By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-When Garden City Coach Becky Gundy began recruiting following last season, her goal was to find players that could produce the type of offensive numbers she envisioned when she first came to the Broncbusters five years ago.
Well if the first eight games of 2017 are any indication, Gundy may have finally found what she's been looking for, and Wednesday afternoon was no exception.
"I'm not surprised at how well our offense has played so far," Gundy said afterwards. "We have a very deep team. And we have girls that can produce."
In game one, the Broncbusters overcame an early two-run deficit. Desiree Perea was tagged for two earned runs in the opening frame; the first of which came on an RBI groundout by Brittany Davis. The Plainsmen added their second run on a double steal when Lexi Chavez swiped second, allowing Mia Garza to score from third.
The Broncbusters would get things going in the third. Vessels run-scoring single to right cut the deficit in half. Nicole Milford then singled home the tying run in the fourth before Rebekah Roberts two-run single gave the Broncbusters a 4-2 edge. Taylore Hartman followed with an RBI double to cap the inning and give Garden City a three-run lead.
"These girls know how picky I am," Gundy said with a smile. "I knew they would figure it out."
Frank Phillips battled back in the fifth. Perea allowed back-to-back doubles to begin the inning, the second of those by Giselle Maciel scored Tori Fuller. Then with two outs, Sabrina Branch laced a 2-2 pitch right off the glove of Leisha Nakagawa, allowing Maciel to score to cut the Broncbuster lead to 5-4. But Perea worked out of trouble by getting Davis to fly out to right to retire the side.
Then an emphatic response.
Martinez took the first pitch she saw in the bottom of the fifth and drilled a line-drive homer to center field, making it 6-4 Garden City.
Frank Phillips (0-12) brought the tying run to the plate twice in the top of the seventh only to have Perea get Chavez to line out to right and Branch line out to second to end the game.
Perea allowed only two earned runs on six hits and struck out eight for Garden City.
There was no such drama in the second game, a 10-run first inning for the Broncbusters took care of that.
Garden City spotted Frank Phillips a two-run lead in the top of the first before Gundy's squad roared back.
Garden City sent 14 batters to the plate, ripped off 10 hits and took advantage of three Frank Phillips errors, all in the first. 10 straight Broncbusters reached base in the frame.
Vessels started the scoring party with a one-out, RBI single. Then Nakagawa and Jimenez drove in runs before Milford ripped a two-run double to make it 5-2. Jimenez came around on an error, Roberts singled down the third-base line scoring Milford and Shaylene Shepherd slapped one of her game-high three hits; this one was a double that brought home Bailee Muxlow-Volk. Hartman wrapped the scoring with a two-run double, giving the brown and gold a 10-2 advantage.
"I challenged the girls after the first game and they responded with a 10-run first," Gundy said.
Garden City was not done.
They finished off the Plainsmen in the fourth. Milford doubled home Savanna Gyurman to start it off. Muxlow-Volk added her second RBI of the afternoon before Shepherd collected her third hit-a single plating Muxlow-Volk. Roberts added the 15th Broncbuster run when she scored on an error by Maciel.
"This is one of the most talented teams that we've had here," Gundy said. "We are very deep, and everyone is contributing."
Shepherd induced the run rule in the top of the fifth, striking out Maciel and getting Garza to pop out. After Chavez reached on a two-out error, Shephard got Branch to strikeout on three pitches.