June 12, 2024

GCCC Lets Late Lead Slip Away at Pratt; Splits Both Games

Pratt, KS (westernkansasnews.com) The Pratt Beavers coming into Sunday’s doubleheader with Garden City were the best stolen base team in the Jayhawk and the 17th best in the nation.  While Garden limited them to one stolen bag on the day, Pratt used the longball instead going deep four times and earning a split with Garden City. 

The Broncbusters took the first game 6-3, but could not hold on in game two losing a one run lead in the ninth as the Beavers came back to win 7-6.  

Game One Highlights

In game one, Ryder Yakel (5-3) dominated for a full five innings and finished one out short of his fourth complete game.  The Broncbuster offense supported Yakel with a 5-0 lead through five. 

Garden scored three runs off Pratt starting pitcher Nathan McBroom in the second and all the runs came with two outs.  Alex Eskridge single brought in Ty Barclay with the first run and Aeneas Roberson bumped up to the second spot in the order doubled to left plating two only to have Billy Clark thrown out at home trying to score the third run and Garden’s fourth of the inning.

The Broncbusters (27-22, 12-14 conf.) added Connor Reynolds solo shot off McBroom (2-5) in the fourth inning.  It was Reynolds 15th homer of the year and 25th at Garden City giving the Broncbusters a 4-0 lead. 

Clint Allen added a wind aided single over the head of Pratt second baseman Anthony Romer in the fifth pushing Garden City to a 5-0 lead.

Yakel had a little trouble finishing his day on the mound.  In the sixth, rightfielder Ben Van Diest went yard to left for the sixth time this year preventing Garden from getting their second shutout of the year.  The solo blast made it 5-1 Broncbusters.

After Garden City scored an unearned run in the seventh off Beavers reliever Tanner Kleinsasser, Yakel served up a two run homer in the seventh to Pratt first baseman Josh Jones his first of the year in his 29th game.  After Yakel recorded the first two outs and then allowed Daniel Johnson’s single to right he was lifted from the game.

Yakel who surrendered just two singles over the first five innings allowed four hits including two homers over the last two.  Lefty Mitchell Savine came on to get the final out,  but first he coughed up Romer’s single up the middle, getting the potential tying runner to the plate. 

With power hitting Van Diest up, Savine had him hit a sinking line drive to right which was caught by Billy Clark sliding on his chest.

Game Two Highlights

Pratt jumped out early on Garden starting pitcher Nick Iossi making his first collegiate start after eleven relief appearances this year.  The first inning started rough as three runs crossed for Pratt (20-28, 7-19). 

As part of a four RBI second game including the eventual game winner, shortstop Tynan Hofferle drove in two on a single and then Josh Jones knocked in Van Diest on his own single, but was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double before Hofferle could score the fourth run.

Pratt’s lead would not last long as Billy Clark answered in the second and brought Garden City even at 3-3 with a three run triple off Pratt starting pitcher for game two Dylan Hamilton. 

Broncbuster third baseman Alex Nielsen broke the tie in the fourth with a double to score Clark all the way from first and Garden wrestled the lead away 4-3.  Nielsen was on fire during the doubleheader going 5 for 9 with two doubles, run scored and 2 RBI.

Iossi making the spot start since Connor Burns is dealing with an arm issue and his status this weekend remains uncertain gutted out four innings, but could not leave with the lead when he gave up Pratt catcher Trevor Wetzel’s game tying solo homer in the fourth inning.For Wetzel it was his second homer of the year.

Wetzel took from the Broncbusters and then gave right back in the sixth when after reliever Zack Courbat struck out Billy Clark on a pitch in the dirt, Wetzel’s throw airmailed his first baseman bringing Clark to second base.  Clark eventually scored the go ahead run in the sixth giving Garden the lead again at 5-4.

Ty Barclay added an insurance run on a solo homer in the seventh off Courbat making it 6-4 Broncbusters. 

One thing to haunt Garden City in the second game is men left on base.  The Broncbusters left the bases loaded twice.  In the third after Barclay was hit by a pitch for the second time by Hamilton, shortstop Ty Light popped out to short with the bases loaded. 

Garden also had the sacks full in the eighth and Clint Allen flied out to left against the sidewinding reliever for the Beavers Jacob Compton (1-3).  Compton retired all four he faced from the bullpen and would eventually get the win. 

Pratt trailing 6-4, chipped the lead down to one on Hofferle’s solo homer on a 0-2 pitch off GCCC reliever Michael Dzjurgot leading off the eighth inning.  It was Hofferle’s fourth homer of the year.  Dzjurgot did settle down retiring the next three batters in order to end the inning.

Ray Monje sought his fourth save of the year and his tenth as a Broncbuster in the ninth inning.  He was able to get the first batter Elijah Boyer to ground out.  Then Daniel Johnson walked, Anthony Romer singled and after a wild pitch, Ben Van Diest was intentionally walked loading the bases.

Now with the one run lead in danger, Monje was able to get pinch hitter Claytin Beaver to hit a one hop comeback right of the mound.  Monje eyeing home and a force out to prevent the tying runner from scoring slipped, his ankle buckling out from under him.  Regaining his balance, Monje’s throw to first drew Jesse Gonzales off the bag. 

All hands were safe.  The tying run scored and Monje (0-2) was relieved by Mitchell Savine.  Unlike the first game where Savine earned his first save, it took one pitch for the game to end as Hofferle drove the ball deep to leftcenter and over the head of outfielder Rafael Villela for the game winning hit.

For Garden City the heartbreaking defeat marked their fifteenth loss this season by three or less runs.

GCCC Coach Chris Finnegan’s Post-game Comments

Both teams are at it Monday for a 1pm first pitch in games three and four of the series.  Pre-game begins at 12:45 on westernkansasnews.com.