EL DORADO— The Barton Community College softball team headed to the Jayhawk West leader on a roll. Barton had won five of six conference games. But the hot streak came to a hault at Butler.
The Cougars’ rally fell short in the opener then they couldn’t hold a 2-run lead in extra innings in the second game getting swept by the Grizzlies. Barton lost the opener 7-3 then fell 3-2 in 10 innings.
The losses dropped Barton to 10-10 in the West and into a tie for third with Garden City. The Cougars are 28-15 overall. Butler kept its 1-game lead on Seward in the West with a 12-4 mark. The Grizzlies are 25-13 overall.
“You can’t wait to hit until the last innings of the game,” Barton assistant coach Anna Voss said. “Game one is a prime example of that. Sometimes we squeak by doing that but you can’t wait against the Butlers and the Sewards.”
The Cougars fell behind 6-0 in the opener then tried to rally in the late innings. Butler scored four times in the opening inning when Monica Islava hit a grand slam home run. She would prove to be a rather large thorn in the side of the Cougars the entire day. Islava drove in another run in the third as the Grizzlies added two more runs for that 6-0 lead.
Barton cut the lead in half in the sixth thanks in large part to a Butler error that scored Bailey Hensley and Brianna Ward.
But the Cougars would get no closer. Butler scored once in the bottom of the sixth then Barton went down in order in the seventh to end the game.
The Cougar offense managed just five hits with Hensley collecting a pair of them.
The second contest featured a pitching battle between Barton’s Taylor Bugner and Butler’s Jenny Hittinger. The clubs went through seven innings scoreless and headed into extra innings. Barton struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth.
Hensley gave Barton a 1-0 lead in the eighth with a single to score Samantha White. White was running for Caitlin Garcia who led off the inning with a single. McKenna Mauler’s sac bunt moved her second where she scored from on Hensley’s single. Harper drove her in two hits later to make it a 2-0 game.
But the Cougars couldn’t close out the Grizzlies. And it was Islava that did the damage again. She belted a 2-run home run in the bottom of the inning to keep the game going. Garcia kept the Cougars alive in the ninth by throwing out a pair of Grizzlies attempting to steal.
As the 10th inning started the international rule went into effect with a runner on second base to start each inning. The Cougars went down in order then Butler scored its runner on a sac bunt and sac fly to end the game.
Both teams had just seven hits over the 10 innings. Ward was the only Cougar with two hits. Bugner went the distance for Barton taking the loss despite the good effort in the circle.
“I’m proud of Taylor,” Voss said. “She pitched one of the best games of her life and owned the mound all ten innings.”