The Barton Community College baseball team grabbed game one 6-2 Thursday of its best-of-three series at Kansas City Kansas Community College in the opening round of the Region VI playoffs.
Taking an early three run lead behind Charlie Peyla's bases clearing triple in the first inning, the Cougar bats aided another strong pitching performance by Zac Curry (8-2) giving the defending region champions the opening victory.
The sixth seeded Cougars improve to 34-20 as the third seeded Blue Devils slip to 39-15 on the year. Game two at KCK's Baseball Complex slated for 2:00 p.m. Friday with the if necessary game three scheduled for the same time on Saturday.
Andrew Stewart began the contest with triple to center with Harrison Denk being plunked on the second pitch giving Barton runners at the corners. Following a pick-off play to erase Denk, Noah Geekie and Chandler Bloomer occupied the bags via a walk and another hit by pitch by KCK's Osvaldo Mendez. Fouling off the first full-count pitch, Peyla drove the next pitch to the wall in right center chasing home three Cougars.
KCK began their at-bat like the Cougars did, leading off the frame with a triple as the damp outfield aided in the extra bags. Scoring on a sac fly, Curry induced a pair of ground balls to prevent any further momentum.
Both teams had some chances offensively but defensive execution kept the score steady until Peyla nearly tacked on two more for the Cougars in the fifth as his drive down the left field line hooked foul. Instead, a double to left center would be the result of the next pitch to drive home Denk's leadoff single putting Barton up 5-1.
Chandler Kelley hit by pitch and Stewart's walk began the sixth frame in chasing Mendez from the game. The pair moved ninety feet closer on Denk's bunt with Barton increasing its lead to five on Geekie's fielder's choice.
The Blue Devils started to build some momentum in the home half as a leadoff single and passed ball would score on a single to the outfield as the wet field conditions reared its head again creating an error allowing the batter to reach second base. Curry battled back inducing a ground out before registering a dugout sender as KCK would strand runners at the corners following a two-out walk.
Brett Erickson's leadoff eighth inning single led to another insurance run as a sac bunt and wild pitch moved the sophomore around the bases to score on Stewart's sac fly providing a 6-2 lead.
In the home half, a leadoff single turning into a double due another fielder slip chased Curry with Joe Richter taking over the mound. Losing the next batter on a walk, Richter and Barton got out the inning on two plays at third baseman Tyler Bandiera as Bloomer gunned down a steal attempt at the third base bag with Bandiera starting a 5-4-3 frame ending twin killing to snuff out the threat.
Curry's seven innings of work behind five strikeouts and scattering six hits improved the sophomore to 8-2 on the year with Richter keeping the Blue Devils at bay with the final two innings of scoreless action.
Peyla's four RBIs were joined by solo runs driven in by Stewart and Geekie as Denk's pair of hits added to Peyla's in leading the Cougars to an 8-6 hit advantage.
All games will be carried on area local and web radio 107.9FM with Doug Bender on the call, as well as, in-game updates provided on the "BartonSports" Twitter feed. Coverage links including video stream provided by Blue Devil Athletics can be found at www.BartonSports.com.