By Mike Pilosof
Photo by Adam Shrimplin
Dodge City, KS-Garden City has battled adversity all season long. After a bad game was when Becky Gundy's team went to work.
That brings us to Saturday morning. In a lose or go-home scenario, the Broncbusters made it count when it mattered most.
Devin Hernandez collected two hits, including a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth, Ariel Denney threw nine solid innings, and Garden City stayed alive with a 4-3, extra-inning victory over Hutchinson in the loser's bracket of the Region VI Tournament at Legends Park.
Garden City came out as the aggressor in this one. They turned an error and a walk into a run in the first inning, thanks to Gaby Hernandez, who singled to left to get the Broncbusters on the board. In the second, Madison Brasher smashed a double to the right-field gap, and (Devin Hernandez) drover her in with an RBI groundout to make it 2-0.
The score stayed that way until the fourth when Denney got into trouble for the first time all day. Taylor Ullery singled, and Alexis Way doubled to start the frame. That was followed by an error on Vivian Lopez at second base that allowed two runs to score.
Unphased, the Broncbusters went back to work in the fifth. Denney singled, and Madison Biller crushed a run-scoring double to right to put Garden City back on top 3-2.
Hutchinson refused to go away. With one on and two outs, the Blue Dragons struck gold in the bottom of the seventh. Way slapped a 2-2 pitch into center for the game-tying hit. Denney then walked Luttig, moving the winning run to second base. But the sophomore maneuvered out of trouble, getting Kiara DeCrane to pop out to end the threat.
The Blue Dragons had another chance to win the game in the eighth. With two on and two out though, Shelby Felvus flight out to left.
Garden City made Hutchinson pay for their missed opportunties.
In the top of the ninth, Lopez and Madison Brasher singled to start the inning. Then it was Hernandez, driving the first pitch she saw to left, giving the Broncbusters a 4-3 advantage.
In the home half, Denney finally put Hutchinson away. After surrendering a leadoff walk, the sophomore pitcher got a pop out and a strikeout to end the game.
Denney picked up the win in the circle, giving up just one earned run on nine hits in nine innings for Garden City, who advanced to play Independence in another elimination game. Brasher was 3-for-4 at the dish, and (Devin) Hernandez finished 2-for-4.
Maryssa Rollin took the loss for Hutchinson, giving up one run on five hits in five innings of relief.