Kansas City, KS (westernkansasnews.com) It came down to the third and final game of their first round Region VI series and the final at-bat. Garden City took their chance and could not score the go ahead run, Kansas City, Kansas capitalized with a game ending double from one of their best hitters Albert Woodard scoring catcher Drew Holtgrieve with the game winning run capturing the series with a 7-6 victory.
Garden City nearly rewrote the ending script by coming back from a 6-1 deficit through 4 innings and trailing 6-2 heading into the eighth inning.
For Kansas City they started the game just like they did the previous two games with a big second inning. Of the 26 runs they scored in the series, ten of the Blue Devils runs came in the second inning. Unfortunately, Garden City starting pitcher Nick Iossi making his second start of the season was the victim this time.
After Rorey Combs, Easton Fortuna and Chase Reddick all singled to begin the second inning an error from Alex Eskridge fielding a grounder at second allowed the first run to score. After Iossi forced third baseman Brandon Green to pop out to the catcher, Drew Holtgrieve turned an 0-2 count into a bases loaded walk and Albert Woodard knocked in to with a single to left.
Garden City finally touched up KCK starting pitcher Chad Cox with a run in the fourth. Limited to just a Clint Allen single over the first three innings, Jesse Gonzales walked with two outs and Allen doubled to make it a 4-1 lead for KCK. Rafael Villela followed up with a single and Allen was thrown out by rightfielder Chase Reddick trying to slide into home preventing the Broncbusters from plating a second run in the fourth.
Iossi was lifted after giving up a two out single in the fourth and Dillan Feurestein was greeted with a homer by Tyler Pittman’s second homer of the series and third of the year to left. The two run blast gave the Blue Devils a 6-1 lead. They would not score another run and would be held hitless over the next four innings.
While the KCK offense cooled off, Garden City’s began to heat it up.
With Cox remaining in the game Rafael Villela for the second straight game had a RBI triple. Saturday’s triple as part of a five run first knocked in two. Sunday’s to rightcenter scored Jesse Gonzales and pulled Garden City to within four at 6-2.
The Broncbusters tied it up in the eighth with a four run inning. With one out Gonzales, Allen and Villela all walked. Villela had a bases loaded walk off reliever Julian Rivera making it a 6-3 game for KCK.
After Ty Barclay flied out, Ty Lightley cleared the bases with a double that hit off the base of the leftfield wall. On the play, Garden was helped out the leftfielder Josh Schmacher’s foot appeared to slip in taking his first step. Regardless the Broncbusters tied up the game that at one point after four innings they trailed 6-1.
In the ninth inning, Garden City had the chance to grabbed the lead after getting a walk and infield single putting Alex Nielsen and Gonzales on base off reliever Corey Cowan (6-1) a day after throwing four shutout innings. Clint Allen then singled to left and with Coach Finnegan waving his arms in a windmill tried to score Nielsen. Josh Schmacher came up with a strike in throwing to home and Holtgrieve laid on an easy tag at the plate. Villela made the final out grounding out to second.
Nick Ulmer (1-4) who had a spotless eighth inning was able to get the first out when Brandon Green grounded out to short. After Holtgrieve was hit by a pitch that set the stage for Woodard’s game ending double. For the series Woodard went 7-13 with 6RBIs and six runs scored. Woodard has already signed on with Middle Tennessee State.
Garden City a year after ending KCK’s season in Wichita had their season end in Kansas City with a final record of 34-24. Kansas City captured their 40th win of the year to improve to 40-19 and will make the return trip to Lawrence Dumont Stadium for the second round of the Region VI tournament.
Post-game GCCC Head Coach Chris Finnegan