The Barton baseball team had very little trouble in advancing past the opening round of the Region VI tournament.
Barton swept Labette in a pair of games to win the best of three series to start the postseason.
Barton defeated Labette 18-8 Thursday afternoon at Lawson-Biggs Field to complete the sweep. The Cougars won 7-2 on Wednesday.
Barton, the top seed out of the Jayhawk West and the second overall seed in the tournament, advances to the 8-team double elimination portion of the event in Manhattan starting Tuesday.
Barton will open the double elimination bracket with rival Hutchinson. The Blue Dragons went on the road as the fifth seed from the West and beat the East fourth seed Fort Scott in two.
Barton will take a 41-16 mark into the event while Hutchinson is 36-21.
In the win Thursday to wrap up the series, Barton exploded for nine runs in the sixth inning to blow open a close contest.
Barton led 8-6 into that pivotal sixth inning.
Dryden Howse gave a glimpse of what was to come with a leadoff home run in the inning.
The next eight runs came with two outs.
Joel Nieves delivered a big blow, tripling home a pair of runs to make it 11-6. A pair of walks loaded the bases for Henry Hayman, who doubled in two more for a 13-6 lead.
Howse collected his second hit and two more RBI with a single then Connor Allen homered to cap the scoring at 17-6.
Labette scored two in the seventh to keep it from a run-rule but it didn’t matter. Needing only one run to end the game it Howse yet again. The first baseman singled home his fourth RBI of the game to end it at 18-8.
Howse had those three hits and four RBI to go with three runs scored. Ricardo Sanchez also had three hits and finished with two RBI and three runs scored.
Alex Rodgers belted a home run on two hits and scored three times.
The Cougars rode the strong pitching of Zach Thornton and a 6-run second inning to win the series opener.
Thornton gave up four hits with no walks and six strikeouts in the win. He gave up just one earned run. Thornton is 9-0 on the season with a 2.53 ERA.
The Cougars gave Thornton a big lead with a 6-run second inning. Labette walked the first two Barton batters and added a pair of wild pitches to give Barton 1-0 lead without a ball in play. A couple more walks, a wild pitch , a passed ball and a groundout had Barton up 3-0 without a hit in the inning.
The top of the order changed that. Rodgers singled in a run, Sanchez followed suit with another single then Hayman single in another for a 6-0 lead.
Best of 3
Barton 7, Labette 2
Labette 000 000 101 - 2 6 1
Barton 060 010 00x - 7 10 2
Davis, McClain (4), Mitchell (6) and Hoed; Thorton, Bartles (9) and Allen. W - Thornton (9-0). L - Davis (3-6). 2B - Feliciano, Cherry, Labette; Howse, Barton. 3B - Sanchez, Barton. HR - Russell, Labette.
Barton 18, Labette 8
Labette 230 100 2 - 8 13 1
Barton 314 009 1 - 18 16 1
Ortiz, Ronk (3), Schibi (6), McClain (6) and Feliciano; Reynolds, Lanik (2), Cain (7) and Allen. W - Lanik (5-2). L - Ortiz (2-6). 2B - Hyder, Russell, Cherry, Labette; Sanchez, Hayman, Marquis, Bressler, Barton. 3B - Nieves, Barton. HR - Trammell, Labette; Rodgers (4), Howse (3), Allen (10), Barton.
Region VI Baseball Tournament
Plains Region Opening Round
Wednesday, May 11
1 Cowley 10, 16 Seward 0
8 Butler 13, 9 Coffeyville 2
5 Johnson 14, 12 Dodge 7
4 Colby 14, 13 Allen 13 (12)
3 KCK 16, 14 Pratt 6 (8)
11 Neosho 12, 6 Cloud 10
10 Hutch 10, 7 Fort Scott 7
2 Barton 7, 15 Labette 2
Thursday, May 12
1 Cowley 15, 16 Seward 4
8 Butler 7, 9 Coffeyville 5
5 Johnson 7, 12 Dodge 6
4 Colby 17, 13 Allen 7
3 KCK 6, Pratt 5 (12)
6 Cloud 4, 11 Neosho 2
10 Hutch 10, 7 Fort Scott 2
2 Barton 18, 15 Labette 8
Friday, May 13
11 Neosho (25-32) at 6 Cloud (36-16)
Series winners will advance to Double Elimination play starting May 17 in Manhattan