By Mike Pilosof
Photo by Adam Shrimplin
Dodge, City, KS-Just seven days ago, the Broncbuster offense exploded vs. Independence for one of their most complete games of the season.
But on Saturday, in their second straight elimination game, things did not go according to plan.
Cheyenne Bryant drove in two runs, Jen Dunagon struck out eight, and Independence eliminated Garden City from the Region VI Tournament with a 7-5 victory at Legends Park. The Broncbusters season ends at 16-25.
The Pirates, who were fresh off a disappointing loss to Barton, took the early lead in the first. A single and a walk setup Bryant, whose RBI groundout put Independence up 1-0. In the third, the Pirates added two more: a sacrifice fly Boi Hollis and an RBI single by Kiana Turner. And in the fifth, Madison Brasher's error in left allowed two runs to come home to make it 5-0.
As they've done all season long, the Broncbusters clawed their way back in the bottom of the fourth. Devin Hernandez and Ariel Denney stroked back-to-back RBI singles to make it a three-run game. But the rally was cut short once Madison Biller flied out to center.
The Pirates added some insurance in the sixth, getting four straight hits off of Ariel Denney, including an RBI base hit by Kiersten Brown. Three batters later, Bryant was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, giving Independence a 7-2 cushion.
Denney refused to go quietly.
The sophomore put the Broncbusters on her back in the sixth, blasting her third homer of the season: a three-run shot that got Garden City back to within two. Biller followed with a one-out single, bringing the tying run to the plate. But that's as close as they got. Audrey Gray flied out to center, and Kaylee Rogers struck out swinging to end the inning. Garden City then went in order in the seventh.
Biller started the game for Garden City, giving up five runs (0 earned) on four hits in three innings. She gave way to Denney, who yielded two runs on six hits in four innings.
Dunangon threw 111 pitches and got the win for Independence, who advanced to play Dodge City.