The No. 13 ranked Barton Community College opened up its four-game series with Hutchinson Community College on Thursday, picking up a doubleheader sweep at Lawson-Biggs Field. The Cougars took the seven inning opening game 8-5 and led 10-1 through the first four innings of the nine inning nightcap before needing a rally for an eventual 12th inning 13-12 walk-off victory. The walk-off is the third in a row in its conference home series having taken the nightcaps in dramatic fashion previously against Dodge City and Garden City. The victories improve the Cougars at 8-2 in Jayhawk play and 22-5 on the season while Hutchinson slips to 7-7 and 14-12 overall. The teams will resume the series on Saturday, switching locations to Hutchinson's Hobart-Detter Field in a 1:00 p.m. first pitch.
The Blue Dragons were the first on the board coming in the opening frame as Bobby Morgensen's two-out blast to center resulted in an inside the park home run. Having disregard for the blue painted fence lined with yellow piping along the top, Barton centerfielder Chandler Kelley made a sensational run-it-down catch at the track before a violent full-speed collision with the wall resulted in the ball popping loose turning Morgensen into a track star in touching all the bases.
With Kelley checking out of the game but listed as ok with just a cut, winning hurler Josh Hendrickson and the Barton offense picked up the rest of the game to get the victory. The two-time pitcher of the week scattered just five more hits in his six innings of work to remain undefeated on the season at 6-0. Sending the Blue Dragons down in order in the second and again in the fourth, Hendrickson struck out two in the third and the fifth to finish the afternoon with eight.
Paul Claassen's first of two doubles in the game set up Barton's three run third inning as Harrison Denk drove in the first of his two RBIs on a single to right. Pomeroy then followed on a single to left as Kaden Fowler's line drive put the Cougars out front for good with Carson Engroff's sac fly capping the inning.
Claassen connected on his second straight double to keep the fourth inning alive, fighting off a 1-2 pitch before lining the next pitch to left for the seventh of the year for the Remington High School product. Denk then delivered the RBI racing around the diamond on an outfield error to push the Barton lead out to four.
Hutchinson's Miguel Reyes cut into the deficit launching a 1-0 pitch to centerfield with Brett Erickson providing the answer in the home half with a bases loaded sacrifice fly.
Consecutive doubles by Dylan Nedved and reigning conference player of the week Logan Sartori began Hendrickson's final inning with a groundout producing the second Blue Dragon run of the inning.
As the Cougars did in the fifth inning previously, they answered the Blue Dragons' run production with two of their own as Fowler connected on his fifth long ball of the season in driving a 2-2 pitch over the centerfield wall in plating Denk who had reached on a hit by pitch.
Pomeroy closed out the final inning getting two strikeouts of the three outs but not before Hutch would put one on the board on a Nedved one-out RBI single.
Just like the first game, Hutchinson would get on the board first and again it would come from Morgensen in delivering a one-out double to score Sartori's reach after getting plunked by game two starter Andrew Repp.
Engroff provided the answer in the home half after fighting off two 2-2 pitches before lining his second triple of the year. Brett Bonar, would go 4-of-6 in the twelve frames, delivered the first of his team high four RBIs with a single to center on the first pitch.
After stranding two Hutchinson runners in the second, Jared Maneth began his three hit game with a single before getting to second on a wild pitch and over to third on Claassen's ground out. Denk's sacrifice fly gave the Cougars the lead being followed by Pomeroy's single and Fowler's RBI double for his fourteenth two-bagger of the year. Engroff again had another tough at-bat fighting off two 2-2 pitches again before winning the battle with an RBI single and 4-1 Cougar lead.
Repp sent the Dragons down quickly in the third with three of his four strikeouts on the day.
The Cougar bats stayed hot with Brady Michel keying the six-run inning with a single with Erickson reaching on an error. Maneth then sent a 3-2 pitch to the wall for an RBI double with Claassen bringing home another run on a ground out. Denk drove in his second run on a single and following Pomeroy drawing a walk, Engroff and Bonar capped the inning with RBI singles ballooning the lead out to 10-1 through the first three innings.
Repp worked out of the fourth in stranding two Blue Dragons for the second consecutive inning but Barton couldn't add to the lead in the home half.
A Satori single and Morgensen home run to right field opened up the fifth but Repp got out of his final inning without further damage in stranding a two-out walk.
Both teams went quiet their next two at-bats with Bonar's team leading seventh home run of the year pushing the lead back to eight at 11-3.
A walk and double to begin the seventh would greet reliever Tanner Howe's second inning of work as a groundout would be all Hutchinson could get.
The Cougars would go quiet the next three innings with Hutchinson coming to life in part to five walks in the eighth inning between a trio of Barton hurlers. A wild pitch would put the first run on the board with a Garrett Stephens grand slam suddenly drawing Hutchinson to within 11-9.
Stranding an Erickson two out single in the eighth, Hutchinson was down to their final out in the ninth before two singles would end Nolan Riley's 1.1 innings of work. Morgensen drove Patrick McClure's 2-2 pitch to right field in cutting the deficit to one before Stephens greeted Pomeroy's first pitch in relief with a game tying single to center.
The Cougars went quiet in the ninth and despite a Ryan Moritz single to open the tenth, Pomeroy looked to be getting out the inning until Julian Rip delivered the go-ahead run on a first pitch two-out triple to left field. Pomeroy would keep the margin at one registering his second strikeout in his 1.1 on the hill.
Fowler led off the tenth with a single but was wiped off the bases in a stolen base attempt. Engroff followed by reaching on a hit-by-pitch with pinch runner Luke Royle taking his place in what would be a big move by Head Coach Brent Biggs. Bonar kept the line moving with a single but after a strikeout, it was left up to Erickson who sent an 0-1 pitch to left as Royle sped the bases for the Dodge City first collegiate run scored and more importantly giving the Cougars the tying run.
Casey Wulfkuhle sent the Dragons down in order in the eleventh while Dayden Lane did the same to the Cougars.
Striking out three in the twelfth to strand a mixed in Blue Dragon walk and single, Wulfkuhle helped his cause in the home half in following Fowler's leadoff walk with a single. One of the three Shawnee Heights High School products on the roster, Wulfkuhle fought off a 2-2 pitch, a 3-2 pitch, before connecting on his first collegiate hit in just four plate appearances in giving the Cougars two on with no outs. Following an intentional walk to Bonar to load the bases and a pitching change to Nedved, Trenton Ferguson took advantage of the drawn in infield with a high chopper for his first collegiate RBI and clinching the cardiac boys of blue their third straight home conference series' walk-off victory.
In addition to his hit, Wulfkuhle improved to 2-0 on the mound as the pitching staff combined for fifteen strikeouts in the twelve innings played.
The Cougars offense pounded out twenty hits in the nightcap after ten in six innings of at-bats in the opener. Bonar and Fowler led the attack with five hits including a home run each.