Hours after learning of the program’s highest national ranking ever, the No. 7 ranked Barton Community College softball team went to work blowing out Garden City Community College Wednesday afternoon at Cougar Field. Taking both games in a shortened five innings, the Cougars put up a second inning eight-spot winning 11-0 then immediately buried the Busters in game two with six first inning runs scoring in each of its frame of its at-bats clinching the sweep with the 12-2 victory. Winners of seventeen straight, the Cougars improve to 7-1 in the Jayhawk and 36-2 on the season while keeping Garden City winless at 0-10 in conference dropping to 7-21 overall. Next up for Barton is Colby Community College coming to Cougar Field for a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader as the third place Trojans are nipping at first place with a 6-2 record and 24-8 overall.
Jenna Hosey, one of two Cougars to get two hits in the opener, led off the second inning then moving to second on the first of her three stolen bases on the day. Following Payton Summers reaching on the first of four Buster errors in the game, Holly Posegate delivered her lone hit with a single up the middle driving in the first of eight Barton runs in the inning. Consecutive Buster errors would load the bases and with two outs, the Cougars went to work.
Jayden Gonzales hammered a single to left scoring the first with Brittany Wood following with a double to the fence plating two of her five runs batted in. With a gusty wind steadily blowing out to left field all day, Hosey lifted her second home run of the season over the fence in left center completing the two-out six run burst giving Barton the 8-0 lead.
The lead would grow by three in the following inning as singles by Lili Ertmann and Maddison Schofield and a Gonzales walk loaded the bases with two outs. Inserting pinch runner Kelsie Doll to replace Gonzales at first, Head Coach Marc Benjamin must have sensed the potential as Wood was due up in the lineup next. Sizing up a 2-2 pitch, the nation’s second ranked RBI producer sent a rocket banging the left center fence just missing a home run by two feet clearing the bases as the speedy Doll scored from first base.
Madison Didion, the reigning conference pitcher of the week for the fifth time this season, kept the Buster bats silent scattering just two hits while striking out five ranking sixth best in the nation.
The Cougars didn’t waste any time burying the Busters in the nightcap scoring six in the first adding at least one run in the remaining three inning of at-bats. Just like in the first game, the Cougars put together another two-out six-run outburst getting a Gonzales single followed by Wood’s third straight double to get the inning going. Hosey, who tied Wood with team high runs batted in honors in the twin bill with five, followed with a two RBI single before swiping second base getting herself into scoring position. That spot would last until the next pitch as Summers drove her home with a single while scooting into to second base on the throw home. Posegate then struck for a double to left center driving in the fourth run of the inning. A McKenna Mauler walk and Ertmann RBI single one batter later, Schofield loaded the bases reaching first after taking a pitch on the wrist. Cadie O’Donnell put the final touches on the inning driving Mauler home with a sharp single through the infield.
Erin Jankiewicz gave the Busters some life opening up the second inning sending Posegate’s second pitch over the fence in right field for her third of the season drawing Garden City to 6-1.
Five runs would be as close as the Busters would get as the Cougars responded in the home half putting the game out of reach. Hosey reached on a questionable infield error up the middle and after stealing her second base of the game, was joined on the base paths as Summers earned a full-count walk. A fielder’s choice later putting the Cougars with their final out, Mauler made full connection on a 1-1 pitch as the Great Bend sophomore sent a towering shot to direct center launching well over the centerfield scoreboard for a three-run seventh homerun of the season.
The Busters launched their own rally in the next inning getting three consecutive singles to load the bases but were only able to get a sac fly as Posegate induced a harmless grounder to first base ending the threat.
It took the Cougars only three at-bats to see the Buster run and increase the deficit. O’Donnell delivered her second hit of the day, swiping her twenty-third base of the season. Joining the two-hit club Gonzales made the most of hers blasting her eighth long ball of the season with a towering drive down the left field line pushing the Barton lead out to 11-2.
Posegate, improving to 16-1 in the center circle, helped put the icing on the victory leading off the fourth with her seventh home run giving the Cougars a nation’s fifth best forty-seven long balls of the season.