It was just the weekend the Barton Community College baseball team was in need of.
Not only did the Cougars nearly sweep Hutchinson in Jayhawk West baseball, they did it in exciting style. Barton ended the weekend winning three of the four games including a pair walk-off wins.
After a late-inning win Friday to open the series, the Cougars had a pair of walk-off wins Saturday. In the series finale Sunday Barton nearly pulled off another comeback but came up short.
Saturday Barton won 6-5 in extra inning then scored three times in its last at bat to win 13-12 in walk-off fashion. Sunday the Cougars fell behind 6-2 then rallied to tie the game before Hutch pulled away to salvage the final game 9-6. Barton had won the opener 8-5 Friday.
“It was fun to watch our guys compete this weekend,” Coach Brent Biggs said. “No matter what the score or even what inning, there was a feeling in our dugout that we would win the game.
“We have shown signs this season of being a tough, competitive team but we were able to put it together for four games.”
Barton moved into a tie with Hutchinson for fourth in the West with a 13-11 record. Garden City is 15-13 and basically tied as well although it is percentage points back. All those teams are just two games out of first. The conference lead is also a bundled mess with Dodge City, Seward County, and Butler all 15-9.
In the opener Saturday Barton fell behind 4-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning when the comeback Cougars struck. Grant Watkins provided the big blow in the inning – a three-run homer to center that tied the game at four.
The Cougars momentarily took the lead when Jacob Richardson doubled in Lance White in the fourth for a 5-4 advantage.
Hutch evened it the next inning and game stayed tied at 5-all through the scheduled 7-inning affair and headed into the eighth tied.
In the bottom of the eighth Barton wasted little time in winning. Back-to-back singles by Trevor Hughes and White put runners on the corner. Richardson made it three straight singles and ended the game with a single to center to score Hughes.
Barton closer Shane Adams picked up the win in relief for his first win of the season. Trevor Turner ended the game with three more hits as did Richardson – two of those doubles.
If the first win was done in exciting come-from-behind fashion Saturday the second game was off the charts.
Barton fell behind 4-0 in the first and trailed 6-0 after three innings.
The rally began in the fourth when Dayton Pomeroy hit a 1-out solo homer to left. It was nearly over when Hughes was tagged out at home for the second out of the inning and Barton still down 6-1.
But Richardson sparked a rally with a single to center to score White. That was followed by a wild pitch to score Bryce Minor and a single by Hutch High grad Dylan Kuhn to score Richardson and make it 6-4.
Two Hutch runs made it 8-4 into the bottom of the fifth when the Cougars picked up where they left off in the fourth.
A bases-loaded single by White scored Watkins. A sac fly by Minor drove in Pomeroy and Richardson singled in Hughes to cut it to 8-7. Kuhn continued to haunt his hometown team with a two-run double to left to give Barton a 9-8 lead. He would score on an Evan McDonald single to cap the 6-run inning with Barton on top 10-8.
That would not be the end of the excitement, however. Hutch scored twice in each the sixth and seventh to retake a 12-10 lead heading into the bottom half of the final inning of the 7-inning contest.
Not to worry, though.
White opened the inning with a double, Minor followed with a single and Richardson walked to load the bases with no outs. That brought up Blue Dragon killer Kuhn. Kuhn singled home White and Minor to tie the game at 12-all. One out later Turner ended the game with a single to score Richardson.
“A few weeks ago if we were down two runs in the last inning I’m not real sure many players felt like we were going to win the game,” Coach Biggs said. “This weekend that attitude was completely different.”
There were several heroes in the win headed by Kuhn who went 4-for-4 with four RBI from the 9-hole in the lineup. White had three hits and scored three times while Richardson added two hits, drove in two and scored three times.
Jayme Lovelace picked up the win getting the final out of the seventh facing his only batter in the crazy game. He is now 2-4 on the year.
The Cougars went for the sweep Sunday and nearly pulled off another comeback win. As had been the script the entire weekend, Hutch jumped to a 5-1 lead after four innings of the 9-inning contest.
Hutch still led 6-2 into the bottom of the sixth when Barton began its comeback. White tripled in Hughes and scored on a sac fly to make it 6-4 in the sixth. Pomeroy homered in the seventh that scored McDonald and the Cougars had tied it at 6-all.
Hutch retook the lead in the eighth and added two more runs in the ninth for a 9-6 lead – a lead that would hold up this time.
“It was nice to win a home series against a good team,” Coach Biggs said. “The conference is still up for grabs and this series win got us right back in the middle of the conference race with two series left to play.”
Barton will step out of West action for a single 9-inning contest at Brown Mackie Wednesday before heading to Pratt for the next 4-game West series. Like the one just completed with Hutch, it will be played over three days. The two will open play Friday in a 4 p.m. start then play a doubleheader Saturday at 2 p.m. The series will conclude at Stanion field Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch.