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Cloud County Baseball Wins Ninth-Straight Game, Sweeps Garden City to Move to 32-8 Overall

Cloud County Baseball Wins Ninth-Straight Game, Sweeps Garden City to Move to 32-8 Overall
Cloud County Baseball Wins Ninth-Straight Game, Sweeps Garden City to Move to 32-8 Overall

For the second time this season, the Cloud County Community College baseball team would manage to back up a Friday afternoon home doubleheader sweep with a road sweep the following day by defeating Garden City Community College by scores of 10-4 and 17-10 to complete a four-game series sweep at Williams Stadium in Garden City, Kansas on Saturday, April 9th.

Matching a season-long nine-game winning streak, Cloud County is now 32-8 overall and moves into a tie for first place in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference West Division after picking up their 15th conference win to improve to 15-5. Garden City meanwhile falls to 10-26-1 and 3-13 in the KJCCC after dropping their eighth-straight contest.

GAME ONE:
The T-Birds would save most of their damage for the top of the third inning in the opening game of the doubleheader as the Broncbusters would pick up a single run on two hits in the bottom of the first before leaving the bases loaded in what would prove to be a key moment in the game with a strikeout ending the inning and limiting the damage for CCCC to just one run. Cloud County would then put two runners on with no outs before loading the bases with two outs in the top of the second but see a similar fate occur as a strikeout would end the second-straight half-inning of play with the bases loaded.

Following a one-two-three bottom of the second, the T-Birds would put together a game-changing top of the third that would feature six hits with four of the six hits going for extra bases as Kolden HowertonTy Wevers, and Tristan Tenorio would all hit doubles before seeing Ian Riley hit a two-run inside-the-park home run that would cap off a seven-run inning to knock the GCCC starting pitcher out of the game. CCCC's six-run lead would be cut into by Garden City in the bottom of the third however as back-to-back base hits to start the inning would set up for a pair of sacrifice flies to bring home two runs and make things a 7-3 contest heading into the top of the fourth.

Not yet done with the offensive power, CCCC would take advantage of a Broncbuster error in the top of the fourth to push across another run before plating a ninth run in the game in the top of the fifth on a Tom Poole RBI single to score Riley with two outs in the inning. Garden City responded in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run to get back within five at 9-4, but it would be all the closer that the Broncbusters could get as the T-Birds would push across one more run on two hits in the top of the seventh to secure at minimum a series win in the series.

Eight different players would contribute to the 11-hit performance by Cloud County as the T-Birds would be led by a three-hit performance from Danny Infante that included two runs batted in and a walk for the Fort Worth, Texas native. Riley would score three times in a two-for-four performance that also included a hit-by-pitch and two RBIs of his own as CCCC would get production from all part of the lineup.

On the mound, freshman Jack Mount would earn the victory following a season-long six-inning outing that featured nine strikeouts while allowing just four runs on seven hits. Reliever Aaron Hayes would also see action, throwing a perfect bottom of the seventh with two strikeouts to finish off the game for CCCC.

GAME TWO:
Attempting to earn a series sweep for the second time in three weeks against a conference foe would be anything but easy in the early going for Cloud County as back-to-back hits to start the game would be all that CCCC could produce on the offensive end through the first two innings of action. Garden City would get off to a strong start in the bottom of the first by putting together a two-out rally that would feature an RBI double to tie the game before a bunt single and RBI single would give the Broncbusters their first lead at 2-1.

GCCC would add to their lead in the bottom of the second with a solo home run to make it a 3-1 contest heading into the third where they would see Cloud County answer back with a solo homer of their own coming off the bat of Poole with one out. Not to be outdone, the Broncbusters would hit another solo home run in the bottom of the third to go back up by a two-run margin as things would stay at a 4-2 contest until the top of the fifth.

Held to just two runs on four hits through four innings of play, Cloud County would pick up another run in the top of the fifth as a leadoff walk for Infante would be followed by a groundout, advancement on a dropped third strike, and wild pitch to bring CCCC within one. After a pitching change by the T-Birds would lead to a one-two-three bottom of the fifth, CCCC made the most of another leadoff walk as nine-hole hitter Adler Pierson blasted a go-ahead two-run home run to put Cloud County up by a 5-4 margin.

The one-run lead would not face much resistance in the bottom of the sixth as another shutdown inning from Hayes would keep momentum with Cloud County heading to the seventh where things would become all T-Birds heading into the final innings of the contest. Two walks and a single would load the bases with no outs and put Garden City into their biggest jam of the game as a strikeout would be followed by a two-RBI double from Riley to give CCCC some much-needed insurance runs. Following an infield pop out, Poole would drive home another two runs with a base-hit single to extend the inning before seeing an Infante single and wild pitch bring home the fifth run in the inning to turn a one-run lead into a six-run lead for the T-Birds.

Refusing to go away quietly, Garden City would respond with three runs on two hits and a hit batter in their end of the seventh as Cloud County would once again find themselves in a situation where a save opportunity might need to be converted to get the victory. Instead of worrying about the potential situation where pitching would need to be relied upon, the T-Birds decided to put together a two-run top of the eighth with a Karson Green RBI single and wild pitch on a Pierson walk to push the lead back out to five at 12-7 before working out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the bottom of the eighth.

One final crooked number would be put up on the scoreboard in the top of the ninth by Cloud County as a single, fielding error, and walk would load the bases for Joel Benes who would hit his second home run of the week and first grand slam of the season to completely put the game on ice. CCCC managed to tack on one more un in the inning with a Noah Unzicker pinch-hit RBI double to give the T-Birds their largest lead of the series at 17-7 before allowing three runs in the bottom of the ninth to settle for a seven-run victory.

After being held to just nine runs in a doubleheader sweep on Friday and just two runs through the first four innings of game two on Saturday, Cloud County would manage to score 14 runs in the final five innings as 15 hits, 12 walks, and two hit batters would lead to the fifth time this season that CCCC has scored at least 17 runs. Asides from the four runs driven in by Benes, Poole would drive in three runs and score three times as part of a three-for-five performance at the plate while Riley, Infante, Pierson, and Williams Camacho-Soto all had multiple hits.

In his second outing of the day, Hayes would pick up his fifth win of the year after throwing three innings in relief of Haden Dow who would strike out three in four innings of work as the T-Birds would use a total of four pitchers in the game. Also seeing action on the mound would be Benes and Jacob Shaw, with CCCC as a team combining for 10 strikeouts.

What's Next?
With just 12 conference games remaining in the regular season, Cloud County will next be in action on Thursday, April 14th with a 1 PM doubleheader at Hutchinson Community College. The Blue Dragons managed to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of Barton Community College by winning the final game of the series on Saturday afternoon by a score of 12-11 to improve to 19-15 overall and 9-7 in the KJCCC ahead of a non-conference home game on Tuesday afternoon against Cowley Community College.