April 15, 2024

Buffaloes’ Excellent Pitching Quells Cowboys

GARDEN CITY, Kan. – Starting pitcher Henry Bors knew he had his best stuff going through six innings. 

When he lobbied his case to Anthony Ortiz, Garden City High School’s new baseball head coach, to finish out his gem, the first-year skipper obliged. For good reason, it set up a phenomenal pitching doubleheader for his Buffaloes.

The Garden City Buffaloes swept the Goodland Cowboys Thursday afternoon, winning 2-0 and 8-1 in their doubleheader at Clint Lightner Field. Both Bors and game two starter Evan Finch mowed through the Cowboys’ lineup, giving up just seven hits over 12 innings of work.

Garden City (4-0, 0-0 WAC) gave up 14 runs across the 14-inning set with Goodland last season. It’s been less than a week of regular season baseball, but there’s already something different about this group.

“Everything’s a little bit more professional,” Bors said. “Our bullpens are a little more serious, everything like that.”

The Buffaloes played the cleaner brand of baseball over the two games. Garden City turned three double plays in the ladder half of game one and didn’t commit any errors in game two.

Goodland (0-4, 0-2 GWAC) committed four errors over the 14 innings, giving up two runs on throwaways. The Cowboys also allowed two runs on wild pitches.

“Everything that our defense is practicing is showing up in the game,” Ortiz praised. “Those are routine plays that we need to make. When you make them routine plays, it changes the game.”

Anthony Ortiz interview

GAME 1: Garden City, 2-0

The Buffaloes’ agility on the basepaths was a big reason for their sweep of Wichita North last Friday, swiping 37 bags over the two wins.

Shortstop Chase McGraw manufactured both Buffaloes’ runs in game one. The senior stole three bags to move into scoring position, after reaching base on a hit by pitch and an error.

Cowboys’ starter Cole Linton didn’t make many mistakes, but two spiked pitches allowed McGraw to score from third base. McGraw would score in the first and third innings.

“I really didn’t expect [Linton] to go 100 pitches, especially this early in the season,” Ortiz noted. “I thought our boys battled him well, and we continued to run the bases.”

Linton was masterful, striking out 11 across six full, surrendering just two hits.

It was going to take a gem for Garden City to overcome that, and Bors provided it. It took some time, giving up five walks in his first three innings of work.

He got through those troubles with a couple of double plays, cruising thereonin.

“I was throwing more balls than I wanted, I didn’t have as much control as I needed,” Bors admitted. “Those couple innings, I just started competing a little more.”

Bors threw four no-hit innings, only giving up two leadoff base hits.

In those two frames, the middle infield of McGraw and Ethan Gomez turned double plays immediately after. The Buffaloes doubled up the Cowboys three times in game one.

Both starters went the distance to open the day. Bors closed with seven innings, giving up just three hits in his second win of the year.

“I wanted to cap Henry at 80 [pitches],” Ortiz said. “When you have a guy who’s up there and competing, it’s a lot of fun.”

Henry Bors interview

GAME 2: Garden City, 8-1
One good start was backed up by another.

Junior right-hander Evan Finch cruised through his first few innings, retiring the first seven Goodland batters.

The Buffaloes would score first for the fourth straight game. Freshman Johnny Almanza put Garden City in business early in the second, putting two in scoring position.

Outfielders Cole Hopkins and Ethan Leisure each knocked in their first runs batted in, giving the Buffaloes an early two-run lead.

“I know our guys are just confident hitters,” Ortiz said.

The second time through the lineup started rough for Finch, giving up a run off a Manny Gonzalez single to left field. The junior didn’t take long to pick up where he started.

Finch would set down five of the next six Cowboys he faced, adding three strikeouts. The right-hander tossed five punchouts through 5 ⅓ innings.

“Just throwing strikes, letting them hit it, and trusting my defense,” Finch said.

Again, the Buffaloes’ ability on the basepaths manufactured runs. Finch stole second base, then moved from third to home after a Goodland throwing error.

Gomez put the game away for good, drilling a two-run single in the fifth inning to give Garden City a 5-1 lead. GCHS would tack on three more the following inning.

Junior Kaven Carbajal finished the job late, throwing a shutout 1 ⅔ innings, adding three strikeouts. Ortiz let out a roar from the third base dugout following the final out.

“I’m a pretty fiery guy. If my energy can excite them and get them going in the right direction, I’m the biggest cheerleader they’ve got,” Ortiz said. “When we do those things, and we come out 4-0, I’m fired up, man.”

Evan Finch interview