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Barton Softball challenges for Region VI title, falls short to 12th ranked Butler #GoBarton #RoarCougs

Barton softball team celebrates Jayden Solberg's home run versus Butler

The Barton Community College softball team reached the Region VI Championship game Sunday at Dodge City's Legend Park, run ruling host Dodge City 9-1 in five innings before falling to 12th ranked Butler Community College 8-5.

Barton concludes the runner-up season at 33-17 while Butler (39-6) advances to the District E Championship May 15-16 at the Region IX Champion.

Barton Softball right fielder Demi Kunkel makes a sliding catch Having lost to top seeded Butler in Saturday's winner's bracket final, the Cougars made short work of the Conquistadors on Sunday morning to earn the rematch.

The Cougars put five runs on the board in their first at-bat behind RBI singles by Hailey Pop and Demi Kunkel with Jayden Solberg capping the frame with a two RBI hit.

Barton tacked on two more in the second frame with Pop clearing the fence in right field for the sophomore's fifth of the season with the Cougars plating two more in the third inning from Brooke McCollough's bases loaded fielder's choice and Betsy Parmley's RBI single.

Emma Horsch's third straight victory of her sophomore campaign improved to 12-5 on the year scattering four hits and striking out five.

The Championship game began as heavyweight title bout with the Grizzlies plating two in their at-bat and the Cougars countering with three in the home half. Barton would end up stranding eleven runners in the contest while Butler delivered champion clutch hits to prevail for its fourth consecutive title crown

Brianna Robinson put the Grizzlies out front launching her 16th home run of the season to plate Meghan Gutierrez' leadoff single.

Barton softball center fielder Jade Phillips makes a running catch Barton also got their leadoff aboard as Jaelyn Carter singled to left with Pop and McCollough following an out later with hits to load up the bases. A hard shot to first off the mitt of Robinson allowed two runs to cross in tying it up with Kunkel drawing a sacks full five pitch walk to put Barton out front.

The lead grew by two in the third with Parmley lacing a leadoff single to left before an out later, Solberg connected for her second home run of the tournaments sending a 1-1 pitch out to center field for the sophomore transfer's team leading ninth of the season.

The big swing of the game came with two outs in the fourth as Tia Kohl looked to escape a pair of one-out singles but Shayna Espy extended the inning with an RBI single through the right side.

Following a full-count walk to Robinson, Taliya Talley drove in another with Anna Icenhower's single to deep right center clearing the bases putting the Grizzlies out front 7-5 to chase Kohl as the Cougars brought in Karsyn Smith to close out the frame.

Barton put two aboard in the home half with one out as Phillips led off with her second hit of the game and McCollough reaching on one of the Grizzlies three errors in the game. But the Cougars couldn't produce the needed big hit as a fly out preceded Kunkel's near misses including a spinning ball going foul and a near painting of the left field foul line before grounding out.

Another Grizzly two-out rally in the fifth put Barton in a tough hole with Jordan Carlson extending the inning and advancing to second on a passed ball before Gutierrez drove her home with a single up the middle.

Luck would not be on the Cougars side again in the home half of the frame with Maggie Schuetz' single and Sharples walk would go for naught as hard lined shot by Carter was robbed by Butler second baseman in flipping to second for the double play ending the threat.

The Cougars once again had its chances in the ensuing sixth inning, getting the aide of an error allowing Phillips to reach with Pop drawing a walk putting two aboard with no outs. The Grizzlies' relief pitcher Meghan Johnson snuffed the rally getting a strikeout before inducing a fielder's choice and groundout.

Smith sent Butler down in order in the seventh keeping the margin at three but a Schuetz hit by pitch would be Barton's final runner.

Kohl took the loss in wrapping up the sophomore transfer's lone season as a Cougar at 15-7.