The stage has been set.
The Barton softball team rolled to 15-1 and 22-0 wins at the Sterling College JV Tuesday afternoon. The sweep ran the Cougars winning streak to 16 and the overall record to 18-1.
Now it is time to play Butler. That same Butler team that is ranked 6th nationally. The same Butler team that Barton knocked off last year on the way to the Region VI title. A Butler team that was the top seed and the 4-time defending region champ at the time.
Butler is the established team to beat in the Jayhawk. That is a banner the Cougars want to take. Thursday will be the first test to see how far Barton has come toward its goal. The two will meet again later this month in El Dorado.
“Thursday’s games against Butler will be a good test to see how good we are at this point,” Coach Marc Benjamin said. “Butler has built a really a great program and has produced some really great players but I’ve got some pretty good players in a Barton uniform this season. Hopefully we play well and let everyone know that Barton Softball is for real.”
Butler will bring a 15-3 record to Cougar Fields. The Grizzlies lost three straight by a combined five runs in a tournament at Fort Worth, Texas.
The showdown will take place at 2 pm today at Cougars Fields.
Tuesday against Sterling, Barton had very little trouble. Barton scored five in the top of the first in the opener on the way to the 15-1 win.
Payton Summers had a pair of doubles and drove in three. Jenna Hosey had three hits and scored three times. As a team, Barton collected 15 hits with five doubles. Amanda Evans pitched the final three innings in relief of Holly Posegate to pick up her first win.
In the nightcap Barton again jumped to a lead in the top of the first with four runs. The 13-run fourth did most of the damage.
Brittany Wood homered, doubled and drove in four. She scored three times. Lili Ertman drove in three and Hosey scored three times. No Cougar had more than two hits as 18 different Cougars came to the plate.
“Any time we play the NAIA JV teams it’s a good chance for some of the other players who work extremely hard all year to get a chance to play,” Coach Benjamin said. “It also gets all of our pitchers some more game innings which is really important for them to stay sharp.”
Madison Didion threw three scoreless innings to improve to 9-1 on the season. The freshman allowed just one hit and one walk.
Didion is fresh off a Pitcher of the Week honor in the Jayhawk Conference. Freshman teammate Maddison Schofield was tabbed the Player of the Week as the Cougars swept the weekly awards. It was the second time this year Barton swept the awards. Didion was a part of that both times.