Coach Marc Benjamin wanted to send a message Sunday.
Barton put 31 runs on the board in a sweep of Cowley at Cougar Fields. It was the fourth straight time the Cougars put up double figures and the eighth in the last nine games.
Barton is now 16-1 on the year and has won 14 straight. Cowley, who received votes in the pre-season NJCAA DII poll, is now 3-12.
The Cougars won a slugfest in the opener by a 20-11 margin. In the nightcap Barton continued to score runs in an 11-1 over the Tigers.
“It was nice to come out and put up lots of runs against a program who has been known to be top notch,” Coach Marc Benjamin said. “We had a few recruits who decided to go to Cowley over Barton and I wanted to send a message to future recruits that Barton is the place to be. I don’t want them to forget about our 36-20 record and Region VI Championship last year.”
That message was sent. The Cougars totaled 11 extra base hits and four home runs. In all, Barton finished the doubleheader with 32 hits.
In the opener, Barton fell behind 3-0 in the first inning and Cowley pushed that lead to 4-0 in the second. Barton finally took control of the game in the third, scoring nine runs to take a 12-4 lead. Payton Summers hit a 3-run homer to give Barton a 6-4 lead and the Cougar didn’t stop until 13 batters had come to the plate.
Barton would extend the lead to 20-7 with eight more runs in the fourth inning. Jenna Hosey and Maddison Schofield each had three hits in the win while Summers and Schofield each drove in three. Hosey scored four times. In addition to Summers, Schofield and Holly Posegate homered.
Posegate got the win for Barton as well, improving to 8-0 on the year.
“Even though we didn’t pitch and play that well on defense in game one we took advantage of some really poor defense from Cowley and 20 runs later it was game over,” Coach Benjamin said. “I tell my players if you give good teams extra outs they will make you pay and I felt that is what we did.”
Barton used a 6-run second inning in the nightcap to take control. Schofield hit a bases-loaded triple to get Barton started. Brittany Wood hit her 9th homer of the season in the inning as well.
Barton scored twice in the third and three more times in the fourth for the run-rule win.
Madison Didion was once again dominating in the circle. Didion gave up five hits and struck out eight to improve to 5-1. She hasn’t allowed a walk in 29 innings. She has 70 strikeouts this season in 48 innings, putting her in the top 10 nationally.
“Game two was just what I was hoping for,” Coach Benjamin said. “I knew Madison Didion would strike out quite a few batters because that is what she has been doing all season. Our hitters came through again and made it a short run-rule victory.”
The Cougars must avoid a trap doubleheader Tuesday at the Sterling JV before a showdown with Butler Thursday. Butler is ranked No. 6 in the NJCAA. That will be a 2 pm first pitch at Cougars Fields.
“We are a pretty good team and if we can continue to get better this year may be a special season,” Coach Benjamin said. “We start conference play Thursday at home against Butler and that will be a good test to see what we can do against a really good team.”