By Mike Pilosof
Trinidad, CO-Garden City Coach Chris Finnegan will rely heavily on his youth in 2017. Their first two games on the road proved to be their first learning experience.
The Broncbusters dropped their first two games of the new campaign to Trinidad State 7-4 and 4-3 Friday afternoon at Trojan Stadium.
Garden City, who won 45 games last season, dropped back-to-game contests only three times in 2016.
In game one, Garden City (0-2) struck first in the top of the first when Conner Reynolds singled, stole second and came home on David Gauthier's throwing error. But the threat ended when Jose Torres struck out Jesse Gonzales to retire the side.
Trinidad State (2-0), who was coming off their own 40-win season a year ago, answered back with an RBI single by Blake Mattey that tied the game. Then Conrado Diaz scored on a throwing error on short stop Ty Lightley that put the Trojans in front 2-1.
The Broncbusters got a spark in the fifth when Aeneas Roberson singled, stole second and third before scoring on another throwing error by Trinidad State. But the Trojans responded resoundingly in the bottom half of the fifth, scoring four runs-all with two outs, including Alec Patterson's two-run double.
Trinidad State added an insurance run in the sixth when Kyle DeWees scored on an RBI groundout by David Gauthier.
Garden City rallied in the seventh when Reynolds drilled a run-scoring double. Gonzales added an RBI single to make it 7-4. But with runners at the corners and the tying run at the plate, Rafael Viella popped up to third baseball Herman Alvarado to end the game.
Trojans starter Jose Torres allowed two earned runs over six innings. His counterpart Connor Burns tossed 4.1 innings of five-hit ball, allowing three runs while fanning three.
In game two, Garden City again scored first. Reynolds reached base on an error and took second. Alex Nielsen brought him around on a run-scoring single to make it 1-0 before Gonzales banged a double to score Nielsen. Gonzales eventually crossed on Viella's RBI groundout, and the Broncbusters had a 3-0 lead.
That advantage slowly evaporated as Trinidad State scored a run in both the third and fourth innings before taking the lead in the sixth when Alex Bedard scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball.
Garden City went down in order in the seventh.
Broncbusters starter Noah Foreman allowed one run on three hits in three innings. He walked four and struck out one.
Trojans hurler Eli Sievert tossed 3.1 innings, allowing just one earned run while striking out four. Dalton Lewis picked up the win in relief, scattering just two hits over two innings.
Next up: Garden City vs. Trinidad State-Sunday, Feb. 5-12:45 p.m. pregame; 1 p.m. first pitch on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and mobile app: KWKR