Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
FRANKLIN SPRINGS, GA. — Junior right-hander Colby Shimmel hurled a seven-inning no-hitter to highlight a milestone weekend for the Barton College baseball team.
Shimmel tossed what is believed to be the first hitless gem thrown by a Barton pitcher during its NCAA Division II era (since 1995-96). Shimmel issued two walks and struck out three as the Bulldogs blanked Emmanuel College, 2-0, in the opening game on Saturday’s doubleheader.
Barton then rallied for a 5-4 triumph in 10 innings in the second game to claim its second series sweep of a conference foe this season. The Bulldogs own at least one victory against all eight conference opponents they have opposed to date.
The three wins (won 13-9 Friday) enabled Barton to seal its first winning season since the 2016 team posted a 31-20 record. The Bulldogs, in the second season of head coach Jim Chester, have landed a spot in the conference tournament for the first time since 2016.
With a 15-9 conference mark, Barton vaulted into second place in the 10-team conference by a half-game ahead of archrival University of Mount Olive. The Bulldogs complete the conference regular season with a three-game series at home Friday and Saturday against Southern Wesleyan of Central, South Carolina.
Barton’s 27-18 overall record is a startling turnaround from last season’s 12-36 effort.
Three tough losses left Emmanuel at 11-15 in the league and at 20-24 in all games.
Shimmel silenced the Lions’ bats on 68 pitches. In pitching his second shutout, Shimmel benefited from a defense that did not commit an error until botching a routine infield grounder in the seventh inning.
“Amazing!” Chester expressed. “Sixty-eight pitches; I have never seen one like that. It shows in a nutshell what Colby is; he is one of the most competitive players I have ever coached.
“He made a lot of pitches. What a great job by him and his defense. He threw his fastball, breaking ball and splitter. The splitter is his best secondary pitch and it got him a lot of ground balls.”
Shimmel outdueled Lions senior Cooper Murphy, who allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out six in six innings.
The Bulldogs staked Shimmel to his two-run cushion in the top of the third inning.
Junior Trevor Edior’s infield single started the uprising. With one out, senior Hunter Pearre slammed a run-scoring double. Pearre promptly scored on senior Gatlin Pate’s single.
Drama was plentiful the second game — with senior right-handed pitcher Chase Long, a product of Hunt High, in the midst of it.
The Bulldogs squandered a 2-0 lead but a sixth-inning run forced the extra inning. Junior JoJo Allen opened the sixth with a single and, then with the bases loaded and one out, Edior drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly.
Barton escaped the proverbial jaws of defeat with the score knotted 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth.
Long relieved senior Ryan Pifer and promptly delivered a wild pitch to place Lions’ base runners at second and third. An intentional walk loaded the bases. On the next two batters, Long fell behind three balls and no strikes.
Near miraculously, Long escaped and forced the extra inning with a strikeout and an infield ground out.
“Unbelievable!” Chester clamored. “Once we were able to get out of that inning, those guys knew we were going to win.”
Barton junior Noah Almond being hit by a pitch to open the top of the 10th spelled trouble for Emmanuel senior reliever Cody Waters, the loser. Almond advanced to second on junior Chase Riker’s sacrifice bunt and senior Troy Maslowski reached on an infield hit. Edior’s grounder to shortstop plated junior pinch runner Christian Murua with the winning run.
Long then retired the Lions in order in the bottom of the 10th.
BULLDOGS SHAKE LULL
Thus, Barton responded with a three-game sweep after struggling to salvage one win in each of the previous two series.
“Every team goes through a lull,” Chester reasoned. “We play a lot of games and these young men have a lot of requirements in class and elsewhere. It was an outstanding job to get on a bus, travel seven hours and win three games. We got clutch pitching, clutch defense and clutch offense.”
Chester downplayed the Bulldogs taking over second place going into the final week of the regular season. Barton was projected to finish seventh in the preseason poll of head coaches.
“We are not standings watching,” he contended. “If we keep doing the job, we will be in the best place we can be. We made a commitment to focus on the next game.”
Score by innings:
Barton 002 000 0 — 2
Emmanuel 000 000 0 — 0
WP-Colby Shimmel (4-3) 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO. LP-Cooper Murphy (5-4) 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Barton: Hunter Pearre 2-4, 2B, RBI; Gatlin Pate 1-2, RBI; Noah Almond 2-3, 2B; Jacob Marcos 1-4, 2B; Emmanuel: None.
Score by innings:
Barton 002 011 000 1 — 5
Emmanuel 000 310 000 0 — 4
WP-Chase Long (2-1) 1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO. LP-Cody Waters (2-4) 1 IP, 1 h, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Barton: Trevor Edior 2-3, 2 RBI; JoJo Allen 2-5, Juan Martinez 1-3, RBI; Jacob Marcos 1-5, RBI; Emmanuel: Kyle Gaura 2-4, 2 R; Demetirus Foster 1-4, 2 RBI. Brock Baughcum 1-3, 2B.
