By Mike Pilosof
Great Bend, KS-Garden City has plenty of confidence heading into the playoffs.
The Broncbusters closed the regular season by sweeping Barton County 8-4 and 10-2 on Tuesday afternoon.
In game one, Erica Vessels RBI double in the third, and Angel Jimenez's two-run homer gave Garden City (24-26, 12-16) a 3-0 edge. They followed that up with a four-run fourth, fueled behind RBI hits by Vessels, Hannah Adams and Carly Ochoa.
After Barton County (17-23, 14-14) plated two in the bottom of the fourth, Jimenez put the game away in the sixth, hitting a hot shot that deflected off of the glove of third basemen Alexis Sharples that allowed two runs to score, and bumped the Broncbusters lead to 9-2. They made it 10-2 an inning later when Devin Hernandez scored on the Cougars seventh miscue of the day.
Samantha Akers picked up the win in the circle, allowing just two earned runs on 12 hits. She struck out two. Vessells collected three hits, and Jimenez drove in four runs.
Allison Panning took the loss, surrendering 10 runs on nine hits in seven innings. She walked four.
Jimenez continued to put the pressure on the Cougars in game two.
The sophomore blasted a first-inning homer to give the Broncbusters a 1-0 advantage. The Cougars fought back to tie game in the third; then took the lead in the fourth on Nasadiya Salazar's RBI groundout. But the Broncbusters answered with Ariel Denney's RBI single in the fifth to tie it before Vessels smashed a two-run homer to left in the sixth that gave Garden City the lead for good. Bailee Muxlow-Volk added an RBI groundout, and the Broncbusters added three more in the seventh to hold off the Cougars.
Denney picked up the win, scattering just three hits in four innings. She struck out three. Carly Ochoa was 3-for-5 at the plate, and Vessels and Jimenez each knocked in two runs.
Next up: Garden City vs. Barton County-Region VI Tournament-Friday, 3 p.m. at Legends Park in Dodge City