By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-It was a tale of two totally different games on Saturday.
Samantha Akers was nearly unhittable in game one, leading Garden City to a 5-1 victory over Lamar before the Lopes' bats exploded for 15 hits in a 9-5 win over the Broncbusters in game two.
"It's still a process," Garden City Coach Becky Gundy said. "This team is still learning a lot about themselves."
In the fourth, Martinez came around to score on an error by Lamar (2-6) catcher Caitlin McCarthy that made it 4-0 Broncbusters. On the same play, Shaycin Koehn saw an opening to swipe home, but was thrown out at the plate. Eventually Hannah Adams grounded out to end the inning.
The Lopes got a run back in the sixth when pinch hitter Desiree Ramirez took Akers deep for a solo shot that made it 4-1. But Garden City added some insurance in the bottom half when Martinez doubled before coming around to score on Leisha Nakagawa's run-scoring single.
Akers put an end to things in the seventh. After allowing a leadoff single to Delaney Ramos, the freshman induced three straight ground outs. In all, she allowed just one run on six hits in seven innings. Akers struck out five and walked three.
Larissa Royer dropped to 1-2 on the season, giving up four earned runs on five hits in 5.1 innings. She fanned four.
Game two all came down to the second inning, one that got away from the Broncbusters quickly.
Leading 1-0 after Mariah Lopez's RBI groundout in the top half of the first, the Lopes sent eight batters to the dish in the second. Ramos drove in Kelsee Bushell on a line drive to center and Ashleigh Espinoza scored on Angel Jimenez's error at third. That setup Mackenzie Rowlett, who clubbed her first homer of the season to give Lamar a 6-0 cushion.
Garden City got a run back in the fourth when Tamra Rushing crushed an 0-2 pitch over the center field wall. Then in the fifth, Jimenez knocked in Taylore Hartman and Vessels to pull the Broncbusters to within two.
The Broncbusters inched closer in the sixth when Nicole Milford singled home Rebekah Roberts to make it 6-5. Bailee Muxlow-Volk then reached on an error, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate with only one out. But Ramos struck out Hartman and got Vessels to ground out to end the rally.
One swing of the bat in the seventh gave Lamar all the cushion they needed.
With runners at first and second, Bushell cranked a three-run homer to dead center, pushing the Lopes lead to 9-5.
Lauren Reed picked up the win for Lamar, giving up four runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings.
Next up: Garden City vs. North Platte-Sunday, Feb. 19 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.