The weekend series provided a chance for the Barton Community College baseball team to gain some ground on one of the conference leaders. But the Cougars continued at the .500 mark in the Jayhawk West after yet another split.
Barton and Dodge City split West games over the weekend during their 4-game series at Lawson-Biggs Field. Barton won the opener Saturday and the finale Sunday with Dodge winning the two in the middle. Barton is now 8-8 in the West and 16-16 overall. The Cougars are in fifth in the West. Dodge is now 12-8 in the West and 22-10 overall. The Conquistadors are tied for second.
Barton got the weekend started with a 5-1 win Saturday then lost 8-5. Sunday started with an 8-4 Dodge City win before the Cougars wrapped up the weekend with an 8-6 win.
“Consistency is key and we haven’t been able to find the consistency that we need this season,” Coach Brent Biggs said. “We were able to grind out a victory in game one behind a great pitching performance from Alex Evans.”
The opener saw Barton break open a pitching duel with a big sixth inning. The game was scoreless through four innings as Barton’s Evans and Dodge’s Luke Crabb were in control on the mound. Dodge City finally broke through with an unearned run in the fifth off Evans.
Barton – with just a little help from Dodge – finally put a crooked number on the board in the sixth. Grant Watkins opened the inning with a double and scored when Lance White’s sacrifice bunt turned into an error that scored Watkins and put White on third thanks to an errant throw.
Trevor Hughes gave Barton a 3-1 lead with a double that scored White and Josh Farrington. A Tyler Jennings single scored Hughes to make it 4-1. The Cougars capped the inning when Jennings scored on a passed ball.
That was more than enough for Evans who finished off the 7-inning game with an easy seventh inning to cap a complete game win. Evans allowed just four hits and struck out four to earn his first win of the season.
Game two Saturday was close throughout until Dodge City put up three runs in the eighth inning of the 9-inning game to take an 8-4 lead. Barton could muster just one run in the bottom of the ninth as the Cougars attempted to put together a rally.
The story of the game was eight – yes eight – Barton errors in the loss. That amounted to six unearned runs scored by Dodge City. The Conquistadors were just about as generous, allowing Barton three unearned runs on three errors of their own.
“Game two was the complete opposite of the first game as our eight errors proved to be the difference,” Coach Biggs said. “I’m not sure anyone in the history of baseball has won a game committing eight errors. We continued to fight until the last out but just couldn’t overcome our miscues.”
Jordan Plank fell to 5-2 with the loss despite allowing just one earned run over six innings of work.
Barton fell behind 6-1 in the opener Sunday before a 3-run sixth put the Cougars back in the contest heading into the seventh and final inning. Dayton Pomeroy started the scoring with a triple to score Evan McDonald. Hughes then drove a 2-out double to left to score Pomeroy and Bryce Minor followed with another double to left to score Hughes.
But miscues struck again and Dodge scored another unearned run its way to a 2-run seventh and an 8-4 win.
In the series finale Barton worked around three more errors and were outhit 13-8. But that didn’t stop the Cougars from earning the split with the 8-6 win.
Barton scored three in the first as Hughes doubled in a pair and scored on a triple by Minor. But a 4-run second put Dodge up 5-3. Three of the runs scored after a 2-out error.
The game stayed 5-3 until the fifth when McDonald singled in Trevor Turner to cut it to 5-4. The in the sixth the Cougars plated three runs to take the lead. Watkins provided the big blow with a triple that scored Hughes and Minor. Turner then singled in Watkins to give Barton a 7-5 lead.
After Dodge cut it to 7-6 in the top of the seventh, McDonald led off the bottom half of the inning with a triple and scored on a sac fly by White.
Jackson Rose and Shane Adams shut down the Conqs the final two innings to secure the win. Rose earned the win to improve to 4-0, throwing four innings in relief and allowing just one unearned run. Adams earned his fourth save with a perfect ninth inning.
“I felt like we didn’t play real well on Sunday but still found a way to split,” Coach Biggs said. “We made some big plays on defense and had some big at bats in the last four innings of game four. Those big plays in late game situations have seemed to elude us this season and it was nice to see us move in the right direction.”
Barton will play a midweek single game again Hesston Wednesday at Lawson-Biggs Field before heading to Garden City for games Friday and Saturday.
“The Jayhawk Conference is still wide open and we currently sit in fifth place,” Coach Biggs said. “If we can find a little more consistency with our play and put together a couple series wins we will be in good shape come playoff time.”