Monday was a clear breaking point of the season for the Barton softball team. The game marked the final non-conference twinbill for the Cougars for more than one month.
After the twinbill with the Kansas Wesleyan JV, Barton won’t play another non-conference foe until the final two games of the regular season.
The next nine doubleheaders will all be Jayhawk West foes – 18 games.
Barton closed out with a 12-4, 10-5 sweep of the Coyotes. The wins moved Barton 34-2 on the season and winners of 15 straight. Earlier this season, Barton won 17 straight. The Cougars have won 32 of its last 33 games.
The only loss in that time was a split with No. 6 Butler in West play.
The Cougars were lethargic at times in the wins over the Kansas Wesleyan JV. Barton didn’t put the first game away until the fourth inning and didn’t seize control the second game until the fifth and sixth innings.
But Barton did enough to earn the sweep – the 12th such doubleheader sweep this season in 13 tries.
In the opener Monday, Barton led 4-1 heading into the fourth when the Coyotes hit a 3-run homer in the top of the inning to tie the game.
That woke up the Cougars.
Barton scored seven times in the bottom of the inning. Barton sent 12 batters to the plate with Maddison Schofield and Jenna Hosey each driving in a pair in the big inning.
That was enough for Madison Didion, who improved to 18-1 on the season with the win. She gave up an unusual three earned runs in the process, striking out eight in five innings.
Jayden Gonzales homered in the game. Cadie O’Donnell had three hits. Schofield and Hosey both drove in three runs.
In the nightcap, Barton led 2-1 heading into the fifth inning. Barton seized control of the contest with six runs. Brittany Wood and Holly Posegate both hit 2-run homers in the inning. For Wood, it was her 14th of the season.
The Cougars came up one run short of ending the game by run-rule in the fifth and Kansas Wesleyan took advantage.
The Coyotes plated four runs in the sixth to make it interesting at 8-5. Barton scored a pair of insurance runs in the sixth for the 10-5 win.
Posegate went the distance to improve to 15-1. The sophomore gave up just one earned run.
Gonzales drove in three runs to go along with the 2-run homers by Wood and Posegate to lead the hitting attack for the Cougars.
Now the focus is fully on the conference.
The Cougars will have home dates with Garden City Wednesday and Pratt Friday. Garden has struggled to a 0-8 West start and a 7-19 overall record. Pratt is 2-4 in the West and 8-14 overall. Barton is 5-1 in the conference.
That will lead the Cougars to their second showdown with No. 6 Butler March 30 in El Dorado. Butler is 7-1 in the West and 22-4 overall.