Runs were frequent this weekend for the Barton and Seward County baseball teams. Only problem for the Cougars were they were only frequent in a pair of games.
That resulted in a split between the foes in Jayhawk West action. Seward won the opener Saturday, 11-1 before Barton came storming back for 17-12 win in the second game. Sunday opened with an 11-9 Barton win before Seward closed out the day with a 10-0 win to ensure the split of the 4-game series.
With the split, Barton all but assured itself a sixth place finish in the West this season. The Cougars are 13-15 in the West - four games clear of seventh place. Barton is 27-22 overall. Seward sits in fifth place at 16-12 and 27-22.
“It was more of the same for us this weekend,” Coach Brent Biggs said. “It has been the tale of two teams this spring, one game we play really well and another we really struggle to play quality baseball.
“Seward has some good arms that have signed at quality D-I programs and I felt like as a whole we did a good job offensively of competing.”
Barton did especially well in the middle two games where it plated 28 runs. Problem was in the other two, Barton scored just once.
The series got off to a rough start as Seward scored six in the bottom of the third inning on the way to a win in six innings. Barton could muster on three hits in the loss with its only run coming on a Michael Sinks single to score Mason Hightower that gave Barton a brief 1-0 lead in the top of the third.
The second game could not have been more different. Barton scored in each of the first three innings to build a 4-2 lead then exploded for nine runs in the fifth for a 13-2 lead.
Seward kept things interesting with a 6-run fifth of its own. Barton rebuilt the lead to 17-9 then held off a ninth inning rally by the Saints for the win.
Barton pounded out 15 hits, paced by a 4-for-6 effort from Drake Bliss. Matthew Baca drove in five runs in the win, going 3-for-6 at the plate with a home run and a double. Baca scored three times as did Corrigan Bartlett.
The Cougars kept the bats going to open play Sunday. But it wasn’t until a seventh inning rally, Barton earned itself at least a split in the series.
The Cougars trailed 9-6 heading into the seventh and final inning of the opener. Three straight singles by Bartlett, Cole Henley and Ryan Schippers got things rolling. With the bases loaded a key error by the Saints cut the lead to 9-7.
Hightower followed with the fourth single of the inning to score Henley and make it a 9-8 game. A Bliss grounder to short scored Schippers to tie the game then Sinks drove home a Baca and Bliss on a double to give Barton an 11-9 lead.
Daniel Kohl gave up a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the seventh then retired the next three Saints to pick up the win.
Schippers and Sinks each had three hits – Schippers included a homer and Sinks the go-ahead double.
After two games of double digit runs and hits, Barton’s bats went silent in the finale. The Cougars were shutout on five hits – two by Sinks.
Barton will play Hutchinson in a non-conference single 9-inning game Wednesday at Lawson-Biggs Field. The Cougars will wrap up the regulars season when West-leading Colby pays a visit to Lawson-Biggs this weekend.
Doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday will start at 1 p.m.