It doesn’t get more dramatic than Brady Michel’s final at bat Thursday afternoon at Lawson-Biggs Field for the Barton baseball team.
That final, dramatic at bat for the Great Bend High product – a walk-off home run to deep center field – just may have been the dagger for the rest of the Jayhawk West.
His 2-out, 2-run homer gave the Cougars an 8-7 win the nightcap and gave Barton a sweep after winning the opener, 11-3.
The sweep put a little more distance between them and the teams pursuing them for the West lead.
Barton is now 17-5 in the West. The No. 18 Cougars are 33-8 overall. Colby, which started the day tied for third, falls to 12-10 in the West, now five games back with just 10 to play. The Trojans are 22-19 overall.
The other two teams with a chance of catching the Cougars squared off in Concordia. Cloud County played host to Butler and with the sweep by the Thunderbirds, gave Barton a 3-game lead in the confer-ence standings.
Cloud is now in second at 14-8 with Butler now 16-10. The 4-game series among those four teams at the top of the West will conclude Saturday with Barton traveling to Colby and Cloud heading to Butler.
The Cougars were chasing the Trojans the entire second game. Barton fell behind 3-0 in the first and trailed 4-0 into the bottom of the third.
Barton kept the pressure on the Trojans. The Cougars cut it to 4-2 in the bottom of the third on a Kaden Fowler homer – his third of the day – and a Michel single as he gave a glimpse of the heroics he would later provide.
Barton tied it a 4-all in the seventh when Harrison Denk doubled in a run and later scored.
The Trojans retook a 6-4 lead in the eighth before Brett Huelsmann slammed a 2-out, 2-run home run of his own in the bottom of the inning to tie it once again. It was Huelsmann first home run of the season.
But Colby stayed relentless. The Trojans got a key 2-out double from pinch-hitter Nick Perez to take a 7-6 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Carson Engroff kept the Cougars’ hopes alive with a 1-out single then pinch runner Billy Colemen went all the way third on an errant throw by the Colby pitcher.
But Tim Bell couldn’t bring him, striking out and setting the stage for Michel’s game-winner. Michel sent the 2-1 pitch to near dead center field and over the wall for the winner.
Fowler had a big first game, slugging two home runs to lead the Barton offense. Josh Hendrickson was once again stellar on the mound for the Cougars.
The Cougars used a big fourth inning to get control of the opener. The teams were tied heading into the bottom of the fourth when Barton scored five times.
The big blow was a bases loaded triple from Denk. Denk’s shot to right scored Huelsmann, Paul Claas-sen, and Pomeroy to give the Cougars a 6-2 lead.
Barton added three more in the sixth for insurance as Fowler led off with his second homer of the game and Michel doubled in a run and later scored.
Barton had 13 hits in the win, led by the big game from Fowler. The sophomore went 3-for-3 with three RBI and three runs scored.
Hendrickson ran his record to 8-1 on the season, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out five in the complete game 7-inning win. Hendrickson had a 2.47 ERA this season over 10 starts with three com-plete games.
The two teams will finish the series Saturday in Colby, starting at 1 p.m.
18 Barton 11, Colby 3
Colby 020 100 0 – 3 6 0
Barton 101 513 x – 11 13 0
Fraser, Poliquin (5), Gallagher (6) and Tilly; Hendrickson and Bonar. W – Hendrickson (8-1). L – Fraser (2-4). 2B – Michel, Barton. 3B – Denk, Barton. HR – Fowler 2 (8, 9).
18 Barton 8, Colby 7
Colby 301 000 021 – 7 15 4
Barton 002 000 222 – 8 12 1
Hofmann, Bertram (8) and Evans; Repp, Smith (4), Howe (8), Pomeroy (9) and Fowler. W – Pomeroy (3-1). L – Bertram. 2B – Roduner, Perez, Courtney, Colby; Denk, Barton. HR – Bouzide, Colby; Fowler (10), Huelsmann (1), Michel (6), Barton.