The Barton Community College softball team was back on the field after a thirteen day layoff due to weather, dropping a conference doubleheader Friday afternoon at Cougar Field to top ranked Butler Community College 10-0 and 11-1. Having dealt the Grizzlies their last loss a year ago at Cougar Field, the Cougars found themselves trailing 3-0 in each of their first at-bats as Butler quickly jumped out ahead in part to consecutive home runs in the opener and a two-out round tripper in the night cap. On the day the Grizzlies pounded out twenty-five hits with seven exceeding the fence while getting dominant pitching combining for twenty-three strikeouts in securing the sweep. The losses drop Barton to 7-5 in the Jayhawk and 22-9 on the season while Butler secured their 72nd straight win since last March 3rd split with the Cougars to improve to 34-0 overall and atop the conference standings at 10-0. Barton's next action is Monday in hosting Dodge City Community College for a 2:00 p.m. doubleheader.
The Grizzlies jumped on top of Barton starter Amanda Evans with Ki'Audra Hayter lining the first pitch through the infield setting the tone. Kenzie Young then battled Evans for nine pitches before sending her fifth home run of the season off the left field foul pole. Two pitches later Becca Schulte drove her fourteenth of the season over the center field fence to chase Evans from the game with the Butler 3-0 lead.
Kat Frakes came in to get out of the inning and pitched well into the third before three straight singles pushed across the Grizzlies fourth run. Young and Schulte would strike again in the fourth inning with Young driving in two more with a triple down the right field line scoring on Schulte's single. Butler would tack on three more in the fifth getting the first of Darrianne Hale's three home runs to lead off the inning followed by Celina Sullivan's second long ball of the year putting the final two runs on the board.
Regan Mergele improved to 15-0 on the year as the nation's leader in ERA struck out nine in her three innings of work with Sullivan and Minor each pitching an inning combining for six more strikeouts. Evans took the loss dropping to 6-3 on the year.
Payton Reynolds gave Barton a fighting chance in game two, retiring the first two batters before an infield error kept the inning alive. The Grizzlies took advantage of the extra opportunity with Minor lacing an RBI double before Hale connected to centerfield for her second of the day.
Maddison Schofield, who would go 3-of-6 against the top ranked pitching staff, began her two hit game launching a 2-2 Mergele pitch over the centerfield fence for her fifth of the season.
Butler answered with two in the next inning as Hayter doubled to right center before getting tagged out on a relay from Schofield to Kaci Isaacson with a perfect throw to Payton Summers at the third base bag.
Stranding two Grizzlies and keeping the scoreboard clean in the third, Reynolds got the first two batters out on groundouts until table setter Hayter beat out a perfectly placed bunt. A hit batsman later and Reynolds had Schulte on the ropes with an 0-2 count before the Andover Central product drove in two on a double to left field.
For the second time in the day, Hale led off the fifth inning and for the second time the Texan sophomore put the ball on the flip side of the fence in launching her third of the series and eleventh home run of the season. Two walks and two outs later, leadoff Hayter continued her blitzing of the Cougars with her 5-of-7 day driving in her fifth RBI with three coming on her third home run of the season.
Improving to 16-0 on the year, Mergele's combined six innings of work resulted in fourteen strikeouts against two walks with the lone blemish coming on Schofield's home run. Sullivan pitched the fourth recording her fourth and fifth strikeout of the day giving way to Maddie Siemer working a two strikeout fifth inning to nail down the victory. Reynolds took the loss dropping to 11-6 on the freshman's season.