The Butler softball team sent its seven sophomores out in style on Monday at East Park, sweeping a doubleheader from Pratt by scores of 4-3 and 4-2 in the final two home games of the season.
The Grizzlies are now 33-15 on the season and finish the year with a 16-4 record on their home field. They have now won 11 games in a row as the season comes to a close. The only two games left in the regular season are on the road Wednesday at Barton County at 3 p.m.
Butler's sophomores were honored in between games of the afternoon doubleheader. They are Kelci Garza, Heather Ryder, Abby Furstenberg, Carlene McManigal, Jacey Hampshire, Erin Boston and Kacie Eich. The sophomores have compiled an overall record of 88-25 with two Jayhawk Conference championships, a Region VI championship and a berth in the NJCAA Division I World Series.
The game was scoreless for the first four innings before Butler broke through with a pair of solo home runs in the bottom of the fifth – one by Alex Millspaugh and the other by Kelci Garza.
Pratt tied the game in the top of the sixth against Butler pitcher Mac Millspaugh, but the Grizzlies had an answer in the bottom of the sixth, as Mac Millspaugh drove in a run with a single to right field. Two batters later, Alex Millspaugh scored on an RBI groundout by Alyssa Aguilar.
Pratt would score one run in the top of the seventh before Mac Millspaugh got the final out to earn the win. She improves to 14-7 on the season with an ERA now down to 1.90.
Ashley Malone drove in all four of Butler's runs in the win. The first came on an RBI double in the first inning, scoring Kaitlyn Wolken. Malone then hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning to put Butler ahead 4-0 at that point.
Meanwhile, Butler pitcher Kelsey Berlin was mowing down Pratt hitters, striking out nine through the first five innings. Berlin would not allow a run until the seventh inning, when Pratt scratched for two runs. She would earn the win to improve to 8-5 on the season with 11 strikeouts in the game.
Kailtlyn Wolken and Ashley Malone were the only Grizzlies with multiple hits in the game.