Last year the Barton softball team caught some people off guard. The Cougars snuck up on some teams – especially during conference and region action – on the way the Region VI title.
This year there will be no sneaking up on teams. If eight home runs and 34 runs in the opening sweep of a JV team didn’t catch the attention of the rest of the conference, a 4-1 weekend that including a pair of wins over Top 15 teams in the nation probably did.
The Cougars left Midland, Texas with a 4-1 mark after playing three ranked teams. Barton’s only loss was the opening game, a 9-0 loss to No. 7 Howard (Texas). Barton came right back after that loss to beat No. 10 Odessa (Texas) by an 8-0 score and finished the weekend with a 7-0 blanking of No. 15 Midland (Texas). In between, Barton defeated Clarendon (Texas), 4-1, and Luna (NM), 14-5.
“Our pitching staff came out well against all five of the teams,” Assistant Coach Anna Voss said. “It’s nice to finally see them being able to get on the mound and actually throw to someone other than their own team. I’m extremely proud of all of our pitchers this weekend.”
Barton is now 6-1 on the season.
Barton struggled in the opener as Howard scored twice in the third and fourth for a 4-0 lead and ended the game with four more in the sixth for a 9-0 win.
The Cougars had only seven hits in the game. Madison Didion gave up five earned runs in the loss, striking out eight.
That would be the only tough loss all weekend.
The Cougars returned to the field later Friday to post an impressive 8-0 blanking of the 10th ranked team in the country. Holly Posegate shut down Odessa while Brittany Wood gave Barton a 2-0 lead in the opening inning on a 2-run bases loaded double.
Barton made it 4-0 in the fifth as Wood again came through with another bases loaded 2-run double to score Cadie O’Donnell and Maddison Schofield. Wood capped a 4-run sixth and ended the game with a single to score Kaylie Doll.
While the Cougars were pounding out 12 hits, Posegate shutout Odessa on just three hits to improve to 2-0.
The Cougars closed out Friday with a tough 4-1 win over Clarendon. The game was tied at 1-all heading into the sixth. The Cougars took a 2-1 lead on a single by Payton Summers to score Lydia Konrade. Posegate made it 4-1 with a 2-run homer to secure the win.
Didion allowed just four hits in the win and struck out six.
Barton used a big second inning in the first game Saturday then kept scoring for a 14-5 win over Luna. Great Bend’s McKenna Mauler blasted two home runs and drove in three in the win. Schofield also homered while Summers and Wood each doubled. Wood drove in three while Schofield ended with three hits, two RBI and two runs scored. Posegate earned the win to move to 3-0.
Barton capped the weekend with another stellar pitching performance. This time Didion blanked No. 15 Midland. Barton again jumped out early, a 2-run homer by Jayden Gonzalez in the first inning.
Barton kept that 2-0 lead until the fifth inning. Barton added single runs in the fifth and sixth then scored three times in the seventh to secure the win.
Didion gave up just four hits – all singles – and just one walk. The freshman struck out 10 to improve to 3-1.
“Madison Didion was hot for us, especially on Saturday against Midland,” Voss said. “She’s the kind of pitcher that all of her pitches can be a go-to pitch.
“It’s nice to have Holly back again this year as another dominant pitcher also. She threw a great game against Odessa for us on Friday in the 8-0 run rule.”
With five games in two days, Barton had a lot of players chip in for the wins.
“This weekend was truly a team effort,” Voss said. “With 20 on the roster, each player had a role for the weekend and that is what truly helped us be the confident team we were in Texas.
“We have several freshman stepping up to fill holes in our lineup. Three of those being Maddison Schofield from Australia, Jayden Gonzales from Shawnee Heights High School (Tecumseh) and Brittany Wood from Utah.”
The Cougars will get a string of junior varsity teams over the next week – all on the road. Barton will be in Oklahoma for games Wednesday and Thursday against the Bacone College JV and the Oklahoma Wesleyan JV.