The busy stretch continued for the Barton Community College softball team Tuesday afternoon in Pratt. And for the second straight Jayhawk West doubleheader the Cougars left town with a split.
Barton rode the hot bat of Erica Harper in the opener to an easy 16-2 win then let game two slip away after a great rally, falling 7-6.
The split leaves Barton fifth in the West with a 4-6 conference mark and an 18-9 overall record. Pratt is 3-5 in the West and 3-17 overall. Pratt has won 3 of its last 7 games after starting the year 0-13.
Barton had it in cruise control in the opener – especially Harper. Harper banged out three hits with a homer and double and drove in six runs in the win.
She got Barton on the board in the first with a 2-run homer – her 9th of the season – to give Barton a 2-0 lead after the first. Barton pushed that lead to 7-0 in the top of the second as Harper drove in two more with a double and the Cougars were well on their way to a West win.
If there was any doubt left in the outcome after Pratt trimmed the lead to 8-2 after three, Barton put up six more runs in the fourth. Again Harper was in the middle of it with a 2-run single. But the Topeka Seaman sophomore was far from the only one to have a big game.
Ellis sophomore Bailey Hensley had four hits including a double and scored three times. Lili Ertmann added three hits, two RBI and two runs scored. Kylie Everill also had three hits in the win.
Holly Posegate went the distance in the 5-inning run-rule game, allowing six hits and two runs – one earned – to improve to 7-4.
The second game was much different. This time it was Pratt that scored three times in the opening inning and led 5-0 heading into the fifth inning.
It was the fifth that Barton rallied. Great Bend freshman McKenna Mauler started things with her first collegiate home run to lead off the inning. Everill made it 5-3 with a 1-out double to score Brianna Ward and Harper. Everill scored later in the inning on a ground out and Barton had cut the lead to 5-4.
Barton trailed 6-4 in the top of the seventh when Harper struck again. This time a 2-run blast to center field to even the game at 6-all. But the rally was all for naught as back-to-back errors to start the seventh put Pratt in position to win and they did just that on a Natalie Ramirez single to end the game.
Harper ended the day with two homers and eight RBI. She now had 10 HR and leads the conference with 45 RBI.
Taylor Bugner had a rare struggle starting for Barton, giving up eight hits and four runs – two earned – in two innings. Posegate was the hard-luck loser thanks to errors in the seventh and drops to 7-5.
Barton will host West-leading Butler at Cougar Fields Thursday for a pair of games. Butler is 6-2 in the conference, tied with Seward for the lead.