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Cougars start baseball season with sweep of Western Nebraska
barton community college baseball
Barton baseball drops 2 of 3 at Rose State.
When the World went crazy about one year ago and into a lockdown for a while, the sports affected as much as any at Barton Community College was the Cougar baseball team.
Barton had just seen its 13-game winning snapped and stood at 19-3 on the year. The Cougars were 5-1 in the Jayhawk West after splitting the first two games of a 4-game set with Colby.
Those final two games would never be played.
The first games since that March 12 doubleheader took place Saturday afternoon at Lawson-Biggs Field as the Cougars cranked up their 2021 campaign.
Ironically, the 2021 season will start with the foes that jump-started the 13-game winning streak a year ago as Western Nebraska rolled into town.
If history repeats itself, Barton is off to another winning streak as it swept a pair from Western Nebraska, 9-1 and 11-10 in extra innings.
For the 2021 Cougars, it is an odd roster for sure. Among the 43 names on the Cougar roster just two are listed as sophomores. Yes, two.
Part of that reason is several new faces, but part of that is also attributed to last year not counting against eligibility for baseball.
Back from last year’s squad are a trio of position players that saw a lot of action in the 22-game slate of 2020.
Alex Rodgers is back at his leadoff spot in center field where he played in all 22 games last year with a .421 average. Rodgers, from Omaha, had six homers and 28 RBI to go with 11 stolen bases. All of those were team highs for the Cougars.
Carson Pracht started at third base for Barton last season, hitting .333 in 21 games with five home runs and 21 RBI.
Conner Scott played in 13 games, hitting three home runs with 10 RBI and six steals.
The Cougars return just one start of the 22 starts last season among the pitching staff.
Jordan Ellison is back after leading Barton with three saves in seven appearances. Ellison, Jack Brimacombe and Austin Gerety are the only returning pitchers to log more than 10 innings or appear in more than three games.
In the opener Saturday at Lawson-Biggs Field, Barton plated four runs in the opening inning and never looked back.
Rodgers started the season with a double and scored on a double by Micah Grover in the 2-hole and the easy win was underway.
JoJo Nieves had three hits for Barton including a double and drove in two. Ellison had a double and homer for Barton.
Graham Bruner went four scoreless, striking out seven to earn the win.
The second game was a battle between the two clubs.
Barton again took an early lead at 5-0 into the top of the fifth. But Western Nebraska finally got the bats going, scoring five times to tie the game at 5-all.
Western Nebraska took its first lead at 10-9 before Barton tied it and sent it to the 9th at 10-all.
The Cougars finally completed the sweep in the 10th when Pracht drove home Rodgers, who had walked, stole second and advanced to third on a fly out by Grover.
Ellison hit two more home runs in the win to give three already.
The same two teams are back at it today with a doubleheader at Lawson-Biggs. First pitch is set for 1 pm.

Barton 9, W Nebraska 1
W Neb 000 000 1 – 1 4 1
Barton 413 100 x – 9 13 0
Young, Richter (4) and Felton; Brunner, Lanik (5), Gerety (7) and Allen, Bussieres (7). W – Brunner (1-0). L – Young. 2B – Orozco, Womack 2, W Neb; Rodgers, Nieves, Ellison, Grover, Barton. HR – Ellison (1), Barton.

Barton 10, W Nebraska 10
W Neb 000 050 230 0 – 10 12 4
Barton 211 104 011 1 – 11 6 3

Morales, Baez (5), Potter (8), and Fabricus; Kuntzendorf, Ellison (5), Thiels (7), Tinkler (8) and Hartley. W – Tinkler (1-0). L – Potter. 2B – Olson, Fabricus, W Nebraska; Grover, Barton 3B – Scott, Barton. HR – Ellison 2 (2,3 ), Barton.