The Barton Community College baseball team had their season come to an end Saturday in Kansas City as the Cougars dropped the first two games of the three-game series to Kansas City Kansas Community College in first round action of the Region VI/Central District Tournament. The twelfth seeded Cougars got off to a rough start digging an early eight run deficit and never recovered leading to a 13-0 loss. Bouncing back in game two, Barton led through 5.5 innings but a four-run KCK home half of the sixth inning sent the Cougars home losing 7-3. Barton concludes the 2016 season at 29-27 while the fifth seeded Blue Devils improve to 39-18 advancing to next weekend's eight team double-elimination bracket held at Wichita's Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
Anything bad that could happen to the Cougars seemed to happen in the very first inning beginning with the first batter of the game. Starting hurler Jackson Rose quickly dug Chase Reddick a two-strike hole but missing on the third pitch, Reddick bounced a single on the Blue Devil artificial turf. Reddick would keep on trucking ending up on second as shortstop Cole Henley's throw from the infield-outfield seam missed its mark at the first base bag committing the first of five Barton errors in the game. One pitch later Conor Behrens drove a triple to right field and just like that the Blue Devils had a one run lead. The two plays were a snapshot of the inning as KCK would plate five more runs getting a walk, three singles, a wild pitch, and another error while chasing Rose from the game with two outs in the opening frame.
KCK would tack on two more in the second behind a leadoff triple, sacrifice fly, and a two-out double and single. Three more would come in the fourth inning before single runs in the fifth and sixth would bury the Cougars in the game shortened seven inning victory.
Rose took the loss falling to 5-3 in in his final game as a Cougar while KCK's Reid improved to 6-2 holding the Cougars to just two hits. Dayton Pomeroy picked up the first of those leading off the second with a single to right while Ryan McClure's one-out single in the fourth being the only other hit.
Despite the blanking in the first game, the Cougars weren't about to roll over in game two taking the lead twice including a 3-2 lead going into the home half of the sixth.
Drake Bliss' leadoff hit-by-pitch eventually led to a first inning lead lasting until the third when a walk, bunt single, and infield error gave the Blue Devils a bases packed situation with no outs. Garret Rogers induced a fielder's choice that would score one but then helped his cause starting a 1-6-3 double play to get out of the inning being tied.
KCK took the lead one inning later with a leadoff first-pitch Ryan Fisher homerun but the Cougars squelched any further damage as Mason Hightower erased the lone other hit in the inning by gunning out LA Woodard trying to steal second and Rogers striking out the final batter.
Barton would get the equalizer in the next inning as a pesky Henley beat out an infield single before swiping second and trotting to third on a wild pitch. One out later Ryan Schippers put the ball on the right side turf to easily score Henley from ninety-feet.
With Rogers keeping control of the Blue Devils including his fourth strikeout in five innings, the Cougars got a couple of big two-out hits by sophomores to take what would be their final lead. McClure tripled to deep left field with Pomeroy getting his second hit with the RBI single to left.
Two-out rally was the theme of the sixth inning with the Cougars' scoring one but KCK supersized theirs plating a deflating four runs. A Woodard double began things and as Rogers perhaps began to tire, the Blue Devils earned a full-count walk followed by another walk before a passed ball tied up the game at three. Battling back to get ahead 0-2 in the count, Rogers was unable to get the knockout punch as Easton Fortuna fouled off the next two pitchers before driving in the go-ahead run with a single to right. One more RBI single would ensue before Rogers was replaced by Mason Hiser who then committed the second Barton error of the game allowing another run to score resulting in a three-run deficit.
The Cougars went down in order in the seventh with KCK driving the nail in the coffin with the first batter Travis Stroup sending a 1-2 pitch airborne ending up on the other side of the left field wall.
Rogers took the loss ending the freshman's campaign at 3-5 while Jake Purl improved to 9-2 on the season.
McClure and Pomeroy led the seven hit Barton attack being joined by Henley with two hits each as KCK finished with twelve to conclude a 27-9 hit advantage in the series.