Getting a sweep Friday was going to be an arduous task for the Barton Community College softball team. Things started good enough for the Cougars but they could not complete the sweep of the Jayhawk West leaders.
A sweep by Barton would have doubled the amount of losses the West leading Seward County Saints had in conference play entering the twinbill.
In the end it was a split for the Barton against Seward at Cougar Fields. Barton won the opener 12-4 then lost the nightcap by an 8-0 score. With the split of games Barton is now 8-8 in the West and tied for third. Seward remains in first in the West with an 11-3 mark - two of losses have been at the hands of the Cougars.
“We knew Seward was going to be tough from the beginning,” Barton assistant coach Anna Voss said. “It’s good that we got one win out of it. The first game was all about capitalizing on their errors- overthrows and especially passed balls.”
Barton took control of the opening game in the bottom of the third. Barton had taken a 2-1 lead in the first when Brianna Ward clubbed her ninth home run of the season scoring Bailey Hensley. Seward tied it at 2-all in the top of the third.
Three straight walks loaded the bases to start to the bottom of the third and brought up the nation’s leading home run hitter Erica Harper. The Saints pitch carefully to Harper and she, too, drew a walk to give Barton a 3-2 lead.
The Saints battery continued to struggle and a pair of passed balls and a wild pitch empty the bases and Barton a 6-2 lead without a hit. It wasn’t over. Two more walks a passed ball and another wild pitch and Barton had plated five runs without getting a hit or leaving the infield.
More pitching woes in fourth allowed Barton to extend its lead to 9-2. McKenna Mauler single to start the inning then a hit batsman and walk again loaded the base again for Harper. This time she hit into a fielder’s choice to score Mauler. Hensley scored on an illegal pitch and Barton had two more runs on just a single hit.
Barton led 10-4 in the bottom of the sixth when two more runs ended the game by a run rule. Harper finally went deep to start the inning on a homer to left - her 16th of the season - then Brooke Panning scored on an error to end the contest as 12-4.
The final line score was an odd one. Barton scored 12 runs on just five hits. Nine Seward walks, two hit batmen, two wild pitches and three passed ball all contributed to the 12 runs.
Holly Posegate earned the win for the Cougars, allowing four runs on six hits with five strikeouts. She improved to 12-6.
Things weren’t so fortunate for the Cougars in the second game. A 7-run second inning by Seward put the Saints in control early and Barton never recovered in the 8-0 loss. Braydee Bakovich was the only Cougars with two hits in the game.
“As far as the second game, there was a lot of could have, should have, would have moments,” Voss said. “If we could have gotten some calls our way, we could have gotten out of a few innings before they got scary. If we would have made a catch, then we could have gotten out of an inning. It’s just the little mental things.”
The Cougars won’t play again until Wednesday when they travel to Dodge City to take the Conquistadors. Barton is currently tied with Dodge for third place. Dodge is the only team that has swept Barton this season in a West doubleheader. First pitch is at 2 p.m.
“We have to sweep Dodge on Wednesday to stay in a good spot for regional playoffs,” Voss said.