(Kenny Felt/Captured Images)
It was the third time this season that the Greyhounds (12-12 East, 26-15 overall) had found themselves down 3-0 in a weekend conference series. But they've won the final game every time.
"(It's) the third time we've not punted and shown up in the fourth game and played well," Fort Scott head coach John Hill said. "The inverse of that is that we need to show maturity and do that from the start and not have to be woken up."
Saturday's scores were 7-2 and 11-8 in Cowley's favor. The Tigers (21-3, 30-8) won Sunday's opener 6-1 while the 'Hounds took the series finale, 7-6.
The teams around sixth-place Fort Scott in the division standings struggled as well, which keeps the 'Hounds in position to gain a better seed in the Region VI Tournament in May. Eight teams from each division make the tournament field with the top two from each side hosting a four-team Sub-Regional.
Each Eastern Division team has three weekend series -- 12 games -- remaining on their schedules. Fort Scott faces fourth-place Coffeyville on the road Saturday and Sunday.
"We can climb up and do some good things or kind of stay where we are or drop," Hill observed. "But it's nice because we control where we are."
Saturday: Cowley 7-11, Fort Scott 2-8.
Left-handed pitcher Andrew Polly allowed no earned runs on 7 hits in the opener, didn't walk any Greyhounds and struck out 4 as he went the distance.
Both Fort Scott runs scored in the sixth inning. Cody Parks reached on an error then scored on Austin Williams' double to center. Williams scored on Gavin Stark's double to center.
Greyhound ace Jesse Hart could only get to the fourth inning before he was taken out. He allowed 5 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks with 2 strikeouts.
Cowley catcher Ruben Montero was 3 for 4 with a double and shortstop Griffin Roark was 3 for 3. Designated hitter Tino Mendoza went 2 for 4.
Stark, Williams and Jordan Stull each went 2 for 3 for Fort Scott.
"It was disappointing coming off our great weekend series last weekend (winning 3 of 4 from No. 20) Johnson County and this was kind of our response," Hill said. "We still have should have won two of the four games but the first-game response is the disappointing thing."
The Greyhounds trailed 7-0 after 2 1/2 innings of the second game but started fighting back in the bottom of the third.
Stull led off the inning by drawing a walk. He advanced to third when a pickoff throw went into right field. He scored from there on Stuart Jeck's single to right-center.
Jeck went to second on Williams' sacrifice bunt. Corey Stringer drew a walk and both runners moved up on a passed ball. Stark was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Josh Samuelson's bad-hop single to short allowed Jeck to score. The bases remained loaded for Dylan Banach, who walked to force in Stringer. Stark scored later on a dropped third strike.
Cowley scored twice in the fourth to make it a 9-4 lead. Stark plated Stringer in the bottom of the inning and Samuelson knocked in Williams with a single to center in the sixth.
The 'Hounds got within one run in the seventh. Stull walked with one out and Jeck singled to right. The runners advanced on an errant pickoff throw on Stull at second. Williams drew a walk to load the bases and Stark drew another walk with 2 out to bring in Stull. Jeck scored when Parsons singled up the middle, cutting Cowley's lead to 9-8.
The Tigers added 2 runs in the top of the ninth. The 'Hounds got the first two runners in the bottom of the seventh on as Stringer and Stark both singled. But those runners were stranded there.
Samuelson went 3 for 5 at bat for Fort Scott while Williams was 3 for 4. Jeck, Stringer and Stark each had 2 hits.
Robbie Rea was 3 for 5 for Cowley at the plate while Aaron Rea -- no relation -- was 3 for 4.
Sunday: Cowley 6-6, Fort Scott 1-7.
Fort Scott's only run in the opener came on Stark's solo homer to center with 2 out in the bottom of the fourth. Cowley took the lead with 2 runs in the sixth and added 4 in the seventh.
Gadiel Baez allowed 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 5 for the Tigers. Aaron Rea and Mendoza had 2 hits each for Cowley.
The 'Hounds scored 3 times in the bottom of the third in the second game. Samuelson led off with a single to left and scored on Cole Fergus' double off the left-field wall. Stull was thrown out on the next play trying to stretch a single into a double but Fergus scored. Jeck was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Williams' single to right.
Cowley tied the score with 3 in the top of the fourth. Fort Scott took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning.
Stringer was hit by a pitch leading off the inning. Parsons bunted him over to second. Samuelson plated Stringer with a single to right. Fergus reached on a 2-out error, which allowed Samuelson to score. Stull singled and Jeck followed with a single to score Fergus. Williams' single to right brought Stull home with what held up as the winning run.
Cowley scored once in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings. Samuelson, who moved from first base to pitch the ninth, struck out the Tigers' final two batters.
Chris Mullins was the winning pitcher, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and 5 walks. Stull was 3 for 3 for the 'Hounds while Williams and Samuelson had 2 hits each.
"I'll say this: I'd rather win the last game of the series than win the first one and lose the next three because at least we have some momentum heading into next weekend," Hill said.
Cowley.............................. 302 010 1 -- 7 13 3
Fort Scott.......................... 000 002 0 -- 2 7 2
WP -- Polly. LP -- Hart.
Cowley......................... 025 200 002 -- 11 15 5
Fort Scott...................... 004 101 200 -- 8 14 4
WP -- Palmer. LP -- Koons. Sv. -- R.Rea.
Cowley.............................. 000 002 4 -- 6 7 0
Fort Scott.......................... 000 100 0 -- 1 3 3
WP -- Baez. LP -- Swain.
HR -- Fort Scott: Stark (4th inn., none on, 2 out)
Cowley.......................... 000 031 101 -- 6 11 4
Fort Scott...................... 000 340 00x -- 7 10 1
WP -- Mullins. LP -- Bane. Sv. -- Samuelson.