The Barton Community College baseball team fell 5-2 to Neosho County Community College this morning at Wichita's Lawrence Dumont Stadium in the opening game of the eight-team Central District Region VI Tournament. The loss bounces the 42-17 Cougars to the elimination side of the bracket to play in Saturday's 10:00 a.m. contest against the loser of the Fort Scott-Cowley game while Neosho improves to 40-20 and will play the winner of that game at 4:00 p.m. Saturday.
Barton picked up solo hits in both the first and second inning but behind the pitching of the Panthers' Mason Knopp and two double-play balls, the Cougars came up empty.
Neosho broke through the goose eggs on the board in the home half of the third, setting things up with a leadoff single and one-out walk against Barton hurler Garret Rogers. The Panthers then came through with consecutive two-out RBI singles from Tanner Arst and Nolan Beets taking the 2-0 lead.
The Panthers tacked on another run in the next inning coming through with another big two-out hit as Kaleb DeLaTorre delivered an RBI double to the right center gap.
The Cougars cut into the deficit in the sixth inning with its own two-out rally despite a base running error keeping the first run off the board. Dawson Pomeroy kept the frame alive spoiling a 2-2 pitch with a single to right field moving Corrigan Bartlett over to second before Kaden Fowler found the right field turf driving in his 48th RBI of the season. Fowler would then steal his fifth base of the year drawing an errant throw into second allowing Pomeroy to trot home cutting the deficit to 3-2.
Needing a shutdown inning to keep the momentum, Rogers did his part recording his fifth strikeout to what would have ended the inning but the dropped strike and throw to first clipped the runner allowing Neosho's leadoff single to score.
The Cougars went quietly in the top of the seventh while the Panthers took advantage of another Barton infield error before a one-out single gave the Panthers their winning 5-2 score.
Pitching well but coming up with the loss in what could be his final time on the hill for the Cougars, Rogers' six innings of work with three earned runs drops to 7-6 on the season. Knopp went the full nine innings for the Panthers with a seven-hit four-strikeout performance improving to 9-3 on the season.
Fowler was joined by Alan Clark in the multi-hit club as the pair had two hits each as Barton could just manage the seven overall hits.
The Cougars' quest in the Tournament can be viewed and heard online, with pre-game beginning at 9:45 a.m., with links to the coverage found at: http://bartonsports.com/fanZone/broadcastinfo