By Mike Pilosof
La Junta, CO-So much for a hangover from Saturday.
Garden City's offense put up plenty of fight early; then, when the Broncbusters were hit with some adversity, it was a freshman coming up with the biggest hit of the game.
Dakota Finley knocked in the go-ahead run in the 10th, Jacob Douglas tossed two innings of scoreless relief, and Garden City snapped a five-game losing streak with a 6-5 victory over Otero Tuesday afternoon at Rattlers' Field.
"We got a big knock from Colin Stone in the 10th and just started playing baseball after that," Head Coach Chris Finnegan said.
What was lost in the furious finish, was how the game began, with Damian Acosta making his first career start on the bump. The freshman did not allow a hit over two strong.
"He (Acosta) was great for us," Finnegan said.
The offense broke open a scoreless game in the fourth when Sean Klein doubled to deep left. The next batter, Chris Lara, singled him home, giving Garden City a 1-0 advantage. Three batters later, Alec Eskenazi drew a bases-loaded walk, Dyan Rodriguez added an RBI single to right, Turner McDonald grounded into a double play, scoring Brett Thompson, and Eskenazi swiped home on a double steal to put Garden City (13-7, 0-4) up 5-0.
"We've got to stay locked in and focus now," Finnegan said.
The Rattlers put a dent in the scoreboard in the fourth. Andres Quintana smacked an RBI single to right, and Michael Rodriguez scored on a passed ball, slicing the Broncbusters lead to 5-2. Two innings later, a run scored on an error by Eskanazi in right. Then, in the eighth, Quintana ripped a two-out, run scoring single to tie the game.
"They chipped away pretty good," Finnegan said. "But I like how our guys responded."
Garden City had a chance to take the lead in the top of the ninth when McDonald singled and Jake Barber was hit by a pitch. A Corbin Truslow sacrifice bunt moved the runners over before Klein was intentionally walked to load the bases. But on a 1-2 pitch, Lara hit it right back to pitcher Brandon Vidal, who quickly fired to get McDonald at the plate. A split second later, Quintana lasered a throw to first, getting Lara by a half step, completing a 1-2-3 double play.
After Douglas got the Rattlers in order in the ninth, Stone took the third pitch he saw from Vidal and ripped it to the gap in right-center. Finely followed with an RBI single to center, and Garden City was back in front 6-5.
"This was a big win for us to snap the five-game slide," Finnegan said. "But we have to keep going."
Douglas was magnificent in the bottom of the 10th, throwing only eight pitches to get three outs.
Klein finished the afternoon 2-for-4 for Garden City, who improved to 13-3 in non-conference games.
Vidal took the loss for Otero, giving up one run on three hits in two innings.
Next up: Garden City vs. Dodge City-Thursday, March 14-12:45 p.m. pregame; 1 p.m. first pitch on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app