A pair of big innings carried the Barton Community College softball team to a doubleheader sweep Tuesday at Cougar Field over Division II No. 18 Williston State College. The Cougars scored seven in the opening first inning cruising to 10-1 five inning victory before putting up a six spot in the fourth inning of the second game winning 10-2 in six innings. The victories extended the Cougars' win streak to thirteen straight improving to 32-2 on the season headed into a much needed spring break. Williston State, in the midst of six-day, ten-game road stretch, drops to 2-10 in their early season. Barton will take just shy of a week off from competition before retaking the home turf Monday, March 21, in a 2:00 p.m. doubleheader against the junior varsity squad from Kansas Wesleyan University.
The Cougars would bat around in the first innings combining solid hits while taking advantage of any Williston State miscue. Going 2-2 in the first innings, leadoff batter Maddison Schofield got things started blasting double against the gusty north wind over the head of the left fielder. Speedy Cadie O'Donnell put the ball into ball but the Tetons third baseman's throw across the diamond was wide of first allowing Schofield to score the first run. Jayden Gonzales wore a pitch to reach base before Brittany Wood's liner up the middle got past the Tetons' centerfielder allowing two runs to cross the plate with Wood standing up on third. Jenna Hosey followed with single to right center driving home Wood with Hosey scooting into second after the second consecutive outfield error.
Hosey would score next speeding home on Payton Summers hot shot up the middle and for the third consecutive time, Summers would also benefit another base getting to second on an outfield error. Following a Holly Posegate becoming the second hit batsman of the inning, McKenna Mauler reached on a fielder's choice. After a Lili Ertmann groundout, Schofield made her second trip to the plate connecting again to left field driving home two more runs giving the Cougars a 7-0 first inning lead.
Gonzales opened the second with a single while Hosey followed with a one out single. Madison Raynaud then battled back for the Tetons striking out Summers but an infield throwing error on Posegate's grounder to the left side sailed well beyond first base allowing Gonzales and Hosey to score increasing the lead to nine.
With ace starter Madison Didion reigning conference pitcher of the week in the circle, the Washington freshman had more than enough run support mowing down the Tetons in order each of her three innings of work. Amanda Evans took the ball for the fourth facing the top of the lineup issuing a five pitch walk to Madison McGonigal beginning the inning. McGonigal would swipe second base one out later then cracked the scoreboard goose egg scoring on a Tea Solario's single to center.
The Cougars appeared to be going down in order in the home half of the fourth for the second consecutive inning until Hosey turned on the first pitch of her at-bat driving her first homerun of the season down the left field line.
After giving up a leadoff hit to open the third, Evans sent down the lower lineup including striking out the final batter securing the win for Didion. Striking out seven of the nine batters faced, Didion improved to 17-1 on the season ranking fifth nationally to strikeouts.
Teaming with Didion to sweep the conference weekly awards last week, Posegate switched roles for game two commanding the circle sending the Tetons down in order for the first two innings. Surrendering a leadoff single and a one-out walk, Posegate struck out all three outs keeping the Tetons at bay until the Cougar offense got cranked up.
Going down in order to begin the game and stranding the bases loaded with no outs in the second, Barton was headed for its second 1-2-3 inning in the third as Gonzalez stepped to the plate with two outs. Fouling off a 2-2 pitch, Teton starter Jalen Creech would lose the battle as Gonzales beat the yellow out of the ball sending a missile through the left center corridor for her sixth homerun of the season.
Following another Posegate sending the Tetons down in order, the Cougars would put the game away with six in the home half of the fourth. Chasity Ward, who got the game two start at third base, walked her first time up in the second inning loading the bases and again fought off a full-count to reach base for the second time. Posegate would reach on an infield error before Mauler would drive in her lone run of the afternoon with a single to center. Looking to sac bunt to advance the runners, Ertmann's bunt was so well placed the Utah sophomore reached first filling the bases with Cougars. Driving in two runs in the first game, Schofield would clear the bases driving in another three runs with a double to left field. O'Donnell would follow with a single getting herself into scoring position swiping second base for her twentieth of the season. Driving in her third run of the day, Gonzales would easily score O'Donnell with a centerfield single capping the six run inning.
A quiet fifth inning ensued with Hosey adding a strikeout in the inning then completed her eight strikeout game getting the leadoff batter to begin the sixth inning. Raynaud, who took game one loss in the Teton circle, got a little revenge with her first hit of the day hustling out a double as O'Donnell's diving attempt at the line drive skipped off her mitt. One out later freshman Elyssa Escobar-Mancuso will remember Cougar Field, home of her first collegiate homerun driving a 2-0 pitch out to left center cutting the deficit to six.
Getting her fourth hit of the doubleheader, Schofield laced a shot to right getting the sixth inning started. One out later Gonzales completed her three RBI game with a single to left followed by Wood's second hit of the game with a single to center. Both runners advanced extra bases leaving Wood standing on third, scoring one pitch later on a wild pitch capturing the sixth inning victory.
Posegate earned the win improving to 14-1 on the season scattering three hits while tying a career high eight strikeouts.
Coming off a 0-6 performance the night prior at McPherson College, Schofield bounced back going 4-of-7 leading the Cougars with five runs batted in. Gonzales and Hosey were also members of the four hit club in the doubleheader as the trio combined for twelve of Barton's twenty hits.
Barton's trio of pitchers held the Teton bats silent with a combined five hits while striking out sixteen.