The Barton Community College baseball team held off a ninth inning Allen County Community College rally Saturday for a 9-7 win to sweep the Red Devils at Lawson-Biggs Field in the opening round of the Central District Region VI Tournament. The victory improves Barton to 42-12 on the season and advances the nationally receiving votes Cougars to the quarterfinals for the second straight year while also ending the Red Devils' season for the second straight year as Allen County concludes the 2018 campaign at 25-27.
The Cougars will next play the 1:00 p.m. game at Wichita's Lawrence-Dumont Stadium against Johnson County Community College (36-21). The Cavaliers earned the trip with a 17-12 game three victory over Cloud County Sunday afternoon in Overland Park.
Kaden Fowler drove in the first of his team leading four RBIs in the game with a first inning double giving Barton the early lead. Paul Claassen doubled the margin in the next home half with the first of his three hits to lead Barton's total of eleven.
Dawson Pomeroy's two out walk and Claassen's second single led to Barton doubling up the lead in scoring on a wild pitch and balk.
Reigning conference and national pitcher of the week Zach Curry kept the Red Devils off the board through the first four frames but a hit by pitch and throwing error started to crack the shell in the fifth. A sacrifice bunt and a Brett Bonar to Pomeroy erasing an attempt of stealing third registered the second out of the inning but the Red Devils strung a walk, double, and single to chase Curry in closing to within one. Easton Smith took over on the mound but the surging Red Devils put another across the plate with a double to tie it up.
Allen County pulled ahead with a solo run in the sixth behind three consecutive singles as Austin Taylor was called in with two outs and induced a foul fly out to strand two runners.
The Cougars strung together their own three consecutive hits in the home half, with Brett Erickson and Pomeroy being followed by Claassen's RBI single. Chandler Kelley loaded the bases one out later with a walk before Fowler deleivered the bases clearing go-ahead runs on his second double of the game and 26th two-bagger of the year to join Brady Michel in the second spot of the program single season record chart. Carsen Engroff put the cap on the five run inning with a right field single to plate Fowler for the 9-5 lead.
Tanner Howe pitched a near perfect seventh and eighth innings with four strikeouts and one hit, surrendering to Pomeroy to begin the ninth.
A single and one out double cut the margin to three with Pomeroy striking out his second of the inning putting the Red Devils down to their final out. Allen County kept the inning alive with a run producing single, followed by another single and walk to load the bases before Pomeroy induced a fly out to end the threat and advance the Cougars to Wichita.
Taylor earned the win improving to 4-0 on the season with the pitching staff combining for eleven strikeouts after fanning thirteen on Friday.