Region IX tournament last year, will not be making return trips. The Conquistadors, who were the defending Region IX champions, fell to Allen 14-9 on Sunday in the final game of the series. Hutchinson and Garden City are the only two teams from the Jayhawk West that made it to Wichita. The Blue Dragons erased an early nine-run deficit to win over Independence 16-14 on Sunday. The the three other matchups on Friday feature Kansas City Kansas and Hutchinson at 10 am, Neosho County taking on Allen at 1 pm, and Johnson County facing Coffeyille at 4.
Coach Chris Finnegan postgame