The Jayhawk West regular season title my not be decided Wednesday. But that day sure will go a long way to determining the champion.
That is when the Barton softball team battles Butler for a second time this season – this time in El Dorado.
Barton took care of business this past weekend with a sweep of Pratt at Cougar Fields. Barton won the West twinbill over Pratt, 4-2 and 10-2.
The win ran Barton’s current win streak to 19 and improved the No. 7 team in the country to 38-2. Barton is 9-1 in the West. Pratt is now 3-7 and 9-17.
The lone loss in conference play was a split with Butler earlier this year in Great Bend. Butler is 7-1 and 22-4 and ranked No. 8.
The two will battle Wednesday for the final time in the regular season. First pitch will be at 2 pm.
“The winner of this series has a really good chance of winning the conference and getting the bye at the conference tournament,” Barton Coach Marc Benjamin said. “I’m sure they will come out with lots of energy and excitement since we come in ranked 7th. It should be fun – 7 vs 8 – it doesn’t get much better than that.”
The win over Pratt wasn’t pretty at times but the Cougars got the job done.
Barton struggled to score in the opener. The Cougars took a 3-0 lead in the second. Holly Posegate singled in a pair then scored on a Lili Ertmann single.
Madison Didion cruised through the first three innings, striking out the side in the second and third. She ran into trouble in the fourth as Pratt scored twice.
Barton made it 4-2 in the bottom of the inning when Cadie O’Donnell doubled in McKenna Mauler.
That was enough support for Didion who won for the 20th time. The freshman is now 20-1.
“Game one for Pratt was the first game in a long time that we struggled at the plate,” Coach Benjamin said. “We left the bases loaded two times and second and third once.
“The good thing is that Madison Didion just doesn’t give up runs. We found a way to win and that’s a good thing.”
Things were a bit easier in the second game. The Cougars scored seven times in the second for a 7-1 lead on the way to the win.
Payton Summers hit a 2-run homer to start the scoring. The Cougars sent 12 batters to the plate to seize control of the game.
“Game two our bats came to life early and we put them away. Our defense and pitching was good enough to get the run rule,” Coach Benjamin said.
O’Donnell collected three hits and Jayden Gonzales homered and drove in a pair.
Posegate went the distance to improve to 17-1.
Now the focus turns to Butler and the quest for the outright lead in the conference.
“Wednesday against Butler should be a good matchup,” Coach Benjamin said. “We both have really good pitching and hitting. Our stats are pretty similar. In games like this we need to pitch and play defense.
“Defensive mistakes will most likely be the difference. Hopefully we can put some back-to-back hits together and score a few runs.”