It took a pair of a late rallies but the Barton Community College softball team pulled out a couple of Saturday home victories over Southeast Community College 5-2 in the opener before a dramatic 10-9 walk-off home run victory sealed Sophomore Day at Cougar Field.
Getting big hits in the pair of games by its freshman, it was an array of sophomores providing the highlighted heroics including Tia Kohl's career high ten strikeouts and a pair of game winning home runs by Emma Horsch and Jayden Solberg.
Victors of six straight improving to 28-11 on the year and dropping Southeast to 13-15, the Cougars embark on a four-game road swing beginning Monday at Cowley College (2:00 p.m.) before a Wednesday trip to Independence Community College (1:00 p.m.). Barton will then wrap-up the regular season on Monday April 29th in a home doubleheader versus 11th ranked Butler Community College.
Game One Recap
Despite Southeast solo home runs in the third and fourth innings, Kohl was in full command of the game awaiting the Cougar offense to get clicking.
The Cougars got a little help from the Southeast defense as Jade Phillips' one-out double scored on a dropped fly ball cutting the deficit in half.
With Kohl sending the Storm down in order for the second straight inning, Betsy Parmley's one out single in the home half of the sixth appeared headed to be stranded. Down to their final out, sophomore Horsch ignited the club sending a one strike pitch out of the park in line drive fashion putting the Cougars out front. Solberg continued the two-out train with a hit with Philips plating her on her 12th double of the year before coming home on Alexis Sharples single.
Kohl scattered just five hits in the contest, striking out a career high ten batters to get the victory.
Game Two Recap
Southeast jumped on the Cougars and Horsch early in game two, picking up a solo first inning run before a five-hit second inning including a Barton error put four more on the board for a five run lead.
A one-out Demi Kunkel hit and Solberg double headed to the plate with Maggie Schuetz delivering her fourth double of the season to cut the margin to three. Following a Sharples single, craziness ensued as Phillips bunt was thrown into right field with the speedy freshman trailing her base mates to slide in home for the third run on the play getting the score knotted at five.
The Cougars returned the favor in the ensuing third with three errors allowing three runs to cross on just two hits as Southeast regained the lead at 8-5.
Kunkel led a two-out rally in the home half with a triple to the left center gap, scoring on Solberg's single, with Lia Chan's high fly to left going off the fielder's mitt allowing Barton to cut the gap to one.
Having hit the ball hard all day, Phillips roped a liner to right field in flying around the bases for the freshman's second triple of the year in beginning the fourth, scoring the tying run one batter later on Nasadiya Salazar's sac fly.
Taking over for Horsch in the third inning, reliever Karsyn Smith ran into some trouble in the fifth as three consecutive singles loaded the bases. Getting the first out on Sharples to Kunkel force-out at the plate, a second out came next on an infield fly as craziness of unsure advancement of runners allowed the go-ahead run to cross the plate.
Coming up empty in the next two frames, the Cougars were down to their final two outs as Kunkel worked a full-count walk to give Barton a little life with the tying run. One pitch later and the dugout exploded as Solberg's third hit of the game provided the walk-off game winner as the sophomore's seventh long ball of the year cleared the fence in left center.
Kohl helped keep the Cougars' within one, entering the top of the seventh inheriting a leadoff single, to strike out her 11th of the day before getting the final two outs improving to 14-4 on the season.