By Mike Pilosof
Photo by Adam Shrimplin
Garden City, KS-There are some games where you just simply tip your cap.
Such was the case in Thursday's series opener.
Zach Bravo was simply overpowering, tossing his fifth complete game of the year, Parker Base hit a backbreaking home run, and Butler beat Garden City in game one 6-0 at Williams Stadium.
"We were simply outmatched in game one," Broncbusters Head Coach Chris Finnegan said. "We were just thoroughly outplayed."
Garden City's offense, which has struggled mightily at home this season, got off to another slow start. Meantime, the Grizzly bats were wide awake. Javier Pena's RBI double in the first, gave Butler a 1-0 advantage. In the second, Tanyon Schafer singled with one out, moved to third on Colby Deaville's double; then came home on a passed ball. Patrick Bethea followed with a sacrifice fly, Josh Cox tripled to deep center, and Butler was up 4-0.
"I don't think Eric (Heiman) pitched poorly at all," Finnegan said. "I think we made a mistake on one pitch, and that was on me. I thought he worked his changeup really well to get them off of his fastball."
"We just flat out couldn't do anything," Finnegan said. "But give all the credit to their pitcher. He was great."
Bravo retired Garden City in order in the first; worked around a one-out single in the second, maneuvered around a two-out walk in the third and Klein's one-out double in the fourth. In the fifth, the Broncbusters had a runner in scoring position thanks to Deaville's error at short. But Johnson was picked off, Chris Lara struck out swinging and Turner McDonald grounded out to first.
"It's kind of the same song; same dance for us," Finnegan said. "It's been that way all year. We get a guy on second, and can't bring him in."
Garden City had their best chance to score in the sixth when Corbin Truslow drew a five-pitch walk, and Klein was hit by a pitch. By the threat was doused when Finley grounded into a force play to end the inning.
While the Broncbusters short circuited for most of the afternoon, Butler added to their lead. Parker Base smashed Eric Heiman's elevated fastball over the right-field fence in the fifth for his eighth homer of the season, and Colby Standard smacked an RBI single in the seventh to put the Grizzlies up 6-0.
Bravo polished off a dominant performance with seven strikeouts, the eighth time this year he's had seven or more in a game. Cox tallied his 15th multi-hit game of the year for Butler, who won their eighth consecutive game.
Heiman dropped to 3-4 on the bump, giving up six runs on eight hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked four.