It's not that the Barton Community College softball team would have ended the winning streak of the 5th ranked Grizzlies of Butler Community College, but some missed opportunities on both the offensive and defensive side definitely didn't help as the Cougars were swept in Monday's conference action.
The Grizzlies ballooned the final outcome of the opener with a seventh inning seven run outburst for a 14-2 win before a pair of six run innings resulted in a 15-5 sixth inning run rule to conclude the five hours of softball at Cougar Field. The losses drop the fourth place Cougars to 12-10 in Jayhawk play and 15-19 overall while Butler continues its quest for its eighth straight conference crown improving to 24-0 and 39-3 on its 30th straight victory. Barton's next scheduled game is Wednesday in a 2:00 p.m. doubleheader at Seward County Community College before wrapping up the regular season on Friday and Saturday at Cougar Field.
Barton's first missed opportunity came in the very first inning as a fielding error allowed Butler an early two-out run. The Cougars then would get two aboard in the home half only to come up empty.
The teams battled scoreless through the next two innings and two outs into the fourth before Barton helped extend the inning with a five pitch walk. Two pitches later and eventual winning pitcher Celina Sullivan helped her own cause roping a two-run home run to left field growing the lead. A hit by pitch on a 2-2 count followed by two more singles tacked on another two-out run in pushing the lead out to four.
With the Cougars going down in order the Grizzlies were back at the plate working a nine pitch one-out walk before a single and double ballooned the margin to seven.
The Cougars benefitted by Sullivan leaving a crack in the door in the home half as Kristin Storer and Alexis Sharples worked two-out walks. Kat Frakes took advantage of the extra at-bats scorching a 0-2 pitch to left field driving Storer home from second to snap Sullivan's incredible 37 2/3 scoreless inning stretch. One pitch later Hailey Pop drove in Sharples with a rocket up the middle cutting the deficit to five.
Butler went down in order in the sixth but Barton stranded their sixth runner of the game as Jaila Jordan's one out single went for not.
A leadoff Briana Robinson home run kick-started a seven run seventh inning as the Grizzlies pounded out seven hits in the frame to blow open the game for the final 14-2 victory.
The Grizzlies put up a solo run in the nightcap as Barton would load the bases with one out in the home half but couldn't push a run across.
A one-out single by Nasadiya Salazar followed by a two-out Frakes RBI single tied the game in the second inning with potential to add more after a Baylee Hogan walk but for the second straight frame the Cougars left the bases full.
The Cougar defense got generous in the third inning with three errors as the Grizzlies would plate six runs on five hits. After a one out single, a dropped fly ball kept an extra runner aboard as Robinson launched her second long ball on the three run shot. The Cougars got the next out but another dropped fly extended the inning with a double driving home the fourth run before an infield throwing error left the door open for another RBI single and a 7-1 lead.
Barton countered in the bottom half behind three home runs by freshmen as Hoyt's Maggie Schuetz led off the inning with her fourth of the year and two outs later Kansas City's Salazar sent her second of the season out on a solo shot to center. Storer then extended the inning with a full-count walk with Sharples also working the count to full before connecting opposite field for the Topeka native's second long ball of the season.
After a scoreless fourth, Butler would increase their 7-5 lead by two on one hit in the inning and capitalizing on one of Barton's six errors in the contest.
Butler flexed its muscles on conference victory No. 71 straight putting six across the plate on six hits including Robinson's third home run and 13th of the season driving in her ninth RBI of the doubleheader. Alexis Reed followed with her team leading 16th of the season with Sullivan capping her 5-for-6 afternoon with a two-RBI single.
Sullivan earned the victory in game one improving to 14-1 with Maddie Siemer's 2.2 innings of game two work improved to 16-2 on the season.
Horsch's took the opening loss dropping to 7-10 on the year as Frakes took the game two loss slipping to 0-2. Allison Panning closed out game one's 2.2 inning before returning to get the final two outs of the nightcap.
The Cougars finished with a combined fourteen hits in the doubleheader, with Frakes going 3-for-7 with two runs batted in.