May 30, 2024

Broncbusters Fight Back to Level Series with Colby

Garden City Community College Baseball team hosted Colby Community College in a double header on Friday, March 29, 2024 at Williams Stadium in Garden City, Kan. The Busters lost the first game of the series, 4 - 1, before winning the second game, 8 - 6. Photo credits; Connor Pilosof

GARDEN CITY, Kan. – Josh Oller spent five seasons planning, experimenting, and learning to engineer successful pitching for Colby.

Just 10 months later, he had to put all of what he learned to disrupt those pitchers, facing his former employers for the first time in his young coaching career.

The Garden City Broncbusters split their first pair of games against the Colby Trojans at Williams Stadium. The two teams will close the series on Saturday at Young Memorial Field.

Oller earned his first career Kansas Jayhawk Conference win as a head coach, defeating 24th-year head coach Ryan Carter in game two.

“It was a really cool moment for me. Obviously, he’s one of my biggest mentors,” Oller recalled. “It was a little bit odd, at first, I’ll admit.”

Garden City (3-24, 1-9 KJCCC) got quality outings from their starters. Right-hander Andrew Bowman and left-hander Matthew Lorencz both struggled in the last home set against Butler but had their best stuff against Colby.

The starters combined to pitch 11 ⅓ innings against the Trojans’ (3-26, 1-13 KJCCC) bats.

“I liked the longevity, both those guys kept us in the game,” Oller said.

The Broncbusters scored nine runs over their 16 hits.

Outfielder Kaelan Bing looked back to his best for Garden City at the plate. The sophomore reached base five times, scored twice, and drove in a pair of runs in game two.

“The big thing for [Bing] was to continue to see as many pitches as possible to get him back,” Oller said. “We still got productivity out of him in a game where he wasn’t necessarily himself.”

Josh Oller interview

Game 1: Colby, 4-1

An uphill battle that just kept getting steeper for Garden City. The Broncbusters went down early and never got back level.

Colby struck fast for three runs off Bowman, plating a run in each of the first three frames. All runs came before the two-out mark of the early innings.

Bowman responded well, limiting the Trojans’ damage in the first half of the contest. The NOC-Enid transfer rolled through afterwards, giving up just three hits in his final three innings.

“He did a really good job to eat through those innings,” Oller raved about Bowman. “He continued to stay competitive and give us a chance.”

The sophomore tossed a season-long 6 ⅓ innings, punching out five.

The Broncbusters’ bats just never backed up their bite. GCCC left seven runners on, five of which were in scoring position.

Garden City’s only run driven in came on a sacrifice fly by Brittain Brewer.

“We just didn’t take competitive AB’s in situations where we needed to,” Oller said. “It’s frustrating because any time you get opportunities to score runs in this league, you have to be really good at it.”

Colby starter Zach Gregory went the distance for his first win of the season. The right-hander held the Broncbusters to just six hits in his first win of the year, throwing all seven innings.

The Broncbusters brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth but grounded into a 6-4-3 twin killing to fall short.

Game 2: Garden City, 8-6

Oller preached for Garden City to ‘attack our pitches’ for this four-game set, and they did just that in game two.

Bing started the scoring, working into a hitter’s count to drive in a two-run single. Garden City hit for three in the opening inning.

Run support was a rarity for Lorencz last season, and made the most of the early boom from his team. The sophomore had a shutdown second time through the lineup, settling back in after an early home run by Colby first baseman, Zack Costopolous.

Lorencz earned his first win of the season, tossing five innings of two-run ball, striking out four.

His strikeout of Costopolous closed up a shutout inning in the fourth, restoring the southpaw’s groove.

“Once I saw him step back up, I said ‘I’m not going to let you beat me again’,” Lorencz recalled. “When I got the strikeout, I felt so good.”

Caleb Metzen stayed patient at the plate in his second trip up, rewarded with a scorched RBI double to make it 5-1. Metzen, who came in as a pinch-hitter in game one, closed with three hits and two RBI in Friday’s set.

His second RBI was the biggest of the day, looping a two-out single for a run in the seventh inning, putting the Busters 7-4 up.

“We were told to be early on the fastball, keep our hands inside,” Metzen said. “I was able to barrel it up, put it right where I wanted it to get Kaelan in.”

Alex Paniagua came through when it mattered. The right-hander completed the first save of the season for Garden City, tossing the final nine outs.

Paniagua allowed the tying run into scoring position in the ninth but closed with his best. The freshman fanned Colby’s Lucas Vincent before inducing a game-ending groundout.

“The dude’s a competitor. He wants to have the ball in big situations,” Oller praised. “Win or lose, we want our dude on the mound that we have the utmost faith in.”

Caleb Metzen interview

Matthew Lorencz interview