By Mike Pilosof
La Junta, CO-During Chris Finnegan's tenure in Garden City, the Broncbusters have produced plenty of late-inning magic.
On Wednesday, Garden City pulled another rabbit out of their hat.
"This was a good win," Finnegan said afterwards. "We pitched really well, and the guys overcame some adversity."
The win atoned for a three-run loss to Otero back on Mar. 22 in which the Broncbusters blew a six-run lead.
"Anytime you can go on the road and win a game, it's good," Finnegan added. "The guys played really well."
Aeneas Roberson's sacrifice fly in the top of the second gave Garden City (24-17, 12-9) a 1-0 advantage.
But that cushion evaporated quickly in the bottom of the second. Willie Baez smashed a one-out triple, and Carlos Ramirez was hit by a pitch to put runners at the corners. Britton Schiewe added an RBI single; then came around to score on Roberson's error in center field, and Alex Schaneman followed with a run-scoring single of his own to make it 3-1 Otero.
"We did a nice job of bouncing back once they took the lead," Finnegan said. "Our guys have been doing that all year."
The Broncbusters slowly chipped away, scoring a run in the sixth on Ty Barclay's sac fly; then took the lead in the eighth, sparked by back-to-back extra base hits by Jesse Gonzales and Clint Allen to begin the frame. Allen's knock tied the game at 3 before Viella connected on an RBI to push the Broncbusters in front 4-3.
"Our offense got some things together," Finnegan said.
But Nick Ulmer could not slam the door shut in the ninth. The sophomore struck out the leadoff man Trevor Schaefer but gave up a one-out walk to Devin Mayfield. After fanning Jesus Chavez, Mayfield swiped second to put a runner in scoring position. Schaneman took full advantage of that, smoking Ulmer's 2-2 pitch into center to knot the game at 4.
"Those things happen," Finnegan said. "It's how you respond that's the most important thing."
Otero had a chance to win the game, but Will Hamilton's scoring line drive was reeled in by Alex Nielsen at third to end the inning.
That defensive gem saved the day. His teammates finished the job in the 10th.
With one out, Roberson singled to right. Billy Clark then took the first pitch he saw from Lane Greiman and powered one to the gap, scoring Roberson all the way from first. The Broncbusters followed by adding an insurance run when Clark scored on Gaylan Young's error at third to make it 6-4.
Otero (13-24, 8-10) made things interesting in the bottom half when Willie Baez triple and scored on Pablo Aragon-Herrera's RBI hit to make it 6-5. But Dziurgot ended the game when he caught Schafer looking on an 0-2 breaking ball.
Dziurgot picked up second win of the year, tossing an inning of scoreless relief.
Greiman took the loss for the Rattlers, who dropped their seventh straight game.
Next up: Garden City at Frank Phillips-Wednesday, Mar. 12