It was a very windy day at the Lawson-Biggs Field as the Barton Community College Cougars faced the Cloud County Thunderbirds in a doubleheader on Saturday.
The Cougars swept Cloud 12-4 and 13-6 to keep their hopes alive in quest for an NJCAA Region VI home playoff berth.
Barton improved its record was to 13-9 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference and 24-15 overall. The Thunderbirds drop to 4-14, 17-17.
The two teams square off again today in a doubleheader, starting at 1 p.m.
“They held them to only 10 runs between the two games which is good considering the wind conditions,” Barton head coach Mike Warren said of Saturday’s sweep. “They also never gave up and when the T-Birds tied the game, they kept going.”
The first game was off to a slow start and Cloud scored one run in the second inning.
The Cougars bats came to life during the fourth inning. Mitch Slauter started off the inning with a double. The bases were quickly loaded with no outs after Nathan Miller was hit by a pitch and Ryan Busboom walked.
Michael Tennessen drove in the first run of the game for Barton with a single hit to second. When Adam Geisick approached the plate, the bases were loaded again after Carpenter was hit by a pitch. Geisick hit a single and sent two runners home.
With runners on first and second, Jordan Slade sent the ball to the centerfield wall. Slade pulled into second and delivered two more runs for the Cougars. The Cougars finished the fourth inning with five runs.
The T-Birds answered back in the fifth by scoring three and with one out, it was time to pull Keith Picht, who did a solid job preventing runs in the early innings. After Cloud loaded the bases, Barton kept their lead at 5-4. Kyle Leroy replaced Hilts in the sixth inning and finished out the game.
The score was still 5-4 when the Cougars came to bat in the sixth. Slade started things off by hitting a single. The T-Birds made a big mistake by trying to pick off Slade on first. It was over thrown and Slade easily made it to third. The next pitch was thrown straight into the backstop and Slade gladly stepped on home plate. The Cougars were ready to put up some more numbers, and with the T-Birds all shaken up there was no stopping them. Barton ended up scoring seven runs in the sixth inning and the T-birds had no response in the seventh.
Picht improves his record to 5-4 while allowing seven hits and striking out four batters. Slade batted in four runs with two hits, Tennessen sent three runners home with three hits, Geisick had two hits and two RBIs. Carpenter had one run batted in. Players on both teams were hit by the pitches, 10 in total.
The wind speed and clouds increased for the second game, and Cloud County did not waste any time getting on the board. They posted one run on two hits. Barton’s Frederico Castagnini responded by knocking one over the left field wall. With a runner on, Busboom hit a high fly ball and the wind made it impossible to catch, chalking up an RBI for Bushboom. Tennessen and Clayton Garland both followed up by hitting a double and drove in a run. Barton went ahead 4-1 in the bottom of the first.
Barton’s pitcher, Ben French found himself in a tough situation in the second. With runners on first and secod, he gave up a hard hit to left field and looked like two runs would score. Luckily it bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double and only one runner was allowed to advance home. French popped out the next batter to end the inning. The Cougars went 3-and-out ,but still leading 4-2 at the end of the second.
The T-Birds managed to earn another run in the third inning. Barton was able to get on the board in the third inning as well. Slauter started off with a single and after a pop up out from miller and some bad throws, Slauter found himself at the home plate. Followed by a sacrifice fly, the Cougars scored two runs in the third inning leading 6-3.
Cloud County had a trend of hitting it between the center and left fielder. In the fourth inning, they continued the trend but put up two runs instead of just one. In just four innings, French had already thrown over 100 pitches for the Cougars, AJ Green took the mound in the fifth.
When the fourth was all said and done, the Cougars were hanging on to a 6-5 lead.
The T- Birds were able to tie the game by scoring another run in the top of the sixth. It looked like we were going into the seventh inning tied when Slade was hit by a pitch and then stole second base. After a wild pitch Slade waited on third until Castagnini sent Slade home with an RBI single and keeping the lead.
Green came out in the seventh inning firing bullets and struck out the first batter. The next two were thrown out at first. With two Cougars on base and two out, Carpenter hit a triple and after a bad throw to third, Carpenter wasted no time getting to home plate. His hit scored 3 more runs for Barton. The seventh inning ended with Barton leading 10-6.
Barton scored another three runs in the eighth and Niccolo Loardi came to the mound in the ninth inning. He was able to close out the game without allowing another run and giving Barton their second win on a very windy Saturday.
Castagnini (home run), Tennessen, Garland, Carpenter and Geisick all batted in two runs, and Busboom had one RBI.
“Ben French did not give up as many runs as he could have,” Warrren said of the second-game pitching. “He pitched himself out of some tough situations. French took a big step today and AJ did a great job of not allowing more runs than we could handle. They both did a great job.”
JUNIOR COLLEGE BASEBALL
At Great Bend
Barton 12, Cloud County 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Cloud 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 4 9 3
Barton 0 0 0 5 0 7 x 12 10 0
W — K. Picht. L — R. Slauter. 2B — Barton (Slade , Slaughter).
Barton 13, Cloud County 6
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cloud 1 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 6 13 4
Barton 4 0 2 0 0 1 3 3 x 13 15 1
W — A. Green. L — K. Rawhouser. 2B — Barton (D. Casey 3 ,C. Saxton , A. Miller, T Bowers, C. Neiswender, Busboom, Tennessen, Garland). 3B — Barton (Carpenter). HR — Barton (Castagnini).