The Dodge City Conquistadors overcame a huge rally by the Barton Cougars to win 8-6 in eight innings in the first game of a Sunday Jayhawk West doubleheader at Cavalier Field.
The Conqs then couldn't get runners in scoring position across in the nightcap and the Cougars had another big inning to win 5-2 and earn a split in the twinbill. Both teams winning two games in the four-game weekend series.
Dodge City (25-15, 13-11) had led 5-1 going into the top of the seventh before Barton scored five with one to take the lead. The Conqs were able to push across the tying run in the bottom of the frame on a RBI single by Jordan Doan and then won the game in the eighth when Jerry Lacayo hit a two-run home run over leftfield.
"When I hit it, I thought it was going to have a chance to go over the outfielder's head," Lacayo said. "Then when I saw him turn his back and ran, I thought it had a chance to get out. I'm just glad we got the win."
The Cougars (22-17, 9-11) got the first run of the game in the top of the first on a double by Braxon Byfield. It was the only run scored until the bottom of the fifth when Dodge City answered on a RBI single by Jacob Bellamy.
The Conqs looked to have the game in hand in the bottom of the sixth with four runs in the frame. Conner Koepp and Parker Jones hit RBI doubles, then Trent Troxell recorded a pinch-hit two-run home run to make the score 5-1.
Barton answered with their comeback in the top of the seventh. Kyle Cromwell hit a two-run single, Trevor Turner hit a two-run double and Scott Tyler hit a run-scoring sacrifice fly.
Doan's run-scoring single and Lacayo's home run allowed the Conqs to get the win.
"We take the lead and things are looking good, then they get bloop hits," Stephenson said. "Next thing you know, they find a way to get the lead.
"We get the big hit to tie the game and then Jerry got the big hit with two outs to win."
Reliever Giles Fox was the winning pitcher for Dodge City. Drew Ferguson took the losing decision for the Cougars.
Dodge City had a number of chances to get runs across home plate in the second game, but left runners stranded at third base in each of the first six innings.
The Conqs opened up the nigthcap with a run in the bottom of the first on a RBI double by Troxell.
Righthander Jagger Harjo had a no-hitter after four innings before the Cougars erupted for all of their runs in the top of the fifth.
The first run scored on a RBI single by Jacob Richardson and a Dodge City fielding error allowed the second run to come across. Grant Watkins then closed out the inning with a three-run homer.
Dodge City opened up the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded and no outs; but the Conqs could only push one run across the plate for the final score.
Brandon Mercer was the winning pitcher for Barton; while Harjo suffered the loss.
"We just let their guys hang around," Stephenson said. "Their pitcher kept wiggling out of jams and a mistake on our part gave them five runs. We had our chances, but we just couldn't get the hit."
Stephenson felt Barton took advantage of the mistakes the Conqs made on the field to win two of the four games during the weekend.
"The extra player we gave them ends up giving them two-run home runs in both losses," Stephenson said. "We got a split and I'm just disappointed because we should have won three of the four games."
The Conqs play Tuesday against Oklahoma Panhandle State's junior varsity Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m.; then go on an 11-game road trip (including a four-game series against Garden City on April 18-19). Dodge City then will close out its regular season on April 26-27 with a four-game Jayhawk West series against Hutchinson.