By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-Call them the smash sisters.
The power hitting began in game one when Vessels parked a breaking ball over the fence in center field for a two-run shot that put the Broncbusters in front in bottom of the second. A Couple of batters later, Bailey Brawner hit a run-scoring double to make it 3-0.
After Hannah Adams drew a bases-loaded walk in the third, Vessels capped a six-run, bottom of the fourth with a two-run double that put Garden City (5-1) up 10-0. She followed up Martinez, who earlier in the frame, slapped a two-run single coupled with Alyssa Dilley's RBI base hit.
Meantime Samantha Akers polished off a brilliant day in the circle by retiring Northeastern Colorado in order in the fifth to finish off the run rule. On the day, the sophomore allowed just three hits and threw just 65 pitches in a five-inning masterpiece. She struck out six.
Akers' counterpart Makalia Chadwick lasted just three innings, allowing six runs on five hits. She walked five.
Game two was a little more of a challenge.
Brawner surrendered an RBI double to Annaliese Cordova, who eventually came around to score on Vessels' error at short that put Northeastern Colorado up 2-0.
Garden City sliced the lead in half in the bottom of the frame when Taylore Hartman hit a sacrifice fly that scored Devin Hernandez from third. An inning later, Hernandez bounced into a fielder's choice that pushed Angel Jiminez across to tie the game at 2.
Then it was Martinez's turn.
With one on and one out in the third, the sophomore power hitter blasted an 0-1 pitch to straightaway center, giving the Broncbusters their first lead of the game, 4-2. They extended that to a six-run cushion in the fourth, thanks to Hartman's sac fly and Martinez's three-run jack that made it 8-2.
The Plainswomen made things interesting in the sixth, scoring five runs, capped off with Katy Ridener's three-run home run that cut the lead to one. But Brawner did damage control, and got Cordova to ground to end the rally. Northeastern Colorado got the tying run on in the seventh, but again Brawner got out of it again, getting three straight fly outs to end the game.
Martinez knocked in five runs, and Brawner picked up the win in the circle, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in seven innings.
Lindsay Niederkorn was the losing pitcher, giving up eight runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings.
Next up: Garden City vs. Northeastern Colorado-Saturday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.