Lady Buffs dominate after long layoff
By BRETT MARSHALL
By BRETT MARSHALL
It seemed like an eternity since the Garden City Lady Buffaloes had played a softball game this season.
In reality, it had been 12 days. And when the Lady Buffs did open their season, they were able to play just one of an originally scheduled doubleheader with Pampa, Texas.
On Thursday, one week after inclement weather had forced postponement of their game with TMP-Marian of Hays, the Lady Buffs found their way back to the diamond, and they made the most of it.
Going against an inexperienced team comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores, the Lady Buffs handcuffed the Monarchs in a pair of run-rule decisions, 15-0 in three innings, and 10-0 in six innings, at Tangeman Sports Complex.
In the process, junior right-hander Dusti Befort tossed a no-hitter in the opener, and then freshman Abbie Dart followed suit with her own no-hit game.
Befort was effective, striking out seven of the 10 batters she faced. The lone base runner came on a walk in the first inning, but that was as far as a Monarch runner could get.
Dart, meanwhile, was just as sharp, striking out 13, walking one and hitting one batter. Another TMP runner reached on an error. The closest the Monarchs came to registering a hit came when Katelyn Zimmerman lined a shot to right field only to have Cynthia Parra make a diving catch to end the inning.
Shea Nordby, who caught the opening game and then was the designated player in Game 2, had a big day at the plate, driving in six runs in the twin bill. She had a pair of singles in the opener and had a double and two-run single in the second game.
"I just tried to keep my head up and not get down on myself," Nordby said. "It was hard to tell how hard she (Laurel Hageman) was throwing. It was a lot slower than what we see in practice. You just had to wait longer on the pitch, and I'm just trying to learn how to get the batting down."
For Dart, the wait was agonizingly long as she made her high school career debut.
"It was very nerveracking, but once I got used to it, I thought things worked out pretty good," Dart said. "My change-up and the inside fastball with some drops were my best pitches. I was just trying to keep them guessing."
Dart helped her own cause in the second game, getting three hits, including a double and triple, drove in one run and scored twice.
"It was really hard to hit that speed," Dart said of TMP pitcher Hageman. "It seemed like it took forever to get to the plate. It was a perfect day to play and it was all good."
In the opening three-inning romp, Jamie St. Clair, Befort, Haley Saldana, Shai Cartmill and Nordby each had two hits. In the second game, Saldana joined Dart with three hits, while Befort, Nordby and Jenna Greenlee had two hits each.
Head coach Trina Moquett was pleased with the team's performance, considering it had been idle for nearly two weeks.
"We were a little impatient at the plate in the second game and that's something we'll have to work on," Moquett said. "I thought Game 1 was what we're supposed to do — get runners on, move them around and then get them across home plate. I think the girls were just excited to get out there and hear something other than me and play somebody else."
In the two games, the Lady Buffs had 27 hits, and on defense committed just one error. They have now played 19 innings with just the one miscue.
"We're doing a lot of good things in the field, and we just want to continue to focus on that," Moquett said.
She was pleased with the overall effort of her two pitchers, and rightfully so.
"We've still got areas to improve because we're gonna face teams better than TMP," Moquett said. "Dusti's not getting some of the pinpoint location that we want, and in a game like today she can get away with mistake pitches. But, she's always competitive and I like that aspect of what she brings. I thought Abbie was really good for her first time pitching in high school. She got a little frustrated there toward the end, but some of her change-ups and drop balls had good location. I'm excited to have her for four years."
Next up for the Lady Buffs (2-1) will be a 4 p.m. doubleheader at Goodland. They won't play at home again until April 22.
TMP-Marian 000 — 0 0 3
Garden City 555 -- 15 13 0
Helget and Michaud; Befort and Nordby. WP--Befort (1-1), LP--Helget. 2B--Garden City (St. Clair, Befort, Dart). LOB--TMP 1, Garden City 4.
TMP-Marian 000 000 -- 0 0 5
Garden City 011 125 -- 10 14 1
Hageman and Michaud; Dart and Saldana. WP--Dart (1-0), LP--Hageman. 2B--Garden City (Dart, Nordby). 3B--Garden City (Dart). LOB--TMP 3, Garden City 9.