By Mike Pilosof
La Junta, CO-Otero mashed four home runs including three in the opener, Alaina Sayler collected four hits, and the Rattlers beat Garden City 17-6 and 7-2 Saturday afternoon.
In game one, it was the Broncbusters who struck first. Gaby Hernandez's two-run single in the first put Garden City up 2-0.
Things stayed that way until the bottom of the second when Mackenzie Hooker doubled on a bloop to right. Otero then took the lead for good when Taylor Tremeling smoked an RBI single. It was all part of a seven-run inning that gave the Rattlers a five-run edge. In the third, Hailey Schaneman led off the frame with a solo shot, and Hannah Gates clubbed an RBI single to center to make it 9-2.
Garden City made things interesting, crawling back to within four once Kaylee Rogers smashed a two-run homer in the top of the fifth that sliced the deficit to 10-6. But Otero scored three times in the bottom half before Hooker's grand slam in the sixth induced the run rule.
Rogers started the game in the circle for the Broncbusters-allowing nine runs on 10 hits in three innings. Lexi Smith was tagged for eight in 2.1 innings of relief. Hernandez went 2-for-3 at the dish with three RBI's in the losing effort.
Sayler knocked in two runs, and Hooker accounted for five for Otero. Starter Adrianna Castillo went the distance, throwing 94 pitches while allowing five runs on 10 hits.
In the second game, Garden City again struck first. Sydney Odle homered with one out in the third to give the Broncbusters a 1-0 lead. Meantime Ariel Denney was cruising, holding the Rattlers scoreless until the fifth. That's when the Otero bats awoke. A sacrifice fly, a Sayler RBI double followed by Arianna Cordova's extra base hit, put the home team up 3-1.
The Broncbusters narrowed the deficit the following inning when Madison Brasher drove in Hernandez from third. But the Rattlers plated five in the sixth, including pinch-hitter Magdalena McLaughlin's solo homer that gave Otero a 7-2 advantage.
Denney was really sharp for Garden City before the Rattlers came up in the fifth. She ended up allowing five earned runs on 10 hits in six innings. She struck out seven. Audrey Graf collected two hits.
Gellermann pitched a complete game for Otero, yielding two earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts in seven innings. Shew threw 123 pitches.