By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-What a bounce back by Garden City.
After scoring just five runs over two games on Sunday at Trinidad State, Garden City rebounded by plating 16 on Wednesday, including a seven-run fifth-inning that helped the Broncbusters overcome an early 5-2 deficit to beat McCook, Neb. 16-9 at Williams Stadium.
"I thought we did what we were supposed to do at the plate," Head Coach Chris Finnegan said. "We did some things okay offensively but it wasn't great. We still have a lot of things to clean up."
The offensive catalyst: Clint Allen.
Allen finished 5-for-5 at the plate including a towering shot in the fifth.
"I just paid attention to how they were pitching me," Allen said afterwards. "We were really focused in this game."
"We didn't pitch it very well today," Finnegan said. "So we were very fortunate."
Mistakes hurt the Broncbusters in the second. A two-base error allowed Dalton Bartling to score from second. A couple of batters later, Angel Mojica crossed home plate when shortstop Ty Lightley's throw to second baseman Griff Brunson got away. The Indians then took the lead a 3-2 lead an inning later on Mojica's RBI groundout.
"We hurt ourselves in some instances," Finnegan said.
McCook (0-2) used some two-out magic in the fourth to extend their advantage. Michael Sookedo singled; took second on a wild pitch and then scored on Gabe Rivera's error at second. Moments later, Jacob Sanford came around when Lightley misplayed a ball at short, giving the Indians a 5-2 cushion.
"We gave them 13 free bases," Finnegan said. "You can't win games like that."
The Broncbusters committed four errors on the day. Fortunately, their offense woke up just in time.
Allen's two-run single in the fourth, cut the deficit to one. ReJean Bourget stole home, and Allen scored on Bartling's error in right to make it 5-4. After reliever Ryan Nason set down McCook in order in the top of the fifth, Garden City (3-2, 0-0) went bonkers when they came to the plate. Ty Barclay ripped a two-run double, Lightley followed with a two-run single, and Allen mashed a solo shot to right, fueling a seven-run frame that put Garden City back in front 12-5.
"They've been pitching me in all year," Allen said. "So I saw it coming in, and I did what I could with it."
The Indians made things interesting by scoring three runs in the top of the sixth. But Allen countered with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the inning, Young scored on (Gino) Bourget's fielder's choice in the seventh, and Allen finished off his fantastic day with a two RBI, base hit in the eighth that capped the scoring.
"We didn't play very well, and McCook is a good team," Finnegan said. "To make as many mistakes as we did, and still come out with a win makes it a good day."
Nason picked up the win in relief, allowing three runs on four thits. Starter Jacob Garza walked four in three innings. He struck out one and allowed three runs.
Indians starter Conner McGonigal allowed five runs on seven hits while fanning five in four innings. But was the bullpen that let McCook down, surrendering 11 runs.
Next up: Garden City vs. Western Nebraska-Sunday, Feb. 11-1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (This game was rescheduled from Saturday because of the chance of snow)