Elite come back, sweep up
By BRETT MARSHALL
By BRETT MARSHALL
It usually doesn't sit well with Garden City Elite baseball coach Lyle Befort when his team falls behind in the first inning of a game.
But that has happened more often than not during this summer of ball for the Harry Renick Legion Post No. 9 team.
Monday night, the opener of a scheduled doubleheader with Ulysses was no different for the Elite when they fell behind 3-0 in the top half of the opening frame.
But unlike a winless weekend at the Kansas Grand Slam Tournament in Salina, the Elite found a way to rally and eventually cruised to a 9-3 victory. It was their 19th win against eight losses.
"I keep telling them that we can't afford to get behind in the first inning all the time," Befort said. "There's sometimes that you're gonna face a tough pitcher and not be able to rally. I want us to be more focused, and take the lead early and then build from there."
Ulysses stung the Elite and starter Thomas Solorio for its three runs off three hits and one Garden City miscue. Rigo Martinez singled and eventually scored on a groundout by Diego Maravilla. Saul Torres walked while Bryan Montoya and Luis Heredia followed with singles. The remaining two runs came home on a throwing error by shortstop Logan Dechant.
The Elite trimmed the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the second when Marcus Zapata walked, Jacob Rivas singled and then both were advanced to second and third on a sacrfice bunt by Ivan Gutierrez. Edgar Montoya and Addison DeHerrera had RBIs off a groundout and a single.
Garden City then took control with a four-run third inning as Solorio, Gutierrez, Montoya and DeHerrera each had an RBI. Three more runs were plated in the fifth to give the Elite some breathing room. Dechant had an RBI single and two more runs came home on a throwing error by Martinez, who was in relief for Manny Monkoyo.
The Elite finished with 10 hits, as Daven Acker, Solorio and DeHerrera led the way with two each. Garden stranded eight runners on the bases. Ulysses was held to five hits by Solorio and reliever Ryder Yakel of Lakin, who just was added to the team's roster on Monday along with Scott City's Sloan Baker.
Both new additions were to bolster the pitching staff which has been overworked in the last two weekends of tournament play and games during the week.
Solorio went four innings, giving up three runs and three hits. Yakel came in the fifth, and in his three innings of work kept Ulysses scoreless and yielded just two hits. He struck out three and didn't walk a batter.
The Elite completed the sweep of the doubleheader with an 11-2 win behind the combined efforts of the newly added Baker and Jesse Ruiz. Ruiz lasted three innings, striking out two and giving up just one run despite walking seven. Sloan cleaned up to finish out the game with two innings, giving up one unearned run on on one walk and no hits, striking out two.
Daniel Flores provided the offensive thump with three hits, including a triple, while driving in one and scoring three times. Dechant also had a triple one 2 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs.
"We weren't getting the extra base hit we were getting at the beginning of the summer," Befort said, referencing the 1-5 record the Elite had in July before beating Ulysses. "We finally got it."
Befort was also happy with the two new additions — Baker and Yakel.
"They both threw hard. They both three good. It will definitely help us in the long run," he said.
The Elite continue their busy July schedule today with a road doubleheader at Goodland. The first game pitch begins at 5 p.m.
Ulysses 300 000 0 -- 3 5 1
GC Elite 024 030 x -- 9 10 2
Monkoyo, Martinez(3) and Montoya; Solorio, Yakel (5) and DeHerrera. W--Solorio; L--Monkoyo. LOB--Ulysses 4, GC Elite 8. 2B--Ulysses (Torres), GC Elite (Dechant, Zapata).
Ulysses 100 10 -- 2 1 2
Garden City 143 3x -- 11 7 1
Ulysses statistics incomplete.
Ruiz, Baker(2) and . W--Ruiz. 3B--Garden City, Dechant, Flores.