Cougars' comeback falls short in sub-regional championships

Barton 2nd Baseman Tanner Carpenter turns a double play around a sliding Cowley playerAfter dropping its first game of the Region VI Sub-Regional, the Barton Community College baseball team strung together consecutive extra inning victories before falling in the championship game Monday afternoon in Garden City.  Barton, which lost its opener Saturday afternoon 8-1 to Cowley College, immediately had to return to the diamond to battle through the elimination side of the bracket and earned a 7-6 come-from-behind extra inning win over Labette Community College.  On Sunday Barton faced top-seeded and tournament host Garden City Community College where the Cougars ended the Broncbusters season by winning 2-1 in twelve innings.  Facing the same Cowley team that defeated the Cougars handily in the first round, Barton led 1-0 before Cowley tied it in the seventh then tacked on three runs in the ninth to end the Cougars season 4-1.  Cowley, 32-24 on the season, advances to the Region VI Championships held in Wichita May 14-16 while Barton ends its season at 33-26.

Highlights – Game One versus Cowley College  (Stats)
Cowley wasted little time in building a 7 run lead through the game’s first four innings.  The Tigers scored three runs in the bottom of the first on two hits aided by two costly Cougar errors.  Tacking on two more in the second and two in the third, Cowley had built a seven run lead before Barton could get a runner in scoring position.

Barton catcher Andre Vieyra blocks the plate and tags out Cowley’s Ethan Elroy to end the Cowley ninth inning Barton was able to get its lone run in the fourth as Tanner Carpenter scored on a Clayton Garland sacrifice fly after advancing on a Tiger passed ball and a Federico Castagnini single.

The lone additional Barton threat would come in the ninth when the cougars loaded the bases with two outs but were unable to capitalize and fell to the losers bracket with the 8-1 defeat.

Highlights – Game Two versus Labette Community College  (Stats)
With the task of battling thru the elimination side of the bracket, Barton found itself immediately having to launch as comeback as Labette scored three in the top of the first highlighted by a two-run homerun by Brandon Jackson.

Alex King, who would go 3-for-5 in the game, led off the Cougar first with a walk, stole second, and then scored on a Garland single up the middle.  Garland continued the Cougar two-out rally as he stole second then was driven home by Adam Smith to draw the Cougars to within one at 3-2.

After a scoreless second inning Labette’s Jackson led off with a walk and later scored on a Ricky Vanderpool single to extend the Cardinal lead to two.  

Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Dylan Turpin singled home Ryan Tracy after Tracy led off the inning with a triple to right field.  Turpin would later cross the plate to tie the game after a King single to centerfield.

Neither team was able to produce any threat until the fateful eleventh inning as five runs would cross the plate. 

After Labette had put up two seemingly fateful runs in the top half, the cougars capitalized on a Cardinal error, a hit batsman, a passed ball and got timely singles by Turpin and King to get the 7-6 come-from-behind victory.

Highlights – Game Three versus Garden City  (Stats)
Unlike its previous two games and for a portion of the conference season, the Cougars received its strongest pitching performance of the season in getting the 2-1 twelfth inning win.   Barton’s Jason Harris, who committed early in the fall season to continue his pitching career at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, struck out twelve Garden City batters in nine-plus innings while surrendering only five hits, one walk, and one earned run.  The lefty from The Hills, Texas, needed his strongest performance as the Cougars clung to a 1-0 lead from the bottom of the first until the top of the ninth.

Barton built its one run lead when a Castagnini single and passed ball helped score Tanner Carpenter who had singled earlier in the inning.

The Busters forced extra innings as Cody Kottich’s leadoff single set the stage for a sacrifice to second then later scored on a throwing error.   Harris was able to minimize the damage as he struck out one and induced a fly out to end the inning.

Tracy would knock in the game winner to right field as the Cougars had loaded the bases on a Carpenter hit-by-pitch, Garland walk, and a Smith hustling play to beat out a throw for an infield single.

In addition to Harris’ eleven strikeouts, which included three to end an inning, Cougar reliever Skylar Hill was equally impressive as he worked the final three innings striking out three and only giving up one hit.

Highlights – Game Four versus Cowley  (Stats)
Returning to Great Bend in the early hours of Monday morning only to board the bus back to Garden City  nine hours later, the cougars faced the task of having to beat Cowley in back-to-back games for the sub-regional championship.

After two scoreless innings Barton was able to manufacture its lone run in the bottom of the third inning.  King, who reached base in four of his five plate appearances, led off the inning with a solid single up the middle.  After a Castagnini sacrifice, King would score on a throwing error as the Tigers attempted to turn a double play to end the inning.

Brett Tunnell throwing against Cowley College in sub-regional championship gameMuch like Harris’ performance on Sunday night, Brett Tunnell gave the Cougars another solid starting pitching performance as he struck out five and allowed only five hits in seven innings of work.  However the game’s momentum shifted in the seventh as the Tigers were able to muster the tying run.  Griffith Roark led off the inning with a single then later scored after stealing third base and a subsequent fielding error on the throw.

Cowley put the game away in the top of the ninth as the Tigers got three hits, including two identical doubles coming on high choppers over the head of Barton’s 6’2” first baseman Dylan Turpin.

Barton loaded the bases in the home half as the cardiac kids mounted another comeback behind a Tiger error, Turpin walk, and Carpenter single. As was the case for the Cougar men’s basketball team, the baseball team saw its season come to an end at the hands of Cowley as the team left the bags juiced after a strikeout and groundout to end the 4-1 game.

Released:  May 7, 2012

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