By Mike Pilosof
Photo by Adam Shrimplin
Garden City, KS-There were moments on Sunday where the Broncbusters didn't come close to resembling the team that should have left Liberal Friday night with two wins. Instead, Chris Finnegan could only watch as his squad produced one of their worst offensive outputs of the season.
Zane Alexander knocked in four runs, Ryan Thomas tossed five innings of one-hit ball, and Seward County beat Garden City 11-3 Sunday afternoon at Williams Stadium taking the series 3-1.
"Way too many free bases, and not enough energy," Finnegan said. "We have to figure this thing out."
Things looked promising for Garden City at the start. After getting a shaky performance from Connery O'Donnell in game three, Darrian Escobar-Winter was solid to begin the series finale. He retired the first four Saints that he faced before running into trouble in the second.
Jose Caraballo ripped a one-out double to left, which was followed by Griffin Brunson's throwing error at short that brought a run across. Moments later, Braxton Allen blasted a triple to center, and Cruz Shope smacked an RBI base hit to make it 4-0.
"It was just one of those days," Finnegan said. "But the big picture is that we didn't even play."
The Broncbusters went the first three innings without a hit before finally breaking through with Dakota Finley's RBI single in the fourth. Brenden Andersen followed with a run-scoring single before eventually coming around on a passed ball to slice the Saints lead to 4-3. With a chance to tie the game though, Jake Barber lined out hard to right.
"I know these guys don't like to lose," Finnegan said. "But everything they did today was just not very good."
Seward came right back with two runs in the fifth. With two on and one out, Alexander singled home a pair to push the Saints' lead to 6-3.
But the complexity of the game changed once Seward Coach Mike Davidson replaced starter Ryan Giberson with reliever Ryan Thomas. The sophomore, who was a starter for the saints in 2018, allowed just one hit while retiring 10 straight batters at one point.
"I know Ryan started last year, but he's so much better coming out of the bullpen," Finnegan said.
With Thomas cruising, the Saints offense put the game away in the sixth. The first two men reached against reliever Ryan Nason before Finnegan replaced him with Paxton Robinson. But he didn't fair much better, yielding an RBI double to Cayde Ward. Two batters later, Alexander reached on Finley's error at third that allowed a run to score before John Kuhn added a bloop single to right, putting Seward up 10-3. The Saints added a Tsui RBI single in the eighth to cap the scoring.
Thomas fanned four and walked one, picking up his fourth win of the season for Seward, who won for the seventh time in their last eight games.
Escobar-Winter dropped to 1-4, giving up three runs on four hits in two innings, and Jacob Douglas surrendered two runs on three hits in three innings. Garden City mustered just one hit over the final five innings.
Next up: Garden City vs. Colby-Thursday, April 18, 12:45 p.m. pregame; 1 p.m. first pitch on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app