Buffs have mixed results against TMP
By BRETT MARSHALL
By BRETT MARSHALL
When the Tuesday doubleheader at Clint Lightner Stadium ended for the Garden City Buffaloes' baseball team, there was reason for smiles, and reason for frowns.
It was one of those days where the Buffs had reasons for optimism, but also realism of things still can be improved.
That's what they got when they captured the first game of the day-night twin bill with the TMP-Marian Monarchs, capturing the opening game 12-5 before falling in the late one, 10-4. The split left the Buffs with an early 2-4 record, and they will return back to the diamond at 4 p.m. Friday with a home doubleheader against Wichita North.
In the opening triumph, the Buffs wasted little time in jumping on the Monarchs, striking for five runs in the bottom of the first.
And the opening launching pad came from junior left-handed hitter Marcus Zapata, who crushed the first pitch from TMP starter Kameron Schmidt over the right field fence for a two-run home run. Starting pitcher Mario Montoya helped his cause with a run-scoring double and Daven Acker added a two-run single for the early outburst.
"The first one was straight down the middle, and I knew when I got it that it had a chance to get out," Zapata said of his first home run.
TMP finally got its offense going in the fourth, scoring five runs to knot the score as they got to Montoya and then reliever David Flores. Two errors and three walked batters by Garden aided the Monarchs.
And just as easily as they had taken the early lead, and then giving it back, the Buffs responded to take command for good.
In their half of the fourth, Ivan Gutierrez ripped a two-run single and Emilio Parr drove in another run with a single, making it 8-5.
"We swang it well, and we have so far in the games we've played," said GCHS coach Bill Wilson. "We tried to let 'em back in the game and lost control. We should have put the foot to the pedal and put it away. But we didn't. We're still trying to learn how to play with a lead, and know that we're good enough to win those games."
The Buffs, though, didn't give the lead back to the Monarchs this time. They added four more runs in the sixth, with Zapata provided the fireworks again, a home run with two outs that started the final offensive surge. Montoya provided a two-run single to cap off the win. Daniel Flores, who pitched the final three and two-thirds innings, picked up the win.
"We got the win and everybody came out aggressive," said Zapata, who had his first multi-home run game of his career. "The second home run I wasn't sure. I thought I got it over him, but didn't know if it would get out."
In the nightcap, the Monarchs returned the favor in spades, cracking out 15 hits off Gutierrez and reliever Acker. TMP scored six times in the second inning with the benefit of six hits. The Buffs made mild rallies in the fourth and fifth with two runs in each inning, slicing the deficit to 7-4, but couldn't get any closer.
The Buffs missed golden opportunities in the second and third, but left the bases loaded in the second and two runners stranded in the third.
"From the penthouse to the outhouse a little bit," Wilson said from the first game to the second. "We're not making the right pitches when we need to, putting it in their wheelhouse after we think we've made one good pitch. Then, we missed a couple of signs and ran ourselves out of some good opportunities."
The Buffs did manage nine hits in the second game, giving them 22 for the doubleheader, something Wilson pointed to as an early-season positive.
"We're doing a lot of good things at the plate, and defensively, we're doing a good job on the infield," Wilson said. "We've got some work to do in the outfield. That's kind of killing us at times. There's a ton of work to do and the kids need to take it as a challenge, that we're gonna get better."
In the opener, Zapata's hot bat provided three hits, three RBIs and three runs scored. Thomas Solorio, Gutierrez, Parr and Montoya had two hits each. In the late game, Acker had three hits, including a double, while Montoya, Martin Terrazas, Jacob Rivas each had a double.
Garden City 12, TMP-Marian 5
TMP-Marian 000 500 0 -- 5 6 0
Garden City 500 304 x -- 12 13 5
Schmidt, Werth (5) and Gottschalk; Montoya, Flores (4) and Solorio. WP--Flores; LP--Schmidt. 2B--TMP (Werth, Stults), Garden City (Montoya). HR--Garden City (Zapata 2). LOB--TMP 4, Garden City 4.
TMP-Marian 10, Garden City 4
TMP-Marian 060 102 1 -- 10 15 1
Garden City 000 220 0 -- 4 9 2
Stults and Gottschalk; Gutierrez, Acker (2) and Solorio. 2B--TMP (Romme, Werth, Schippers), Garden City (Montoya, Acker, Terrazas, Rivas). LOB--TMP 9, Garden City 11.