Photo and story by Todd Moore – bartonsports.com
The Barton Community College baseball team did all the little things in the three phases of the game Wednesday morning at Wichita State’s Eck Stadium in earning a 6-3 victory in the 2nd round of the Region VI/Central District Tournament as the 11th seeded Cougars knocked 3rd seeded Butler Community Community College to the elimination side of the bracket.
Etching another notch in the step-by-step process of defending its title, Barton (36-20) will next play Thursday at 4:00 p.m. in the winner’s bracket semifinals against the victor of 2nd seeded No. 12 ranked Cowley College (41-12) and 7th seeded Cloud County Community College (33-22). Butler (39-18) will look to extend their season in Thursday’s 10:00 a.m. against the loser of the Cowley-Cloud County contest.
The Cougars found themselves trailing into the third inning as Butler had put up solo runs in each of the first two innings.
Harrison Denk led off the frame with the first of his two hits in the game in being joined by Noah Geekie on a hit by pitch. Chandler Bloomer’s sacrifice later, Denk crossed the plate on Charlie Peyla’s ground out with Tyler Bandiera driving in Geekie for the tying run.
Geekie’s lone hit began the fifth inning but wouldn’t score into Nolan Riley delivered a clutch two-out double down the left field line putting the Cougars in front for good.
Zach Curry kept the Grizzlies at arms reach in his six innings on the hill, eventually picking up the victory improving the sophomore to 9-2 on the season in scattering six hits.
Denk again set the table with a seventh inning leadoff single, moving over to third base on Bloomer’s one-out single before making a spectacular slide into the plate avoiding the tag on Peyla’s fielder’s choice putting Barton up 4-2.
The Grizzlies answered in the home half on reliever Joe Richter getting a solo Patrick Bethea left field home run just out of the reach of a leaping Geekie at the wall.
Taking a one run lead into the ninth, Bandiera pumped more life into the Cougar bench allowing the Barton faithful a little more breathing space, launching a two-out shot to left field scoring Bloomer’s walk for his fourth dinger of the year and just the Cougars’ 14th of the year.
Coleton Crisp worked the final 2.1 innings on the hill, striking out five with no hits to pick up his third save of the year.