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Barton baseball into winner’s bracket final at Region VI

POSTED May 12, 2018 9:19 p.m.

WICHITA — The post-season has not been kind to the Barton baseball team in recent years.
But the 2018 Cougar baseball team is out to change that.
So far, so good.
Thanks to a pair of big late innings Saturday afternoon, the Cougars won their first two games in the Region VI Championships and earned a spot in the winner’s bracket final of the double-elimination tournament at Lawrence-Dumont Field in Wichita.
Barton easily beat Johnson County Friday in the first round, 8-0, then rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win the second round game over Jayhawk West rival Seward County, 7-5, Saturday.
“We just kept fighting,” Coach Brent Biggs said. “We looked a little lost at the plate early against Seward, but broke through and got things going.”
Barton will now play in the winner’s bracket final Sunday afternoon for the right to secure a spot in the championship game on Monday.
It didn’t look like Barton was on track for a spot in the winner’s bracket final against the Saints until a big sixth inning changed the direction of the contest.
Seward took a 3-0 lead, scoring one run in the second inning and adding two more in the third.
Barton cut that lead to 3-1 in the fifth inning when a Paul Claassen sac fly scored Brett Erickson.
Barton followed by putting four runs on the board to take the lead in the sixth.
The big blow in the inning came when Great Bend native Brady Michel deposited a 1-2 off-speed pitch over the left field fence for a 3-run home run to give Barton a 5-3 lead.
“That was big at bat for us,” Coach Biggs said. “That was the turning point of the game. That was a tremendous at bat he put together and changed the momentum of the contest.”
That lead held until the eighth. Seward’s Spencer Sackett hammered his own home run over the left field fence, a 2-run shot to tie the game at 5-all.
The Cougars struck again in the bottom of the inning. Brett Bonar led off by reaching on an error when his high pop found the triangle between two outfielders and the second baseman. The ball deflected off the glove of a diving center fielder and put Bonar on to lead off the inning.
With one out, Brett Erickson lined a double down the left field line that scored Bonar to give Barton the lead back. Dawson Pomeroy followed with a single to score Bonar and the Cougars had a 2-run lead into the final inning.
The Saints loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the ninth as Sackett came to the plate – the same guy who hit a 2-run home run in the eighth to tie the game. But Pomeroy got Sackett to swing and miss on a 2-2 pitch off the plate to end the game.
Easton Smith got the win in relief to improve to 4-0 on the year and Pomeroy locked up his fourth save.
The Cougars won at Lawrence-Dumont in the Region VI playoffs for the first time since 2009 on Friday when they knocked off Johnson in the opening round.
The Cougars blew the game open in the fourth inning with four runs to take a 6-0 lead.
Barton took a 1-0 lead in the first when Bonar tripled in Carson Engroff. Bonar made it 2-0 in the third when he singled in Brett Huelsmann.
Then came the fourth and exclamation point on the win.
With two outs, Huelsmann made it 3-0 when he doubled down the left field line to score Pomeroy. Harrison Denk followed with a single to score Huelsmann and Barton had a 4-0 lead. Kaden Fowler, fighting illness, follwed with a double to left to score Denk then scored on a double by Engroff and it was a 6-0 lead.
Barton would add two more in the sixth to end the game after seven innings by run-rule. The first of those came when Fowler doubled for the 28th this season to break the single-season record at Barton.
Once again, Josh Hendrickson was superb on the mound for the Cougars. The 6-4 sophomore lefty tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and walking two while striking out eight in the process. Hendrickson is now 10-2 on the season with an ERA of 2.15.
Barton will take on the winner of Saturday’s late game between Cowley and Kansas City Kansas. The winner’s bracket final is set for 4 p.m.

Winner Semifinal
Barton 7, Seward 5
Seward 010 200 020 – 5 12 1
Barton 000 014 02x – 7 10 1
Evans, Pepper (6), Gould (8) and Kuhn; Curry, Howe (7), McClure (8), Smith (8), Pomeroy (9) and Bonar. W – Smith (4-0). L – Pepper (3-2). S – Pomeroy (4). 2B – Ward, Seward; Claassen, Erickson Barton. 3B – Ward, Kuhn, Seward. HR – Sackett, Seward; Michel (8), Barton.

First Round
Barton 8, Johnson 0
Johnson 000 000 0 – 0 5 0
Barton 101 402 x – 8 12 2
Ebert, Ernsdorff (5) and Briney; Hendrickson and Bonar. W – Hendrickson (10-2). L – Ebert (6-4). 2B – Fowler 2, Engroff 2, Huelsmann, Barton. 3B – Bonar, Barton.

Region VI Double-elimination
Friday, May 11
G1 – Seward 10, Colby 0
G2 – Barton 8, Johnson 0
G3 – Cowley 6, Hutchinson 1
G4 – KCK 14, Neosho 6

Saturday, May 12
G5 – Johnson 8, Colby 5 Colby eliminated
G6 – Hutchinson 20, Neosho 3 Neosho eliminated
G7 – Barton 7, Seward 5
G8 – Cowley (43-9) v KCK (34-24), 7 p.m.

Sunday, May 13
G9 – Hutchinson (37-21) v Seward (30-29), 10 am
G10 – Johnson (37-22) v Loser G8, 1 p.m.
G11 – Barton (44-13) v Winner G8, 4 p.m.
G12 – Winner G9 v Winner G10, 7 p.m.

Monday, May 14
G13 – Winner G12 v Loser G11, 4 p.m.
G14 – Winner G11 v Winner G13, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 15
G 15 – Same teams as G14 if needed, 1 p.m.

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