By Mike Pilosof
McCook, KS-Chris Finnegan has seen his fair share of windy days over the years.
Tuesday was no different. And even with Mother Nature firmly in the backdrop, Garden City produced one of their most solid offensive performances this season.
"I'm really proud of how we pitched it with 30 mph winds blowing straight in," Finnegan said after the game.
Even with the weather, Garden City (19-18, 5-11) scored in all but two innings, putting up a two-spot in the opening frame when Ty Barclay laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt and Chris Lara knocked in Robbie Young. In the second, Griffin Brunson ripped an RBI single, Lightley and Barclay followed with run-scoring doubles, and the Broncbusters had an 8-1 advantage.
"We got a lot of timely hits with two outs," Finnegan said.
After McCook trimmed the lead to 8-4 with three in the second, Garden City went back to work in the fourth. Barclay laced an RBI single, and Alec Eskenazi scored on a wild pitch to make it 10-4.
That was all a prelude to the sixth, where with one swing of the bat, the Broncbusters firmly put their foot on McCook's throats.
With the bases loaded after Darien Burns drew a walk, Cruz crushed a breaking ball over the centerfield wall for his first career grand slam, giving Garden City a 14-5 edge.
"It's always good to get 10 RBI from the bottom half of the order," Finnegan said.
Lara added an RBI single in the seventh, and Lightley cleared the bases with a rope double to left-center to blow it open.
"I'm very pleased with how we came out after not playing for a week," Finnegan said.
Ryan Nason started the game and allowed a run on two hits in one inning. Aaron Peach also pitched a frame, surrendering three runs on four hits, while Brandt Sobczak picked up the win, going three innings, yielding just one run. Cruz, Brunson and Lightley drove in a combined 10 runs, and Young, Barclay, and Lara all collected two hits.
Kaden Sitzman took the loss for McCook, giving up eight runs on six hits in just two innings.
Next up: Garden City vs. Hutchinson-Thursday, April 5-11:45 a.m. pregame; noon first pitch on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app