The Dodge City Conquistadors baseball team finds themselves in a precarious position after splitting a Jayhawk West doubleheader against the Barton Cougars.
Dodge City swept both games of Saturday's doubleheader 6-5 and 14-7, while the Cougars came back to win both games of Sunday's twinbill 6-4 and 13-2.
With the split, the Conqs (28-18, 17-11) are technically a game behind Seward County (22-20, 16-8), tied with Colby (28-18, 17-11, DCCC owns tiebreaker) and a game of Garden City (20-23, 14-10) and Butler (19-14, 14-10). Dodge City has only a four-game series on April 26-27 at home against Garden City remaining on the league schedule.
Connor Ross and Chris Ramsey had big days at the plate Saturday for the Conqs. Ross was a combined 5-for-9 with seven runs in, while Ramsey was 6-for-9 with five RBIs in the contest.
The first game saw Ross Vance throw another complete game for the Conqs. Vance gave up five runs (four earned) while striking out 11 on the mound.
Barton took an early one-run lead in the second inning before Dodge City scored three in the top of the third on a two-run double by Ross and a RBI double by Parker Jones. The Cougars scored a single run in the bottom of the third only to give the run up on a bases-loaded walk issued to Conner Koepp.
The Cougars scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead, but it was short-lived as Ramsey hit a two-run single in the top of the fifth to regain the advantage for good.
Dodge City scored single runs in the first two innings of Saturday's second game — a RBI double by Ross and a RBI single by Haden Houska — before Barton County scored seven straight runs (two in the third, two in the fourth and three in the fifth).
The Conqs scored five runs in the sixth inning with Jones hitting a leadoff home run, Jarren Donato hit a RBI double, Shay Lynes and Ross hit RBI singles and Jerry Lacayo scored on an error.
Dodge City scored seven more runs in the ninth inning. Lacayo was issued a bases-loaded walk before Ramsey hit a three-run double and Ross hit a three-run home run.
Clayton Stoup threw four innings of relief with only one hit and three strikeouts to record the victory on the mound.
Barton was able to take 3-0 lead after four innings of play in Sunday's opener before the Conqs got on the board with two runs in the fifth. Lacayo hit a RBI single after Lynes opened up the inning with a triple; and Lacayo later scored on a wild pitch.
The Cougars scored two in the bottom of the fifth, but the Conqs made the score 5-3 when Donato stole home on a double-steal attempt. Dodge City's final run came on a RBI sacrifice fly by Ross in the seventh after Barton scored their final run an inning earlier.
Jagger Harjo was the losing pitcher for the Conqs.
The Conqs had a 2-0 lead in the top of the first of Sunday's nightcap on a RBI triple by Lynes, who later scored on a double steal; before the Cougars scored in five of the six innings they were at the plate. Walker Rainwater was the losing pitcher in the second game.
Dodge City won't play again until a doubleheader at Hesston College on April 24.