By Mike Pilosof
Pratt, KS-The Broncbuster softball team split their doubleheader with Pratt on Wednesday, taking game one 5-3 and losing the finale 7-6.
In game one, Garden City (20-22, 7-11) used a little two-out magic in the first. With Erica Vessels at first following a leadoff single, Ariel Denney scorched a long single to right-center field to score the first run of the day.
Meantime Samantha Akers was dealing in the circle. She worked around a one-out single in the first, and got a big strikeout of Monica Courville in the second after Lyndsey Loomis roped a two-out double. But Pratt finally tagged her for a run in the third, thanks to a walk, a single by Kellie Byers and a hit by pitch that loaded the bases. With the sacks full and ahead 0-2 in the count, Akers threw four straight out of the zone for a bases-loaded walk to Marisa Jonas that tied the game. She got out of trouble there but gave up the go-ahead run on Loomis's solo shot in the fourth that put the Beavers up 2-1.
After Pratt got a run back in the fifth, Carly Ochoa gave the Broncbusters some much-needed insurance in the sixth with a run-scoring single that pushed Garden City's advantage to 5-3.
Akers took it from there, retiring six out of the final seven hitters she face. The sophomore allowed just two earned runs on five hits while striking out seven. Dilley collected three hits, while Vessels, Ochoca, Denney and Hernandez all recorded multi-hit games.
Ariana Perales took the loss for Pratt (11-37, 2-20) allowing two earned runs on 11 hits in five innings.
In game two, Garden City nearly dug themselves out of a five-run hole.
After the Broncbusters struck first in the first on Angel Jimenez's sacrifice fly, the Beavers notched the equalizer a half inning later. Loomis hit an RBI single to tie it; then Jessy Ortiz's error at third in the second put the Beavers in front 2-1.
Garden City evened the score in the fifth, thanks to Jimenez's sac fly. But Michelle Castillo's RBI groundout in the bottom half, coupled with Byers' three-run triple in the sixth and MaKenzie Anderson's run-scoring single, gave the home team a 7-2 lead.
Trailing by five, and down to their final three outs, the Broncbusters put a rally together. Denney's bases-clearing triple, followed by Muxlow-Volk's RBI single pulled Garden City to within one, 7-6. But from there, Pratt reliever Ariana Perales got Hannah Adams to strike out, Bailey Brawner to fly out, and Dilley to ground out to end the game.
Marissa Montiel took the loss for Garden City, allowing five earned runs on eight hits in six innings. She struck out six. Muxlow-Volk was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Denney collected two hits and drove in three.
Lexi Sanborn was the winning pitcher, yielding six runs on five hits in six innings. Anderson was 3-for-4 at the dish, and Byers drove in three.
Next up: Garden City vs. Seward County-Saturday, April 14-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.