It was the second long winning streak of the year. It came to an end Saturday afternoon in the first game of a doubleheader. Perhaps a third is now underway.
The Barton softball team lost the first game of its twinbill with Colby by the narrowest of margins then ended the day with an easy win in the nightcap. The Cougars lost 2-1 to see their 19-game winning streak come to end then perhaps started another with an 8-0 win by run-rule.
Two things let the Cougars down in their loss. Fielding and hitting. Barton received a strong pitching effort from Madison Didion but the 6th ranked Cougars could muster only three hits against the strong pitching of Mara Nash. The two runs given up – one earned – are usually more than enough.
Barton is now 39-3 on the season and 10-2 in the Jayhawk West. Colby is right behind the Cougars at 11-3 and 31-8. Butler, ranked 7th, leads the conference at 11-1 and 29-4.
“We ran into a pitcher who brought her A-game and we just didn’t find a way to put the ball in play,” Coach Marc Benjamin said. “Hats off to her for throwing a great game.
“Unfortunately when you don’t hit you need to play perfect defense and we didn’t do that. They took advantage of a couple mistakes by us and that was just enough to beat us.”
In the opening inning, a 2-out error allowed Colby to take a 1-0 lead. The Trojans pushed it to 2-0 in the third thanks to a leadoff double that eventually came around to score.
That was it for Colby’s scoring. But the Cougars struggled to get base runners. In fact, Barton had just four base runners the entire game – not counting the solo home run by Lili Ertmann for Barton’s only run of the game. That came in the sixth inning.
Barton didn’t get its first base runner until the fourth when Maddison Schofield led off with a single. Jenna Hosey walked to lead off the fifth but she was wiped out on a double play.
The Cougars made a run at the lead in the sixth. Ertmann hit her first career home run then Schofield doubled and move to third where she was stranded.
Hosey drew a 1-out walk to give Barton hope in the final inning but that would be the extent of the rally as the Cougars lost for the first time in 20 games. Didion took the loss to fall to 20-2.
Barton responded to the loss with authority.
“Game two we took advantage of their mistakes and made it a short run-rule win.” Coach Benjamin said”. “We played really great defense in game two and Holly pitched really well.”
The Cougars scored in all but one of the five inning as Holly Posegate mowed down the Trojans. Barton took a 1-0 as Payton Summers led off the inning with a single and came around to score.
Barton made it 3-0 in the third as Summers singled in Brittany Wood and Hosey scored on an RBI by Posegate. In the fourth, Schofield and Cadie O’Donnell got things going with back-to-back singles. Jayden Gonzales’ double scored them and Barton had a 5-0 lead.
The Cougars ended the game the next inning with a 3-run output. Schofield drove in a Mauler and Ertmann then scored on a single by Gonzales to end the game by run-rule.
Posegate allowed just one hit to improve to 18-1. Gonzales led the hitting attack with a 3-for-4 effort and Schofield scored three times.
Barton is back in action Wednesday when the Cougar travel to Seward. Seward is 1-9 in the West and 18-24 overall.
“We need to bring our A-game,” Coach Benjamin said. “Seward is a good hitting team and can score runs. We can’t be fooled by Seward’s win-loss record. They are getting better and if we just go through the motions it could come back to get us.
“Seward like all the other teams we face from here on out will be wanting to knock off a ranked team so I’m sure they will come out with energy and excitement. The key for us is to play defense. When we make the plays we are a really great team.”