For the first time this season the Barton Community College softball team broke free from the routine of doubleheaders competing in the Cloud County Invitational this past weekend.
After a slow start in the opener, Barton got things rolling going 4-1 during the two-day event. The Cougars lost that opener then won the next four and now stand at 14-3 for the season.
“Our defense struggled the first game against Highland and put us in a few tough spots pitching wise,” Barton assistant coach Anna Voss said. “Our pitchers are doing a great job staying strong in the circle. If our pitching staff stays consistent with our hitting, we should sit pretty well as a team.”
In that opener with Highland, Barton committed a couple errors that allowed Highland to score six runs in the first two innings of the way to an 8-3 win. Four of the six runs were unearned.
Kylie Everill hit a 2-run homer in the top of the fourth for the bulk of the offensive production in the loss.
Barton came back Saturday to post a 2-0 win over host Cloud behind a strong pitching effort from Taylor Bugner. Bugner went the distance allowing just one hit and striking out 13 for the win.
The Cougars broke a 0-0 tie in the bottom of the fifth when Samantha White scored on a ground out after coming in as a pinch runner earlier in the inning. The Cougars gave themselves some insurance in the sixth when Bailey Hensley scored on a Holly Posegate single.
Barton closed out play Saturday with a 14-3 win over Riverland Community College. Barton scored eight runs in the third to blow the game open. Briana Ward homered and drove in three to pace the Barton offense. Hensley and Jenna Hosey each had a pair of hits and two RBI as well. Posegate picked up the win in the circle and Bugner struck out two more in one relief inning.
The Cougars opened play Sunday with Brown Mackie, easily defeating the Lions, 9-2. Barton put the game away with three runs in the fifth and the sixth for the win. Posegate again earned the win striking out nine and walking just two on six hits. She is 6-2 on the season.
Offensively, Everill and Ward both homered and combined to drive in four runs. Everill hit a 2-run homer in the fifth and Ward a solo homer in the third. Ward ended the game with three hits and scored three times. Erica Harper added two hits and drove in three.
The Cougars capped off the Invitational with a 6-3 win over Southeast (Neb) Community College. Bugner was again impressive in the circle with 12 more strikeouts for the win to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Hensley had a huge game at the plate, hitting a pair of homers and driving in four on three hits. The biggest was a 3-run shot to left in the fourth to give Barton a 3-0 lead. Posegate added a solo shot in the fifth and Hensley a solo shot in the sixth to cap the 6-3 win.