After bolting to a great start to the season the Barton Community College softball team found itself with a 4-game losing streak after dropping the opener at Garden City Saturday. The Cougars ended that in emphatic style with an 11-2 win in the finale.
The Cougars dropped the opener 8-7 in extra innings and now stand at 17-8 overall and 3-5 in the Jayhawk West. Garden City is 11-15 and 3-7.
Barton led much of the opener as well after scoring four times in the third inning. Brianna Ward provided the big blow with a double to score Erica Harper and Bailey Hensley to give Barton a 5-2 lead.
The Cougars held a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh and were just two outs from winning when Sindey Coleman belted a 2-run homer to send the game to extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth Barton put two runs on the board in the ninth. Harper singled in Lili Ertman and Ward singled in Hensley as the Cougars again grabbed a 2-run lead at 7-5.
And, again, the Cougars were two outs from victory when the long ball hurt them again. This time a 3-run home run by Liberty Nelson ended the game with a 9-8 Garden win.
“Softball is very much a mental game,” Barton assistant coach Anna Voss said. “They know how to play and they’ve been taught how to win throughout their softball careers. We need to combine those ideas and figure out how to play under pressure and win at the same time.”
Barton out-hit Garden in the loss 13-7 but none of that matter in the final. Harper had four hits and Ward three for the Cougars. Both had three RBI as well and Hensley scored three times. Holly Posegate took the loss in relief of Taylor Bugner and is now 6-4.
Barton led the entire second game after plating a pair of runs in the first inning on a Harper home run that scored Ward. The Cougars increased it to 4-1 in the fourth when Baylee Bakovich doubled in Kylie Everill and Jenny Hosey.
Then Barton took any comeback hopes away with a 7-run sixth for an 11-2 lead. Hosey led off the inning with home run, Ward added a 2-run double and Hosey ended the scoring with a 2-run triple.
Barton pounded out 12 hits in the win with Ward, Harper and Hosey each collecting three. Harper and Hosey both drove in three runs as well. Posegate and Bugner split time in the circle for the Cougars combining to give up nine hits and two runs. Bugner was credited with the win to improve to 8-1.
“We had several girls step up in our lineup the second game,” Voss said. “It’s nice to see them doing well at the plate and seeing their batting practice shining through.”
Barton will have a busy week as the Cougars travel to Pratt for a pair of West games Tuesday then host Butler for two on Thursday. Barton will be off to El Dorado this weekend for play at the BUCO Bash Saturday and Sunday.
“This week will be another huge test for our pitching staff,” Voss said. “We play ten games in a matter of six days – four of those games being important conference games.”