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Strong pitching performances not enough as Cougars drop tough twin bill at Dodge City

Barton's Mason Hiser throws a pitch during game one of Saturday's doubleheader at Dodge City Community College.  Photo by and courtesy of DC3 Athletics.
Barton's Mason Hiser throws a pitch during game one of Saturday's doubleheader at Dodge City Community College. Photo by and courtesy of DC3 Athletics.

Looking to rebound from its first two conference losses of the season a day prior, the Barton Community College baseball team came up on the short end Saturday at Dodge City Community College.  Getting strong pitching performances and outhitting the Conquistadors for the second day in a row, the Cougars couldn't generate enough offense dropping 3-1 and 3-2 decisions as Dodge City swept the four-game weekend series.  The losses send Barton to an 8-4 mark in the Jayhawk and 18-11 overall with Dodge City improving to 11-5 in the conference and 23-8 overall.   The Cougars will step out of conference play with a 6:00 p.m. Tuesday matchup with Hesston College at Cougar Field before hosting Garden City Community College next weekend for another conference four-game series.

With a pitching duel in progress between the Cougars' Mason Hiser and Dodge City's Matthew Perea, Barton cracked the scoreboard first getting a single run in the top of the fifth inning.  Cole Henley led off the inning with a single advancing into scoring position from Ryan Schippers' sacrifice.  Down to their final out Matthew Baca's ground ball to shortstop was misplayed allowing Henley to speed around for the go ahead run.

Hiser, pressed into the starting role due to a minor injury to normal game three starter Jackson Rose, ran into his first serious threat after cruising through the first four innings. A double and a single followed by an infield hit quickly loaded the Conq bases beginning the home half following Barton taking the lead.  An RBI single kept them loaded with Hiser sending the next batter back to the dugout with three straight strikes.  The Conqs jumped on the first pitch of the next at-bat driving a single to left field then one batter later, pushed the lead to two with a sac fly.

A Dayton Pomeroy sixth inning single and a Henley seventh inning double couldn't mount a Barton comeback as both starting pitchers went the distance.

Despite pitching well in the starting role scattering six hits, walking two, and striking out four, Hiser dropped to 3-3 on the season while Perea improved to 6-1 on the year.

Barton got another strong pitching performance in the finale from Cody Brewer, limiting the Conqs to four hits and no earned runs while striking out five.  The Cougars staked Brewer to a one run lead in the third as Drake Bliss' one out triple was driven home one at-bat later on Michael Sinks' single up the middle.

The lead would last into the home half of the eighth until a leadoff walk followed by a sacrifice and passed ball would score on a misplayed pop-up drifting in the strong winds into shallow right field tying the game.

Barton would regain the lead in the ninth rallying with two outs behind Ryan McClure hustling out a double followed by Henley's triple driven down the right field line.

With Brewer's pitch count over a hundred in his eight innings of work, the Cougars went to the bullpen handling the ball to Ben Wright.  An infield error allowing the leadoff to reach base compounded as the Conqs Wakefield fouled off three full-count pitches before drawing a walk.  The Conqs then laid down a sacrifice bunt and for the second time in the inning the Cougar infield committed an error resulting in loading the bases with no outs.  Wright battled back to strike out the next batter and induced an infield pop-up for the second, but a 0-1 pitch driven into left field would tie the game.  Trying to force extra innings Wright dug Colbey Madewell an 0-2 hole just missing the strikeout as Madewell made connection fouling the ball away.  The foul would be critical as on the next pitch Wright was called for a balk enabling the Conqs to complete the comeback and earn the walk-off win.

The double-dip losses spoiled the Barton pitching performances on the day and the hitting of Henley's 5-of-7 from the plate including two doubles and a triple.