MANHATTAN — If a trip to Grand Junction is in the works, the Barton baseball team is going to have to go about it the hard way.
The Cougars lost in the opening round of the Region VI double elimination tournament Tuesday afternoon. The Jayhawk West champions and the second seed in the event fell to Hutchinson to start the bracket.
Hutch, the fifth place finisher in the West and 10th overall seed, pulled off the upset in the second game of the day.
The teams went extra innings to get there as Hutch won 9-8 in 10.
The Cougars will begin their climb out of the loser’s bracket at 10 am this morning against Cloud County.
The two teams traded the lead for much of the first round contest.
Barton scored twice in the bottom of the first with three straight 2-out extra base hits. Henry Hayman doubled, Dryden Howse followed with a triple then Connor Allen doubled and Barton had a 2-0 lead.
The Blue Dragons scored a pair in both the second and third to go up 4-2. Barton answered with two more in the bottom of the third as Howse and Allen led off the inning with a walk and single. Allen tied it at 4-all, scoring on a single by Caden Bressler.
It was Barton’s turn to take a 5-4 lead in the fifth on a Shawn Marquis sac fly to score Howse. The Cougars matched Hutch’s 6th inning run on an Alex Rodgers home run and a 6-5 lead.
The Blue Dragons countered with three runs in the seventh, thanks in large part to a 2-run home run from Cade Baker as Hutch went up 8-6.
Barton evened it an inning later with a 2-spot and an 8-all tie.
Bressler scored on a Wade Reynolds 1-out double to make it 8-7. Ethan Haufler pinch ran for Reynolds, who went to third on the throw. A wild pitch brought in Haufler to tie it at 8-all.
The Cougars had runners on 1st and 2nd with one out in the ninth but failed to bring in the winning run.
After Hutch scored in the top of the 10th, the Cougars had their chances in the bottom of the inning.
Bressler opened with a walk and pinch runner Colter Maldonado moved him to second on a sac bunt. A 2-out walk to Rodgers put the winning run on first base with Maldonado still on second.
But that is where the game ended as Ricardo Sanchez, the Cougars leading hitter with a .457 average, struck out with a full count.
If Barton is able to get past Cloud and begin its trek from the loser bracket the Cougars would need to win six games over the next four days. A feat not out of reach for the West champs.
The Cougars would have to win one today, two Thursday, two Friday and finally, one on Saturday.
Hutch 9, Barton 8 (10)
Hutch 022 001 300 1 - 9 15 2
Barton 202 011 020 0 - 8 11 3
Whitlock, Wichersham (7), Covey (8) and Baker; Thornton, Lanik (5), Redeker (7), Bartels (7), Cornelius (9) and Allen. W - Covey (3-0). L - Cornelius (1-4). 2B - McLaughlin, Torosian, Hutch; Hayman, Allen 2, Reynolds, Barton. 3B - Howse, Barton. HR - Baker, Hutch; Rodgers (4), Barton.
Region VI Baseball Tournament
Plains Region Double Elimination
Tuesday, May 17
G1 - 3 KCK 5, 6 Cloud 1
G2 - 10 Hutch 9, 2 Barton 8 (10)
G3 - 1 Cowley (46-9) v 8 Butler (34-22)
G4 - 4 Colby (37-19) v 5 Johnson (43-15)
Wednesday, May 18
Loser’s Bracket 1st round
G5 - 6 Cloud (37-18) v 2 Barton (41-17), 10 am
G6 - Losers G3 v G4, 1 pm
Winner’s Bracket semis
G7 - 3 KCK (48-10) v 10 Hutch (37-21), 4 pm
G8 - Winners G3 v G4, 7 pm
Thursday, May 19
Loser’s Bracket 2nd round
G9 - Winner G6 v Loser G7, 10 am
G10 - Winner G5 v Loser G8, 1 pm
Winner’s Bracket final
G11 - Winners G7 v G8, 4 pm
Loser’s Bracket semis
G12 - Winners G9 v G10, 7 pm
Friday, May 20
Loser’s Bracket Final
G13 - Winner G12 v Loser G11, 1 pm
G14 - Winners G11 v G 13, 4 pm
Saturday, May 21
G15 - Second Championship if needed, 1 pm
Winner advances to 2022 JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., May 28-June 4