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Barton baseball looking to make some noise in Wichita at Region VI

POSTED May 9, 2018 3:36 p.m.

It’s been a pretty good season so far for the Barton baseball team.
The Cougars won their first Jayhawk West title in 24 years. Barton is headed back to Wichita and the double-elimination portion of the Region VI tournament for the second straight year. The Cougars have posted, to this point, the second most wins in school history with their 42-12 record.
But Barton hasn’t been a threat in the Region VI post-season since 2012. In fact over the past 17 years, the Cougars have made a deep run just twice, and both of them were in sub-Regionals as the post-season format has changed several time over the past couple of decades.
In 2002, the team that went 44-14 and holds the school record for wins, Barton made it to the Western Sub-Regional semifinals on its home field. In 2012, Barton made it to a Sub-Regional final, losing to Cowley in Garden City. Other than those two years, Barton has a combined two wins in the tournament – not counting first round series.
A Region VI title is something Barton hasn’t brought home since 1979.
The Cougars will open the Region VI tournament at 1 pm Friday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita against Johnson County.
“It’s time to take this program to another level and make some noise in Wichita,” Coach Brent Biggs said. “We’re not just happy to be in Wichita anymore. We expect it. Now we need to win some games there and make a little noise.”
In fact, the Cougars have one win at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in post season play. That came back in 2009 over, of all teams, Johnson County.
“It’s hard to get through the Region VI tournament,” Coach Biggs. “Any double-elimination tournament is hard to survive, especially if you lose early and have to go deeper into your pitching staff.
“Right now our focus is solely on Johnson County and that first game.”
No surprise there.
Johnson is a traditional baseball power in the Jayhawk East. The school has 10 East titles in its history, to go with four Region VI titles and two NJCAA World Series appearances. Those came in 2008 and 2014.
And while 40-wins is most certainly a big accomplishment, its nearly common place for the Cavaliers in recent seasons. Johnson is 36-21 this year but has 40-wins seasons to its credit in the four previous seasons and eight times in the last 11 years.
The Cavaliers coach, Kent Shelley, picked up his 1000th career win at the school this past April.
Leading the way for the Cavaliers hitting has been Ty Herrenbruck and Malik Williams. Herrenbruck is hitting .414 with 13 home runs and 17 RBI. Williams is hitting .404 and leads Johnson with 17 homers and 76 RBI.
Six different regulars are hitting better than .350 on the season. As a team, Johnson is hitting .340.
On the mound, Zachary Ebert has been fabulous. The freshman is 6-3 with a 3.62 ERA. He has a staggering 104 strikeouts in 77 innings to go against just 18 walks. Brad Kincaid has also been solid with a 7-3 mark and a 4.19 ERA with 86 Ks in 62 innings. Look for one of those two to get the call Friday.
Barton had been led this year by West Pitcher of the Year candidate Josh Hendrickson. The sophomore transfer has a 9-2 record with a 2.35 ERA. His strikeout to walk ratio is ridiculous at 105-15 in 77 innings.
Hendrickson just picked up his third West Pitcher of the Week award for his eight-inning, 11-strikeout shutout win over Allen County in the opening round series of the Region VI.
At the plate, sophomores Kaden Fowler and Brett Bonar continue to lead a dangerous group of hitters. Fowler is hitting .414 with 11 home runs and 61 RBI. Bonar is hitting .407 with 10 homers and 58 RBI. Great Bend sophomore Brady Michel is hitting .353 with seven home runs and 50 RBI. All three have an OPS over 1.000.
The winner of the Barton-Johnson game will get a West school in the second round. Awaiting will be the winner of the Colby and Seward County game. The losers will match up as well in the loser’s bracket.
In the bottom half of the bracket, East Champion and the No. 8 team in the NJCAA in Cowley. The Tigers are 42-9 this season and the top seed in the region. They will take on Hutchinson in the first round with Neosho and KCK going head-to-head in the other game in the bottom of the bracket.

Region VI Double-elimination
at Lawrence-Dumont in Wichita
Friday, May 11
G1 – 6 Colby (31-22) v 14 Seward (29-28) 10 am
G2 –2 Barton (42-12) v 7 Johnson (36-21) 1 pm
G3 – 1 Cowley (42-9) v 8 Hutch (36-20), 4 pm
G4 – 5 Neosho (40-18) v 13 KCK (33-24), 7 pm

Saturday, May 12
G5* – Loser G1 v Loser G2, 10 am
G6* – Loser G3 v Loser G4, 1 pm
G7 – Winner G1 v Winner G2, 4 pm
G8 – Winner G3 v Winner G4, 7 pm

Sunday, May 13
G9* – Winner G6 v Loser G7, 10 am
G10* – Winner G5 v Loser G8, 1 pm
G11 – Winner G7 v Winner G8, 4 pm
G12* – Winner G9 v Winner G10, 7 pm

Monday, May 14
G13* – Winner G12 v Loser G11, 4 pm
G14 – Winner G 11 v Winner G13, 7 pm
Tuesday, May 15
G15 – Same teams as G14 if needed, 1 pm
* - elimination game

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