By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-Mother nature forced multiple postponements of Garden City's double dip with Barton County.
When the two teams finally took the field on Saturday afternoon, fans could say without hesitation that it was definitely worth the wait.
Shaylene Shepherd's walk-off single in the 10th gave the Broncbusters a dramatic 11-10 come-from-behind victory over the Cougars in game one before Barton County took the finale 13-8 at Tangeman Sports Complex.
In the opener, Barton County (24-12, 9-8) struck first with Kaci Isaacson's RBI triple in the second that put the Cougars up 1-0.
Garden City (14-30, 3-15) came back to tie it in the third when Bailee Muxlow-Volk singled home Rebekah Roberts. But the Cougars seemingly put the game away in the top of the fourth by scoring six runs including Jayden Gonzales's three-run homer that made it 7-1.
But Becky Gundy's team never folded and slowly began to chip away in the fifth. Erica Vessels double scored Leisha Nakagawa from second. Muxlow-volk also came around on the throw by center fielder Maddison Schofield to cut the Cougars lead to 7-3.
After Barton County pushed two more across in the top of the sixth, the Broncbusters went back to work in the bottom half.
Nicole Milford drew a bases-loaded walk followed by an RBI single by Nakagawa to cut the deficit to four runs. Moments later, Roberts scored on a passed ball, and Garden City was within three.
That setup some fireworks in the seventh.
After Desieree Perea worked around a one-out single in the top half by inducing three straight ground outs, Micaela Martinez did her part. Following singles by Taylore Hartman and Hannah Adams in the bottom of the seventh, the freshman smashed an 0-1 pitch over the center field wall for a three-run home run to tie the game at 9. Garden City then put the winning run on with two outs thanks to back-to-back singles by Milford and Nakagawa. But Payton Reynolds got Vessels to ground out to force extras.
The game stayed tied until the 10th when Reynolds ripped a two-out, run-scoring double off Perea to put Barton County up 10-9. But the Broncbusters stormed back again in the bottom half when Hartman drew a bases loaded walk setting up Shepherds dramatics.
Perea improved to 6-11 on the season, allowing just one run on four hits in five innings for Garden City, who won for the second time in four games. Reynolds dropped to 10-7, going 4 1/3 inning and allowing four runs on eight hits. She walked five and gave up a home run.
As they did in the opener, the Cougars struck first in game two when Payton Summers knocked in Schofield on a line-drive single to left in the first. But Garden City came right back to take the lead a half inning later, thanks to Nakagawa's sacrifice fly and Milford swiping home for a 2-1 advantage.
The teams exchanged blows in the third with the Cougars knotting the game on Gonzales's RBI hit before the Broncbusters retook the lead when Milford swiped home for the second time in the game.
In the fourth, Barton County took the lead for good. First pinch hitter Leilani Medina tied the game with an RBI single to right. That was followed up by Schofield's two-run bomb off Marissa Montiel that gave the Cougars a 5-3 cushion. They pushed that to 8-3 in the fifth on the heels of Lydia Konrade's two-run blast and Reynolds' single that allowed Terrones to score off the throw by Roberts in center field.
Barton County put the game away in the seventh
Reynolds smoked a one-out single to left that scored Konrade from third followed by a bases-loaded walk that made it 10-3. Summers bounced into a fielder's choice that allowed Reynolds to scoot home and Mickenzie Toler ripped a two-run double that stretched the lead to 13-3.
Garden City made things interesting in the bottom half when Roberts tripled home two and Milford knocked in Roberts from third. Three batters later, Vessels drilled a double to the gap that allowed two more to score to cut the deficit to five. But after Adams singled, Barton County starter Amanda Evans finally put an end to the rally when she got Hartman to ground out to end the game.
Evans improved to 8-4 in the circle, allowing eight runs on 12 hits in seven innings for Barton County, who won for just the second time in their last eight games. She threw 102 pitches.
Perea took the loss for Garden City, allowing three earned runs on three hits in 1 2/3 innings.
Next up: Garden City vs. Colby-Monday, April 17-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.