Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com) Coming into Tuesday’s conference opening doubleheader between Garden City and Great Bend experience was definitely on the side of the Buffaloes. They had played six games on the year, while Great Bend had not played any because of inclement weather.
The results did not bare themselves out as the Panthers swept both games 3-1 and 4-3. The losses drop Garden City to 3-5 overall, 0-2 in conference and 1-5 at home this year.
Game One Highlights
Eric Heiman started the game on the mound for the Buffaloes and encountered trouble in the first inning when Bryce Lytle provided a wind aided one out double to right and Payton Mauler tripled to right the throw from the cutoff to the bag at third went into the dugout giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
It took until the fifth inning for Garden City to get their first run of the day, squandering opportunities in both the 3rd and 4th including when Garden City loaded the bases in the 4th off Bryce Lytle only to have centerfielder Andrew Kreutzer popped out in foul ground to the catcher. The following inning Griff Brunson’s Sac-fly made it 2-1 Panthers.
Carson Scheeter took over in relief for Heiman and struggled allowing two singles back to back and then faking a pickoff throw to first while on the pitching rubber which is a balk and pushed across catcher Koy Brack with an insurance run to make it 3-1. After another single and a walk loaded the bases, Griff Brunson came on to end the inning on a 4-6-3 double play.
Lytle would work the 7th in getting the complete game win setting down the side in order. He worked seven innings and allowed one run on six hits, while Heiman of Garden City went six innings and allowed two runs, striking out nine including five of six at one point and walking one.
Game Two Highlights
Garden grabbed the lead early in game two off lefty Logan Perry when catcher Raymond Urrutia hit a wind aided flyball that drifted away from a driving Bryce Kaiser in center resulting in Griff Brunson to score the first run of the game.
The Buffaloes added two more with a Perry wild pitch and RBI single from Easton Lager.
Great Bend took the lead for good off Copper Thayer in the fifth scoring all their runs with two outs. Jesus Bujanda led off with a double and then was at third with two outs when Konnor Ireland the other runner at first instituted a double steal going for second. As the throw came through from Urrutia, Bujanda took home for the first run.
Lytle followed up with a single and advanced to second on the throw. The next batter Mauler added his fourth hit of the day in six t bats with a single to left tying up the game at 3-3. Cleanup batter Brayden Smith stoked a single to right center giving the Panthers the lead as Smith came through with his fourth hit in six at bats. The inning ended with Perry’s fly out to left.
Garden would only have two base runners from the fourth on including Heiman’s one out double in the fifth, but the Buffaloes just could not tie the game against Perry. Perry allowed all three runs over the first three innings and went the distance surrendering three runs and six hits, striking out eight and walking one.
Thayer worked well, but just like Heiman in game one lost the contest for Garden City giving up all his runs in the four run fifth allowing nine hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
GCCC Coach Bill Wilson’s comments
Garden City will be busy next week playing conference doubleheaders Tuesday in hosting Hays and a week from Friday at Dodge City.