The Barton Community College baseball team were within ninety feet of a tying run on Sunday but instead ended up with another split as the No. 13 Cougars and Dodge City Community College each won a game to half the weekend's four game series at Lawson-Biggs Field. The Cougars took the opener 10-4 scoring in each of its six at-bats but in the nightcap a couple of Conquistador big innings were enough as Barton's leadoff ninth inning triple came up short in a 9-8 defeat. The series split leaves Barton at 5-3 in conference play and 20-6 overall while Dodge City leaves Great Bend at 9-3 in the Jayhawk and 17-7 on the season. Barton will have a day's rest before No. 20 ranked Iowa Western Community College rolls in to Lawson-Biggs Field for a Tuesday 2:00 p.m. doubleheader.
Barton got on the board first in the opener courtesy of a balk but Dodge City's Talon Schaller had the answer in the following inning sending his eight long ball of the season over the left field wall.
Cole Henley led off the home half with a triple down the line but was thrown out at the plate on Taylor Langston's fielder's choice. An Alan Clark walk later and Michael Sinks sent his team leading fourth ball over the fence crushing a 1-0 pitch to center field for a 4-1 lead.
The Cougars would tack on single runs in the third through fifth innings beginning with a Dawson Pomeroy triple scoring on Kaden Fowler's double to right center. The lead quickly grew to five runs the next inning as Langston led off the fourth with his second dinger of the year.
Dodge would get one back in the top of the fifth on Jon Coss' run rule double followed by a ground out and Cade Engle's sacrifice fly. The Cougars responded with one of their own as Pomeroy's leadoff single would pay dividends eventually scoring on Henley's sacrifice fly. Barton would bust the game open the next inning getting Sinks and Bartlett consecutive singles, scoring on a Trey Pittman ground out and Fowler's two RBI double to right field to tie Sinks with team high run production.
Jarrett Seaton gave way to Langston in the seventh as Dodge City would get two on the board to make the final 10-4. Seaton stayed unbeaten on the season as the Nebraska freshman improved to 5-0, striking out four in his six innings of work while scattering five hits and not allowing a walk. Joe Buckendorf took the loss dropping to 3-2 on the year.
Barton carried the momentum into game two, with Bartlett collected his third hit in five at-bats being followed an out later with Pomeroy tattooing his first collegiate home run with a screaming lined shot over the left field wall.
Gavin Gifford wasted little time showing his home run power the next innings drilling a 0-1 pitch to center for his sixth of the season. The Conqs would get the equalizer one inning later as Engle's two out single and stolen base scored on Brayden Cook's single to left center.
Things started to unravel in the fifth for Barton starting hurler Drew Repp walking the first two batters before a hit by pitch loaded the bases. Gifford then stepped up to the plate belting a 1-2 pitch up the gut driving in two Conqs to chase Repp from game. Brant Millerborg induced a Schaller pop fly but it was deep enough to score the third run of the inning. Jake Pederson drove in the final run of the inning with a deep drive to right center but the perfect relay throws from Clark to Sinks and firing into Matthew Baca ended the inning tagging Pederson out at third.
Both teams went down in order in the next at-bats with Henley driving in Pomeroy with a double to left center cutting the Barton deficit to 6-3 headed to the seventh.
A leadoff walk to Engle by Millerborg got the hook from Head Coach Brent Biggs, being replaced by Pomeroy. A sac bunt moved Engle into scoring position with Dauson Tate's double to left center answering the Barton run. A fly out later, Dodge City strung together three consecutive singles increasing the lead to six.
The no quit Cougars began clawing back with a Clark single and Bartlett turning on a blistering double down the line cutting the deficit by one.
Pomeroy made quick work of the Conqs in the eighth, turning the game back to the Barton bats. Following a ground out to begin the home half of the eight, Henley pumped more life into the Cougars as the Bonner Springs sophomore blasted his first collegiate homerun with the solo shot to straight away center. Celebrating his birthday Sunday at Lawson-Biggs Field, Bret Bonar sent a sharp single into center field with Bliss following with his second hit of the game with a single to right. Going to the bench, Coach Biggs brought out game one starting catcher Kaden Fowler to pinch hit, turning on the second pitch he saw to chase reliever Jeremy Hildago from the game with a three-run crushing home run to right field for his second of the year.
Sinks greeted Dalton Harvey to the game with his lone hit of game two but Harvey escaped further damage getting an incredible defensive play by Tate at third base. Laying full out along the third base line, Tate jumped to his feet throwing a rocket across the diamond to rob Bartlett of a potentially game tying RBI double.
Barton went back to work down to their final three outs and trailing by one, with Pittman sending a deep drive to right center sliding in head first for his team leading fifth triple of the year. Harvey got Pomeroy to strike out then received the benefit of a questionable call at the plate and another Conq defensive web gem. With Henley sending a slow roller to the right side of the diamond, Cook charged hard from his second base position firing to the plate just in time to get Pittman out on the head first slide. As photos revealed, Pittman executed a perfect wrap-around slide to avoid the tag but the home plate umpire's positioning shielded the great effort and popped the balloon of Cougar momentum.
Barton had one more chance with Henley getting to second on a wild pitch, but the Cougars got the short end of the stick on the final play of the day as Bonar's two strike foul tip appeared to hit the dirt but the umpiring crew's ruling again disappointed the Barton faithful as the rally fell short.
Repp took the loss to drop to 1-1 on the season while Brandon improved to 3-1 as Harvey earned his first save.