EL DORADO, Kan. – Butler opened the 2015 season with a solid 8-4 home win over visiting Independence on Saturday afternoon at McDonald Stadium.
Isaiah Montoya-Gonzalez made his Butler debut by throwing four scoreless innings to start the game. He allowed a three-run home run in the fifth to Alfred Cruz, but still earned the victory, moving to 1-0 on the season.
Meanwhile, Butler put up seven runs before Independence got its first hit. Zach Baker drove in the first run of the game and the season with a solid single up the middle to score Ty Redington in the third, setting off a four-run explosion in the inning. John Gardner drew a bases-loaded walk, Cameron Knight singled and Bryce Whitchurch had an RBI groundout to drive in the other three runs.
In the bottom of the fourth, Cameron Knight drove in another run with a single, and Butler got a run on a wild pitch and another on a passed ball to push the lead to 7-0.
Butler's final run came in the bottom of the fifth. Channing Williams reached third base, and scored on what would have been a sacrifice fly by Zach Baker had the left fielder not dropped the ball on the warning track.
In addition to the five innings thrown by Montoya-Gonzalez, Butler got a scoreless inning of relief from Cade Wager, Jefferson Hall and Drake Harper. Hayden Crowe threw an inning, allowing one run on a solo homer by Brenton Washausen.
Butler, 1-0, will play Independence again on Sunday, this time on the road. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. The game can be seen online at www.njcaatv.com/butlergrizzlies