By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-From Choctaw, OK to Southwest Kansas, Erica Vessels is definitely enjoying her first year in Garden City. Her early-season numbers show that.
Vessels hit her second home run of the season, Angel Jimenez also went yard, and Garden City swept a two-game series from Hesston 6-1 and 5-3 Saturday afternoon at Tangeman Sports Complex.
Vessells got the party started in game one. Following Taylore Hartman's run-scoring double in the first, Vessells parked a 1-1 pitch over the center field fence for a two-run shot to give Garden City a 3-0 lead.
Broncbuster pitcher Desiree Perea took it from there.
The freshman was special in the circle, holding the Larks bats at bay, limiting them to a single run on four hits while striking out 10. She retired nine out of the final 12 hitters she faced.
Garden City's (3-3) offense added some insurance for Perea in the fifth. With two outs and runners at the corners, Leisha Nakagawa laced a bases-clearing triple to right field, scoring Hartman and Vessels to give the Broncbusters a 6-0 edge.
Hesston (0-2) scored their lone run in the top of the sixth on Dezz Bretado's sacrifice fly. But Perea ended the rally by striking out Sierrah Long on three pitches.
In game two, the Broncbusters erased a 3-1 deficit late. Jimenez led off the fifth with a solo shot to left followed by a three-run sixth sparked by RBI singles by Michaela Martinez and Bailee Muxlow-Volk and a sacrifice fly by Nakagawa that put Garden City in front 5-3.
Shaylene Shepherd slammed the door on the Larks in the top of the seventh. After yielding a one-out single, she got Kayleigh Johnson to ground before striking out Kendall Richardson to end the game.
Shepherd allowed just two earned runs in seven innings of work. She struck out five and threw 107 pitches-74 for strikes.
Hesston struck first when Johnson scored on Nakagawa's fielding error in the top of the second. Garden City tied it in the bottom half when Martinez doubled home Vessels.
Next up: Garden City at Frank Phillips-Wednesday, Feb. 15 2 p.m .and 4 p.m.