Cooper Thayer deserved to walk off the mound with a little swag.
The Garden City High School senior snagged the hard-hit comebacker, took a couple of steps to first and lobbed over the final out to finish off the Buffaloes’ sweep of Hays-Thomas More Prep on Thursday at Clint Lightner Stadium.
The defensive highlight just capped an outstanding day for the Buffs’ best returning player, as Thayer began the day with a first-inning single in the opener — and then tied that game later with an RBI single as the Buffs rallied to win 6-4 — before he closed the day with a dominant shutout performance on the mound in the nightcap, a 4-0 win.
“It felt good,” Thayer said of the wins, especially after the recent weather denied the Buffs outside practices. “It’s been a long, harsh winter stuck indoors.”
The warmer weather on Thursday — the games were moved up a day due to rain forecast for Friday — and the two wins helped make up for it.
“I’ve been watching Garden City High School baseball since I was a kid, and I can’t remember a time whenever we had a sweep right off the bat at home,” Thayer said. “If we have recently, I can’t remember it.”
Thayer’s memory is pretty accurate, as he was in elementary school the last time it happened in 2007.
The Buffs had to rally late in the opener to pull off the feat, falling behind 4-2 in the fifth. Rawley Davidson cut the deficit in half with a two-out RBI triple in the bottom of the fifth. Then, in the sixth, Jayden Escamilla led off with a walk, and then stole second. Thayer then singled up the middle to bring Escamilla in to draw even.
TMP advanced to third just twice all game, despite three more errors on the Buffs’ defense — they had four in the first game.
It was the Monarchs' first game under Aaron Breit, who was named TMP head coach last fall, replacing Dustin Washburn, now an assistant coach at Fort Hays State University. The Monarchs were 3A state runner-ups last year.
TMP will play a doubleheader at Holcomb on Tuesday.