Perhaps the Barton softball team is hitting its stride at just the right time.
Barton made it five straight Jayhawk West wins Wednesday afternoon with a sweep of Colby at Cougar Fields. And the Cougars had very little trouble in doing so.
The Cougars won the opener 8-0 then capped off the series with a 13-5 as both games ended in five innings.
The sweep keeps Barton hopes for a second place finish alive in the West. Barton is now 13-8 in the West while Seward County is 14-7. That one game difference lies in the postponement of a game in Seward a couple weeks ago. Barton leads that game 9-0 into the bottom of the third and it will be resumed if needed.
Both Barton and Seward have only a doubleheader with No. 1 ranked Butler left on the regular schedule. Butler is currently 20-0 and 44-0.
Chances are the resumption of the Barton-Seward will determine second place.
“The sweep of Colby was really a huge two games for us,” Coach Marc Benjamin said. “If we finished tied with Seward and win the game we resume, we would finish second. We would have the tie breaker because we beat them three out of four and would finish second in the conference.”
Colby could finish in that tie as well at 12-10 with two games remaining against Dodge City (11-11). Barton also holds the tiebreaker with Colby, winning three of four.
In the opener against Colby, Amanda Evans threw a 4-hit shutout while the Cougars bats did damage in the third inning.
Barton scored five times in the third inning then ended the game in the fifth with three more runs. Payton Reynolds drove in a pair as did Kaci Isaacson to lead the Barton offense.
In the second game, the Cougars erupted for seven runs in the bottom of the first inning on the way to building a 12-0 lead on the Trojans.
Colby did make some noise with five runs in the fourth, but the damage was already done.
Jayden Gonzales had a big game, going 4-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and three runs scored. Payton Summers went 3-for-4 while Mickenize Toler drove in five runs on the strength of a 3-run homer in the third.
In its last four games, Barton has outscored its opponents 45-8.
“We are playing better because our defense is playing better,” Coach Benjamin said. “We were making way too many errors in the beginning of the season. Our pitchers are throwing well and our hitting has been steady all season.”
Barton will wrap up the regular season Saturday at Butler with a doubleheader starting at 2 pm. If the Cougars and Saints need to resume the suspended game, it will be played early next week.
The Region VI tournament gets underway Friday.
“Other teams in the conference are starting to check out and want the season to get over,” Coach Benjamin said. “My players are still pulling for each other and playing hard. I really feel we haven’t played our best ball yet and hopefully it will all be put together at the conference tournament.”