The Barton Community College softball team connected for six home runs Saturday leading to a doubleheader sweep over Hutchinson Community College 12-11 in eight innings before a six inning 16-7 run rule to open the conference season.
The Cougars improve to 6-7 on the year with the pair of victories while dropping Hutchinson to 4-4.
Barton will have most of the week away from competition until next Saturday in hosting Northwest Kansas Technical College in a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader.
The blustery afternoon didn't start well for the Cougars as the Blue Dragons scored first with a solo dish crossing in the second before a three more crossed the plate on a home run in a five run third for a 6-0 lead to chase starter Tia Kohl.
Barton began their climb back on Betsy Parmley's first of two home runs on the afternoon coming on a three-run dinger to center field. Maggie Schuetz' RBI single followed Jade Phillips' walk with the Cougars' apparently tying the game an error later on Alexis Sharples' two-run double. However, due to a lineup error, the runs were erased ending the inning with Hutchinson still leading 6-4.
The teams traded solo runs in the fourth, Hutchinson getting a two-out RBI single with the Cougars' Hailey Pop scoring on a bases loaded passed ball.
Karsyn Smith, who relieved Kohl for the final out of the third, sent the Blue Dragons down in order in the fifth.
The Cougars produced four runs in the home half, scoring on Sharples' fielder's choice and Jaelyn Carter's RBI single before sophomore Nasadiya Salazar found the cross wind to right center for her first home run of the season resulting in a two run Barton lead.
Hutchinson responded with four of their own in the sixth to regain the advantage behind three RBI singles and an outfield misplay allowing the fourth to cross the dish.
Schuetz earned a full-count walk to begin the sixth but the Cougars were down to their last strike of the inning as Carter fought off one 0-2 pitch before sending a long fly over the center field fence for the freshman's first collegiate base clearer tying up the game.
Both teams put two on the base paths in the seventh but were unable to score, with the Cougars' first baseman Brooke McCollough turning a double play fielding a pop-up in foul territory to double-up erasing a leadoff single.
Sharples fought off a pair of 2-2 pitches with one out in the eighth before driving a double to right field to get into scoring position and extend the inning. One pitch later Carter completed her 4-for-6 game out of the leadoff position driving in her fourth RBI of the game sending a walk-off double deep down the right field line giving the Cougars the 12-11 victory.
Smith's 5.1 innings of work earned the freshman lefty the victory improving to 2-2 on the year.
Hutchinson again dug the Cougars a big hole in the back end of the doubleheader, getting an RBI single before a three run home by Sabrina Luttig put the Blue Dragons up 4-0 in the first inning.
Three consecutive doubles cut the deficit to one in the home half with Carter's opening walk being followed by two-bag hits from Salazar, Pop, and McCollough. Following two ground outs, Schuetz delivered the tying run with a liner to center having fought off a pair of 0-2 pitches before finding the outfield turf.
Following the four Hutchinson runs with no outs in the first, Emma Horsch found her grove in the circle sending the next three down in order to get out of the inning then kept the Blue Dragons off the scoreboard until a three run fifth inning as Luttig struck again on another three-run homer.
While Horsch was keeping the scoreboard at goose eggs, Barton added a pair of runs in each of the second and fourth innings. Pop and Parmley each had RBI singles in the second frame with Parmley going deep in the fourth for her third of the season. Sharples capped the inning with a two-out double putting the Cougars up 8-4 before the Hutchinson three run fifth.
After Hutchinson had cut the gap to one, Salazar's reach on error to open up the home half of the frame would score on McCollough's sac fly following Pop's team leading eighth double of the season. Parmley followed McCollough's sac fly with an RBI single with Phillips' walk and Schuetz reaching on error filling the bases. Jayden Solberg quickly cleared the paths sending the second pitch over the right field fence for the grand slam in doubling up Hutchinson at 14-7.
Horsch (2-2) struck out her fifth of the game to strand a two out walk in the top of the sixth with Barton putting the game away in run-rule fashion as Pop's one-out single trotted home on McCollough's walk off home run to right field tying Solberg for the team lead on her third of the year.
Pop continued to be the solid contributor out of the three-hole in the lineup leading Barton to the 3-1 record in the two consecutive days of work on the diamond, batting .588 in the four games including a .882 slugging percentage. Pop was even better against the Blue Dragons at .778 with a pair of doubles following a day earlier in Oklahoma launching her first home run of the season leading to the road win at NOC-Tonkawa.