It certainly wasn’t the easiest of season openers. The Barton softball team played host the No. 9 team in NJCAA D-II Thursday, losing a pair to the Jayhawk Conference foe at the Cougars Fields.
Barton lost the opener to Cowley, 15-6, then gave the Tigers a scare in the nightcap before falling, 11-7. The games were originally slated for Saturday but with impending weather were moved up to Thursday.
It was a good initial outing for Lyons freshman Morgan Michaelis as she belted a pair of 2-run home runs during the day. Canada freshman Hailey Pop hit a grand slam in the nightcap.
Barton fell behind early in the first contest as Cowley scored five times in the top of the first inning. Barton answered with a pair in the bottom of the inning on Michaelis’ first 2-run home run.
But Cowley answered back with two in the top of the second and added two more in the fourth to take a 9-2 lead into the fifth. There, the Tigers put up six more runs to take command of the contest.
Barton would add four runs to its total in the bottom of the final inning.
Michaelis ended the game with a pair of hits and three RBI. Andreana Reynolds and Pop each doubled in the game while Alexis Sharples and Kristin Storer both had two hits.
Emma Horsch took the loss pitching for the Cougars.
The Cougars found themselves playing catch-up the second game as well, but from a much closer distance.
Barton trailed just 2-1 after three innings but the game started to slip away in the fourth when Cowley scored three more times.
Down 9-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, Barton added two runs on another Michaelis 2-run homer.
The Cougars scored four mores in the seventh inning when Pop hit her grand slam to left.
Allison Panning took the loss for the Cougars.
Barton will be back on the diamond Wednesday when Hutchinson pays a visit. That will be the Cougars final home games until the end of the month when 2-time defending NJCAA Champion Butler comes to Great Bend to start Jayhawk West action.
Cowley 15, Barton 6
Cowley 520 26 – 15 17 1
Barton 200 04 – 6 11 1
W – Wenzel. L – Horsch. 2B – Perez, Hinnenkamp, Wayland, Hamilton, Hilty 3, Worely, Cowley; Reynolds, Pop, Barton. 3B – Hamilton, Cowley. HR – Nitsch, Cowley; Michaelis, Barton.
Cowley 11, Barton 7
Cowley 020 313 2 – 11 10 1
Barton 001 002 4 – 7 11 6
W – Hilty. L – Panning. 2B – Hilty, Cowley; Reynolds, Sharples, Barton. HR – Hamilton, Nitsch 2, Maga, Cowley; Michaelis, Pop, Barton.