By Mike Pilosof
El Dorado, KS-Despite an up-and-down season, Becky Gundy's team showed in the playoffs some of the promise they exhibited early in the 2017 season.
After taking down Pratt and knocking off Colby, the Broncbusters were within two games of reaching the Region VI Finals for the second time in three years. But Dodge City's Kylie Fox had other ideas, and her walk-off, RBI single in extra innings gave the Conquistadors a 4-3 win in the consolation second round of the Region VI tournament at East Park.
In a losing effort, Garden City (18-36, 5-19) starting pitcher Desiree Perea had one of her most impressive outings of the season. She allowed just one hit while retiring five out of the first seven hitters she faced. But in the third, Brittney Gonzalez reached on a bunt single before swiping second. Then, with a runner in scoring position, Breanna Guerrero singled right back up the middle, bringing Gonzalez around for a 1-0 lead.
The score stayed that way until the sixth. Rebekah Roberts poked a one-out single to center. Then it was Erica Vessels crushing a two-run bomb over the left-field fence for a 2-1 Garden City advantage.
But the Conquistadors answered back in the bottom half. Guerrero led off with an infield single; then took second on Taylor Menard's sacrifice bunt. Adreanna Guerrero followed with a single that put runners on the corners before (Breanna) Guerrero came across with the tying run on an error by Vessels at short. But Perea did her best work under pressure. With a runner at second, she struck out Fox and got Brooklyn Botts to fly out to end the inning.
Garden City appeared to have a spot in the consolation semifinals all but wrapped up when Micaela Martinez tattooed a leadoff homer in the seventh. But the Conquistadors would not go away. Down to their final three outs, Morgan Ihle ripped a double down the line. Two batters later, Gonzalez slapped a shot to the gap in left-center, bringing the tying run home. With the winning run at second, Perea again persevered-inducing back-to-back fly outs to Guerrero and Menard to end the inning.
After Garden City went in order in the eighth, Dodge City put an end to things in their half. (Adreanna) Guerrero reached on an error by third basemen Nicole Milford before taking second on Kim Herron's sacrifice bunt. That setup Fox's dramatics.
Herron improved to 26-17 in the circle for Dodge City (25-19, 11-13), allowing three runs on six hits in eight innings. Her counterpart Perea dropped to 7-14, allowing three earned runs on eight hits. She struck out four.