After bolting out of the gates to an 8-0 mark in Jayhawk West play the Barton baseball team came back to the pack over the weekend.
The Cougars were swept at Dodge City, dropping two games Friday and two more Saturday over the Easter weekend.
Barton lost three of the four by two runs or less. The Cougars lost 4-3 and 10-4 Saturday then dropped a pair of pitching duels Saturday, 3-1 and 3-2. The final game was lost in heart-breaking fashion on a balk.
The Cougars are now 18-11 overall and 8-4 in the West. Dodge City is 23-8 and 11-5.
Hutchinson and Colby now lead the West at 12-4 with Dodge City and Garden City at 11-5.
The Cougars received good pitching for the most part but couldn’t muster much offense.
The Cougars lost the series opener in the same fashion they have won several games this season - walk off fashion.
Barton had a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh when Dodge plated two runs for the win.
The Conquistadors homered to start the inning and finished things off with a play at the plate in which the slide knocked the ball loose for the winning run.
Dayton Pomeroy went 3-for-3 in the loss for Barton and Ryan Schippers added two hits and scored twice.
Dodge City carried the momentum into the next game, scoring six times in the second inning. Barton managed 14 hits in the loss but left 11 runners on base. Michael Sinks had three hits for the Cougars. Drake Bliss had a pair of doubles.
Saturday the Cougars received a stellar pitching effort from Mason Hiser. The freshman from Augusta gave up six hits and three runs – all in the fifth inning.
Barton took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth when Cole Henley scored on a Conquistador error. But Dodge answered with the 3-run bottom half of the inning. That would be all the scoring in the contest.
Barton managed only four hits in the loss – two each by Pomeroy and Henley.
In the series finale, Barton again lost in the final inning. Barton took a 1-0 lead in the when Sinks singled in Bliss. The game stayed that way until Dodge tied it in the eighth.
It looked like it was Barton who was going to get the late-inning when Ryan McClure had a 2-out double and Henley followed with a triple to give Barton a 2-1 lead.
But a pair of errors and a walk loaded the bases for Dodge City with no one out in the bottom of the ninth.
The Cougars appeared to be on their way to working out of the jam when Ben Wright got a big strike out and followed by coaxing Dodge City into an infield fly.
But a 2-out single tied the game and a balk ended the game in heart-breaking fashion for Barton.
Cody Brewer threw eight strong innings, allowing just one run and four hits. Henley led Barton with three hits.
The Cougars will look to rebound from the sweep with a single game Tuesday against Hesston before hosting Garden City this weekend in Jayhawk West play. First pitch at 1:30 Saturday and Sunday at Lawson-Biggs Field.