The two game intensity level and consistency of the Barton Community College softball team continued to rear its ugly head Saturday as the No. 10 ranked Cougars came away with a disappointing split with Dodge City Community College. In taking game one behind the power of six home runs 14-6 in six innings, the Cougars went dormant in the back end of the twin bill despite launching a five run deficit rally in the final two innings falling 7-6. Concluding play at Cougar Field for the 2016 season with a 19-3 record, the split drops the Cougars to third place in the Jayhawk at 13-3 and 42-4 on the season while Dodge City helps solidify its fourth place standing in the conference at 7-11 and 15-19 overall.
Two games in the win column behind second place Colby Community College, the Cougars control its destiny to leap frog the Trojans and chase a conference championship with four opponents remaining in the season. Barton will begin the trek next Friday traveling to Colby for the pivotal 2:00 p.m. doubleheader first pitch with games against Garden City, Pratt, and a final potential showdown at Butler left to conclude the regular season.
The disappointing day overshadowed the power surge in the double dip as the Cougars blasted seven home runs with six of those coming in the first game. Freshman Jayden Gonzales accounted for two of the game one six dingers with the first coming on a first inning solo shot.
The Cougars increased the lead by four in the second behind three of Barton's five doubles in the game. Lili Ertmann drove in two on her first of two doubles in the game with two more consecutive doubles coming from Maddison Schofield and Cadie O'Donnell each driving in a run.
The 7-8-9 hitters for Dodge City got things going in the top of the third beginning with a solid single up the middle and two infield bunt singles to load the bases. Marina Kelly delivered a two-RBI single followed by Taylor Menard's one-out double to left center cut the Barton lead to 5-3.
Getting one of the runs back in the home half, the Cougars pushed around an unearned run as Jenna Hosey had led off the inning reaching on an infield error scoring on McKenna Mauler's first of two hits in the twin bill.
The long balls highlighted to Barton fourth inning beginning with Schofield's seventh of the year on a one-out drive to left field. One out later the Cougars went back-to-back jacks with Gonzales banging her second of the day and twelfth of the year while Brittany Wood sent her sixteenth ball of the year over the fence pushing the lead to 9-3.
The Conquistadors matched the three runs in the top of the fifth as No. 9 hitter Taryn Garza led off the inning with her second home run of the season. With an infield error keeping the inning alive former Cougar Candice Bollig cut the lead in half with her sixth homerun of the season.
Payton Summers led off the home half with a single as the Cougars looked to answer with Mauler depositing her tenth home run of the season to grab two of the runs back. Ertmann followed with her second double of the game with Schofield driving her in her team leading third RBI increasing the lead by six.
Following a scoreless Conq sixth, Wood led off the home half with a single to left. Down in the count 0-2, Jenna Hosey picked an opportune time for her first hit of the game sending a laser over the fence in left center for the walk-off two run homerun, her third long ball of the season.
Madison Didion earned the win improving the freshman's campaign to 22-2 striking out eleven with no free passes in her six full innings of work.
Game two began with a scoreless first inning followed by one-out solo shot homeruns in the second. The Conqs Kaylie Schoendaller hit her fourth of the season while Summers blasted her sixth long ball of the season in the Cougar home half.
Two scoreless innings would follow before the action picked up in the fifth as the lower part of the lineup would set the table for a Dodge City three run inning. Frazier got things going with a double scoring one batter later on an infield error on Garza's ball in play. Following Holly Posegate's fifth of seven strikeouts in the game, Heather Amen drove home Garza on a single to center. Bollig then put the final touches on the inning driving a two-out 1-1 pitch to left center for her twelfth of the season.
Barton went down in order in the home half as the Conqs smelled blood getting two singles to lead off the sixth. Posegate fanned her seventh batter but couldn't make it eight as Garza fought off three 1-2 pitches before connecting on her second home run of the day with a blast to left field for a five run lead.
O'Donnell gave Barton life leading off the sixth with double and following a Gonzales ground out, Wood drew a walk giving the Cougars runners at the corners. Hosey drove in her third run of the day with a single to left. Posegate then did her part in helping her cause with a RBI single to left but eventual winning pitcher Kim Herron struck out Mauler for the third time in the game to end the Barton threat protecting a three run lead.
Barton's third and fourth errors of the game and sixth of the day proved costly in the final inning. A groundout to first began the inning with a bang-bang ground ball play at first going against Barton gave Dodge City a runner aboard. Posegate induced a Bollig come-backer to the circle in a potential inning ending double play but the throw to the second base bag was thrown behind Hosey allowing both runners to reach. In an almost identical situation, Posegate induced Schoendaller's hit back to the circle but this time Posegate's throw reached the outfield as Menard spun around third sliding in to home plate just ahead of Schofield's throw from center field.
Trailing by four in the final inning, Ertmann drew a leadoff walk advancing to third as Schofield's fly to right field found the grass for a double. O'Donnell, who along with Posegate had two hits each in the nightcap, lacing a single up the middle for her second hit driving in two cutting the deficit in half.
The Conqs, who weren't exactly stellar in the field themselves, committed their third error of the game and seventh of the series as Gonzales' hit to shortstop was throw into right field trying to get the force out at second but instead gave the Cougars runners at the corners with no outs.
Becoming the winning run at the plate, Wood just missed a walk-off three-run homerun by two feet banging a towering drive off the fence for the RBI standup double. With O'Donnell easily scoring, pinch runner Kaylie Doll over at third and Wood at second, Hosey stepped to the plate with an opportunity for her second game winner of the day. Instead, in an unfortunate series of plays, Hosey's soft blooper was snared by shortstop Kayla Frazier just behind the second base bag beating Wood to the base ringing up the Cougars in a disastrous double play. A mid depth fly out to center by Summers would end it snapping Barton's four game win streak and Dodge City's four game losing streak.
Posegate took the loss dropping to 19-2 despite striking out seven and only allowing four earned runs.