Barton contending after tourney’s opening round
SNOW HILL — Behind sophomores Bryson Boyette and Austin Schone, the host Barton College men’s golf team maneuvered itself in contending position after Sunday’s first round of the NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas tournament over the par 36-36—72, 7,191-yard Cutter Creek Golf Club layout.
Boyette, a product of Fike High and the 2017 North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A individual champion in 2017, fired a 1-under-par 71, while Schone, from Galena, Ohio, posted a 1-over 73 as the Bulldogs carded a 4-over-par 292 for their low four individuals.
The 292 leaves Barton five shots behind front-running King (Tennessee) University at 1-under 287. Second is North Greenville (South Carolina) University at 290.
Deadlocked for fourth are South Carolina teams Limestone and Erskine at 293.
The remaining field: Southern Wesleyan (296), University of Mount Olive (302), Belmont Abbey (305) and Emmanuel (312).
Barton also counted 74s from seniors Scott Pechacek and Justin Plane. Sophomore Justin Poole managed a 79.
Boyette is tied for second overall, while Schone owns a share of the 12th spot. Setting the individual pace is North Greenville’s Seth Robertson with a 68.
The second round of the the 54-hole event is scheduled for Monday, followed by the third — and final — round Tuesday.
Barton season ends with twin league losses
BELMONT — A disappointing regular season ended with a double dose of disappointment for the Barton College softball team on Saturday.
Host Belmont Abbey dealt the Lady Bulldogs twin defeats in NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas competition, prevailing 8-3 and 13-1 in five innings in the second game.
Barton dropped its last four outings and 12 of its last 13 to finish 10th among 11 conference teams at 5-15 and 16-31 overall. The Lady Crusaders improved to 8-10 and 18-20, respectively.
The Lady Bulldogs, in the opener, battled Belmont Abbey to a 2-2 tie — until Abbey erupted for six runs in the sixth inning. Payton Whitley slugged a three-run home run.
Freshman Mikayla Rose keyed the Barton offense, batting 2 for 4 with a double and driving in two runs.
Starting pitcher Hannah Jones, a senior, took the loss. Belmont Abbey junior Annabeth Watkins got the win, scattering eight hits, allowing no walks and striking out six.
In the second game, Belmont Abbey rapped 10 hits, plating five runs in the first and fourth innings and three in the third.
Sophomore Taylor Freeman batted 2 for 2 and drove in freshman Sidney Gronowski for Barton’s only run. Starting Barton pitcher Ashton Pegram, a sophomore, took the loss.
Score by innings:
Barton 001 000 2 — 3
Belmont Abbey 110 006 x — 8
WP-Annabeth Watkins (9-10) 7 IP, 8 H. 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO. LP-Hannah Jones (3-9) 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Barton: Mikayla Rose 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Kelsey, Carroll l-4, 2B; Jessica Onega 1-3, 2B, RBI; Hannah Jones 1-2, 2B; Belmont Abbey: Brianna Embler 2-3, Payton Whitley 1-4, HR, 3 RBI; Cooper 1-2, 2 R; Peyton Wilson 1-2.
Score by innings:
Barton 100 00 — 1
Belmont Abbey 503 5x — 13
WP-Ivorie Maltby (7-8) 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO. LP-Ashton Pegram (1-2) 1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Barton: Taylor Freeman 2-2, RBI; Sidney Gronowski 1-1, R; Belmont Abbey: Katie Allison 2-3, 3 RBI, 2B; Peyton Wilson 2-2, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R; Hailey Gass 2-3, 2 RBI.
Bulldogs quell Tornado 6-1
Barton moved into a three-way tie for third place in Conference Carolinas with a 6-1 men’s tennis win against visiting King University on Sunday afternoon.
Sophomores Diego Agudelo, Oscar Marmestedt and Hugh Ryder each won in singles and doubles to spark the Bulldogs, who improved to 10-8 in all matches and 5-2 in conference matches, tying them with Belmont Abbey. King departed 8-9 overall and 4-4.
The Bulldogs are back in action Monday morning in their home finale against Lees-McRae at 11.
BC blanks King 7-0
Seniors Daria Avram and Vanessa Sanoja, along with sophomore Ada Vargas, helped the Barton women’s tennis team end a three-match skid Sunday with a 7-0 Conference Carolinas win against visiting King. All three players won at singles and doubles as the Lady Bulldogs upped their league mark to 5-3 and exited 12-7 overall. King remained winless in 10 conference matches and fell to 1-15 overall.