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Barton comeback bid against Johnson County comes up shy
spt BCC Lorardi pitches
Of Barton left-hander Niccolo Loardis eight strikeouts against Johnson County, seven were called third strikes during Saturdays NJCAA Region VI Super Regional in Chanute. - photo by Mack McClure Great Bend

CHANUTE — An eighth-inning surge by Barton Community College turned out to be one run too few.
Trailing Johnson County 8-3 entering the bottom half of the eighth, the Cougars scored four runs to close the gap to 8-7. With two out in the ninth, Barton had the potential tying and winning runs on first and second in Jordan Slade and Tanner Carpenter after they drew walks.
But Johnson County reliever Vince Spilker induced Frederico Castagnini into hitting a high pop fly to second base to end the game as Johnson County won 8-7 in a first-round game of the National Junior College Athletics Association Region VI Super Regional at Hudson Field.
As far as Barton head coach Mike Warren was concerned, the outcome was determined long before the Cougars’ late-inning comeback bid.
“We gave up three unearned runs right at the beginning,” Warren said of the Cougars committing four costly errors in the game, including two during the first five innings. “I looked up (at the scoreboard) one time and it was 3-1 (Johnson County in the lead) and they hadn’t had a hit yet. We just kept booting it and kicking it around.
“I told them and I told everybody else that if we pitched and played defense, we’d be fine because we’re going to hit. We got two out of three right. We just didn’t get the third one right.”
Surprise starter Niccolo Loardi of Barton lost his no-hitter on Mike Andries’ single with two out in the fifth, where Johnson County scored three runs to build a 6-3 lead after Barton had tied the game in the fourth.
“He pitched well,” Warren said “Niccolo Loardi was a wild card. He was our closer all year, and he went out there and pitched great. He deserved better.
“We went out and made pitches. We made some mistakes, but it was after we made some mistakes defensively and you can’t do that. You’ve got to pitch through it.”
Warren said he named Loardi, a left-hander, the opening-game starter for several reasons.
“The reason we did that is because Johnson County runs a lot,” Warren said, “and a left-hander combats that plus he’s been our closer all year.
“His arm’s fresh, and he did exactly what I thought he would. We did not know how long he’s going to go, but we made him throw a lot more pitches than he should have with the errors.”
Johnson County’s Chad Shannon led off the game by reaching first base on catcher’s interference by the Cougars’ Mitch Slauter. He stole both second and third and scored after Blake Sturgeon lifted a sacrifice fly to center field.
Barton’s Slade tied the game at 1-1 in the third after hitting a lead-off home run over the wall in left-center field. Castagnini followed with a walk, Slauter singled up the middle and Nathan Miller drew a base on balls to load the bases.
But Johnson County pitcher Cody Schumacher, a Missouri State University signee, who lasted 7 2/3 innings, struck out Ryan Busboom to get out of the jam.
Loardi was his own worst enemy in the fourth, hitting Andries with one out and walking Caleb Hallman. Skylar Murray followed by reaching on an error on BCC second baseman Tanner Carpenter.
Troy Stoffgren followed by reaching on a fielder’s choice, forcing Murray at second with Andries scoring for a 2-1 lead. Hallman scored on a wild pitch for a 3-1 Johnson County lead.
Barton scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth after two outs were recorded to knot the score at 3-3. Carpenter walked and No. 9 hitter Adam Geisick followed by pulling a double down the right-field line to drive in Carpenter. Slade then followed with an RBI single, knocking in Geisick.
After the first two outs were recorded in Johnson County’s half of the fifth, Loardi hit Ryan Hall with a pitch before Andries’ base hit put runners at the corners.
Hallman followed by reaching on an error on BCC shortstop Castagnini, allowing Hall to score. Murray stroked a run-scoring single, driving in Andries to push the Cavaliers’ lead to 5-3.
Warren then came out of the dugout and pulled Loardi in favor of left-hander Tayler Davis. Stoffgren greeted him by delivering an RBI single, driving in Hallman to make it 6-3.
The Cavaliers extended their lead to 8-3 after scoring a pair of runs in the seventh, capitalizing on errors on Carpenter and Busboom. They scored their decisive eighth run on Stoffgren’s sacrifice fly.
Michael Tennessen led off Barton’s half of the eighth with a solo homer that drifted over the wall in left, making it 8-4. Clayton Garland followed with a single before the next two batters were retired.
Slade then tripled to center, driving in Garland to trim the margin to 8-5.
Right-hander Tyler Van Gerpin relieved Schumacher at that juncture and he hit Castagnini with a pitch to put runners on first and second. Slauter then singled in Slade to make it 8-6.
The bases were full of Cougars after Miller walked and Busboom was hit by a pitch. But Alex Hill, who relieved Van Gerpin, got Tennessen, the 10th batter to come to the plate in the eighth, on a groundout to second to end the inning.

Region VI Baseball
Super Regional
 At Chanute
Hudson Field
Opening round
Johnson County 8, Barton 7
                   123  456  789         R  H   E
Johnson    100  230  200  —  8   6    0
Barton       001  200  04x  —   7   9    4

     Cody Schumacher, Tyler Van Gerpin (8), Alex Hill, Vince Spilker  & Caleb Hallman; Niccolo Loardi, Tayler Davis (5), A.J. Green (7), Kyle LeRoy & Mitch Slauter. W — Schumacher. L — Loardi. S — Spilker. 2B — Johnson County (Chad Shannon); Barton (Adam Geisick). 3B — Barton (Jordan Slade). HR — Barton (Slade).

Region VI Baseball
Super Regional
At Arkansas City

Cowley 12, Cloud County 4
Garden City 10, Kansas City Kansas 2
Cowley vs. Kansas City Kansas, (n)
At Liberal
Seward County 6, Labette 2
Coffeyville 8, Hutchinson 2
Hutchinson vs. Labette, (n)
At Chanute
Johnson County 8, Barton 7
Neosho County 8, Pratt 6
Pratt 6, Barton 5
At Colby
Butler 9, Fort Scott 3
Colby 6, Highland 0
Fort Scott 13, Highland 7