Bouncing back from just their second loss of the season and having a seventeen game win streak snapped, the Barton Community College softball team started a new streak earning five victories this past weekend in Concordia at the Cloud County Spring Classic. The Cougars played three games of their five games on Saturday getting two wins against Iowa community college schools, a 5-3 victory over Iowa Western and a 10-2 five-inning victory over Iowa Central, before wrapping up the day with a 7-4 win over Division II No. 12 ranked Highland Community College. Opening up the final day against another Iowa school, Barton came out on top of Muscatine Community College before exploding with an eight run seventh inning to defeat host Cloud County 10-0. Now 24-2 on the season, Barton will return to conference play this week beginning with a 2:00 p.m. first pitch hosting Seward County Community College at Cougar Field before wrapping up the week Friday at Dodge City Community College.
Barton found themselves in a not so frequented position Saturday in their first game trailing 3-0 to Iowa Western in the third while also having its ace Madison Didion in the circle. McKenna Mauler lit the spark the Cougars needed with a leadoff homerun with Maddison Schofield and Cadie O'Donnell singles to follow cutting the deficit to one. Mauler then sparked the go-ahead three-run fifth inning with a leadoff walk. Two batters later Schofield tripled her home for the tying run and following an O'Donnell walk, a passed ball proved to be the winning run as Schofield scampered in from third. O'Donnell would tack on the insurance run two batters later on a passed ball on the dropped Brittany Wood strikeout.
After spotting Iowa Central a pair of runs in the second game of the day, the Cougars scored in every inning putting away the Triton's 10-2 in five innings. Pounding out fourteen hits, six Cougars had a multi-hit game with Jenna Hosey leading the way with a 3-for-4 performance. Wood was a perfect 2-for-2 including belting her eleventh homerun of the season for third best in the nation driving a 1-0 pitch over the centerfield fence tying the game in the first inning. Holly Posegate picked up her ninth win of the season scattering three hits while striking out five improving to 9-1 on the season.
For the third straight game the Cougars played from behind as Highland would get one across in the top of the first on a leadoff homerun. The Cougars would counter with five in the home half and put the game away in the second tacking on two more going on to the 7-4 victory as Didion moved to 12-1 on the season. Jayden Gonzales and Mauler each had multi-hit games as both came thru in the five run first inning with Mauler's first of two doubles in the game clearing the bases loaded for the eventual game winner. Gonzales drove in her lone run in the two-run second.
Beginning the second day of the Spring Classic with its fourth straight game spotting the opponent at least a run, the Cougars quickly answered like they did on Saturday. Three extra base hits in the five run second inning included a Posegate double, a Lili Ertmann triple, followed by a two run dinger off the bat of Schofield for her fifth of the season as the Cougars would pound out twelve hits in the game. Muscatine would launch a comeback getting two in each of the fourth and fifth innings to tie it up but a Gonzales two-out three-run homerun for her sixth of the season proved to be the difference. Posegate improved to 10-1 on the season getting help from her defense rolling up a 6-4-3 double play to erase a leadoff seventh inning single and squelch another Muscatine comeback.
Didion was the story in the weekend finale keeping the host T-Birds off the scoreboard until the Cougar offense finally kicked in. The Barton bats, having scattered six hits through the first six innings but not cracking the goose egg, came through with six hits in the seventh with the final hit coming off Mauler's six home run of the season as the Great Bend sophomore drove a full count pitch over the fence for a grand slam. Despite a leadoff double for the T-Birds in the home half of the inning, Didion shut down the threat with two straight strikeouts recording a season high thirteen improving to 13-1 in her freshman campaign.
Schofield and Mauler led the Cougars on the weekend as the pair each batted .500 or better. Schofield, the reigning conference player of the week, was 10-for-19 out of the lead position scoring nine runs while Mauler was 7-of-14 at the plate with two doubles and two home runs producing eight runs batted in while Gonzales drove in nine batting .421 on the weekend.
Didion picked up three of the five wins striking out twenty-one while walking only two in twenty-one innings of work. Posegate had a ten strikeout weekend while walking none in twelve innings in the circle.