It seemed only fitting after splitting the regular season series, the Barton Community College and Dodge City Community College softball teams wouldn’t leave Cougar Field with anything decided as the teams split Wednesday’s postseason doubleheader. In a best of three series to advance to the final four of Region VI, Dodge City held off Barton in the opener 7-6 while the Lady Cougars had to hold off the Conquistadors in the nightcap winning 9-8. Barton, 32-18 on the season, and the 23-21 Conquistadors will return Thursday to Cougar Field for the deciding 2:00 p.m. contest with the winner advancing to Saturday’s 2:00 p.m. game against host and Jayhawk West Champion Butler Community College.
Dodge City jumped out to a four run lead getting one in the first and third aided by a passed ball and error while sandwiching two runs on an RBI single in the second inning.
The Lady Cougars mounted a comeback in the third getting a leadoff double by Bailey Hensley. Following Brianna Ward reaching by hit by pitch, Erica Harper got her second of four hits in the game to load the bases. Holly Posegate‘s one-out single drove home Hensley to get on the board and one batter later, Jenna Hosey cleared the bases with a double to right center to tie it up at four.
Mattison Johnson picked an opportune time to hit her first collegiate homerun as her two-run drive to left field put the Conquistadors back up by two. Dodge City would extend it to three in the sixth as a controversial strikeout turned into a walk to eventually scoring the Conquistadors game winning run. Thinking that Barton starter Taylor Bugner had struck out Johnson swinging to begin the inning, time was called at the plate returning Johnson back to the plate for another full count pitch. Johnson drew the walk and two outs later Courtney Rettig’s double scored Johnson giving Dodge City a 7-4 advantage.
Following a two out double by Ward to keep the home half of the inning alive, Harper completed her 4-for-4 game depositing her twenty-first homerun beyond the center field fence drawing Barton to within on.
The Conquistadors stranded a one-out double keeping the margin at one, but Barton would go down in order as Dodge City took command of the three-game set with the 7-6 victory.
Bugner took the loss dropping to 12-9 on the season while Jordan Mecham’s final 4.2 innings of relief improved the sophomore to 13-8.
Harper’s four hit was the lone multi-hit game as each team finished with eight hits.
Barton took a third inning lead in the nightcap as Dodge City committed the first of two errors of the game as Posegate’s infield grounder was thrown wide of first allowing Hensley to score.
The Conquistadors would respond the following inning as Rettig connected on her third home run of the season to tie it up. A hit batsman and sac bunt later, Ashley Beavers single plated another giving Dodge City a 2-1 lead.
A leadoff walk by McKenna Mauler followed by Braydee Bakovich‘s single set up the first of consecutive four run innings by the Lady Cougars. Hensley followed with a triple to deep right center then one pitch later Ward blasted a left field long ball for her eleventh of the season and pushing the Barton lead out to 5-2.
Taryn Garza, who was 0-for-5 coming into the fifth inning at bat, cut the Dodge City deficit to one with her seventh homerun of the season.
Hosey and Mauler each singled with one-out in the home half before Bakovich’s second hit of the game home Hosey. Hensley then connected on her second extra base hit in as many innings with a double to right center and a Ward walk later, Harper delivered a hard single down the left field line driving in fourth RBI in the doubleheader building the lead out to 9-4.
Despite a leadoff strikeout, Dodge City wouldn’t go away getting a single and help from the Barton defense committing their third error in the twin bill. A fielder’s choice later, the Conquistadors leading hitter Lindsay Karlin kept the inning alive with an RBI single up the middle. Following a Johnson walk to load the bases, Garza completed her 2-for-4 five RBI game with a double to center clearing the bases and drawing Dodge City to within one.
The Lady Cougars had a quiet sixth inning but Posegate pitched out of a leadoff single getting three groundouts including two back to the circle to earn the win improving to 16-7 on the freshman’s season. Lauren Kelly took the loss dropping to 4-7 giving way to Meacham for the final 1.1 innings.
Hensley led the 13-11 Barton hit advantage with a 3-for-4 performance at the top of the lineup. Harper finished 2-for-4 while Hosey, Mauler, and Bakovich each had two hits as well as the trio erased a combined 1-for-9 performance in game one.