By Tim Boulware
Garden City, KS-Staying ahead of the wintry mix of weather expected over the weekend, Garden City (33-22, 18-14) wrapped up their four-game series with Seward County (17-36, 10-22) concluding a four game sweep with a 2-0 shutout and winning the second game 10-7. The Broncbusters ended the regular season having won seven of their last eight conference games. Now the waiting game begins to see where they go to play the first round of the region VI tournament.
Kendrick Catron (4-4) pitched his second straight complete game and earned Garden City's second shutout of the year in a 2-0 win. Catron allowed five hits, no walks and struck out five. Only three Seward County runners reached second on the day and none made it to third.
The Broncbusters put up just enough runs to support Catron getting Connor Reynolds second home run of the series. The solo blast made it 1-0 off Brian Tims in the third inning. First baseman Jesse Gonzales chimed in with an RBI double inside the first base bag one inning later and that was enough for Garden City in the 2-0 win, a day after winning game two of the series 25-2.
"When you put that many runs up, the next day is a little difficult," Broncbusters Head Coach Chris Finnegan said. "I thought our guys really competed hard. Brian Tims competed all day for Seward with three pitches for a strike."
Game two saw Seward County grabbed just their second lead of the series in the second inning with an RBI groundout from catcher Trent Powell and fielding error from Garden City second baseman Alex Eskridge to score Addison Kaasch off Garden City starter Quinton Bonnell.
Rafael Villela tied it up in the bottom of the third with a two-run single coming off Seward County starting pitcher Jonathan Castillo (2-7). Garden City took the lead for good in the fourth with a wild pitch scoring Eskridge and sacrifice fly from Alex Neilsen.
After Saints catcher Trent Powell added his second RBI of the day on a sixth-inning single off Dillan Feurestein, Garden City put up five runs helped out by four Seward County errors. The Saints, who have struggled with their defense all year, had their worst inning of the weekend. As part of the frame the Broncbusters showed their aggressive nature on the base paths and on Reynolds drive to the wall in left, which was bobbled and caught by Seward's Tim Fitgerald, both Gonzales and Villela scored on a single sac-fly.
Tims trimmed Garden City's lead to 9-5 in the seventh inning with a two-run single off Feurestein. After a sac-fly from Ty Lightley in the eighth gave the Broncbusters a 10-5 lead, Seward County came back with two runs on a wild pitch from Michael Dzjurgot and Tims RBI groundout, his third run driven in of the game before Dzjurgot had back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.
"We ended well," Finnegan said. "It's good for the sophomores to win their last series at home. That means a lot to every class to win that last series."
Garden City will likely play at Neosho County or Kansas City, KS in the first round of the Region VI tournament beginning on Friday. There is still an outside shot Garden City could host, but they would have to hope that Dodge City sweeps Colby and that series does not get underway until Monday.