By Mike Pilosof
Pratt, KS-Connery O'Donnell walked to the visiting dugout after giving up two runs in the first and told his head coach that something wasn't right.
Well whatever that was, the freshman right hander fixed it, becoming just the second Broncbuster this season to pitch a complete game.
"When Connery came over to me, we made an adjustment," Finnegan said. "After that, I thought he pitched really well. He didn't have his best stuff. He had problems locating his breaking ball. But he hit the corners, and that's what won us the game."
The Beavers scored two runs on two hits in their half of the first, setup by a three-base throwing error by Dakota Finley at third. Jack Partington followed with an RBI single, and Garden City was in an early two-run hole.
"We already knew what to expect on a warm day with the wind blowing out," Finnegan said. "It was everything that we expected."
The Broncbusters had a big answer in the second. Following Alec Eskenazi's single to leadoff the frame, Stone tattooed Lucas Wepf's 0-1 pitch over the fence in right to tie the game.
"Our guys were aggressive at the plate," Finnegan said. "He got a fastball and he went with it."
Pratt went up briefly again in the bottom half. Sean Johnson walked, took second on a balk before going to third on a fly out. Then, O'Donnell's curveball to Brenden Tauber landed a foot in front of home plate, skipping all the way back to the screen and allowing Johnson to scoot home, putting the Beavers up 3-2.
It was all Garden City from there.
In the third, the Broncbusters loaded the bases. Stone was hit by a pitch to score a run, and Chris Lara added a sac fly to make it 4-3. An inning later, Turner McDonald reached on a dropped third strike, Corbin Truslow singled to center, and Sean Klein smoked an RBI single. Finley followed with a sac fly, and Garden City was on top 6-3.
"Connery did a good job of minimizing stuff, and it was huge that we could get him to go all the way," Finnegan said.
Garden City padded their lead in the sixth. McDonald and Truslow laced back-to-back singles; setting the table for Finley, who cranked a three-run homer off reliever Richard Mays, making it 9-4.
"Some days you just can't explain why some balls go out of the yard," Finnegan said. "We hit two balls like that today."
After O'Donnell threw just six pitches to retire the Beavers in order in the sixth, Pratt reliever Jordan Haffner never knew what hit him in the seventh. Griffin Brunson reached on an infield single, Jake Barber, who watched his 11-game hitting streak come to an end, was plunked on the back; though he was thrown out moments later trying to steal second. Eventually, Brunson came home when Haffner fired a wild pitch. Two batters after that, Klein doubled home two, and the Broncbusters were up 12-4.
"We have to approach this thing a game at a time," Finnegan said. "We can't get too far ahead of ourselves."
O'Donnell surrendered just three runs on seven hits in six innings for Garden City, picking up his fourth win of the season. McDonald, Truslow, Klein and Brunson all collected multi-hit games.
Wepf took the loss for Pratt, allowing six runs on six hits in five innings.