The Butler softball team broke out the bats for the home season opener with a pair of run-rule victories over Pratt, winning 16-1 and 12-3 on Wednesday at East Park.
No. 10 Butler (9-10 overall, 4-2 Jayhawk West) has now won five straight contests and is tied with Seward County atop the Jayhawk West conference standings.
Both contests lasted just five innings, as the Grizzlies combined for 30 hits in the two games against Pratt (0-12, 0-2). Sophomore infielder Monica Islava led the offense by going 6-for-7 at the plate with two home runs and eight RBIs. Islava also scored five runs, stole three bases and had three doubles in the doubleheader.
The Grizzlies head to Bixby, Okla., this weekend for six games at the Midwest Juco Classic. Butler opens play on Saturday at 9 a.m. against Des Moines Area (Iowa), then play Labette at 1 p.m. and North Central Texas at 7 p.m. On Sunday, Butler will play Southeastern (Iowa) at 10 a.m., Cowley at noon and finish up with a 4 p.m. contest against Seminole State (Okla.).
Game 1 – Butler 16, Pratt 1
Butler scored a season-high 16 runs in the opening game and scored at least one run in every inning of the contest, breaking the game wide open with an eight-run second inning.
The Grizzlies then batted around in the second, with the first run of the inning coming on a Gracie Bogle RBI single up the middle to bring in Morgan Heckart. Bogle would later score on a passed ball, then a bases-loaded walk to Megan Wurts scored Danae Bina to put Butler up 4-0.
With the bases still loaded, A'Liyah Rogers reached first on a throwing error by Pratt second baseman Kate Shields, which allowed Aujanae McCoy and Karlie Peck to cross the plate. Three batters later, Morgan Heckart hit a two-run single to center field to score Monica Islava and Megan Wurts. Gracie Bogle followed with an RBI double to left scoring Heckart.
Butler added three runs in the third, beginning with Karlie Peck scoring on a throwing error on Aujanae McCoy's sacrifice bunt. McCoy later scored on RBI groundout by A'Liyah Rogers. Islava then hit an opposite-field solo home run to right to put the Grizzlies up 12-0.
In the fourth inning, Danae Bina slid safely into home plate off an error on a fielder's choice. A'Liyah Rogers then hit a two-run single up the middle to score Jill Shipman and Karlie Peck. An Ally Knopp RBI groundout brought home Rogers to end the scoring.
Freshman pitcher Kaelah McMullin earned the win with a complete-game four-hitter, striking out 10 batters in five innings. McMullin surrendered only one run, coming in the fifth inning.
Game 2 – Butler 12, Pratt 3
Butler used an 18-hit attack with 10 extra-base hits to hammer Pratt in the second contest.
Trailing 2-0 in the first inning, Butler quickly tied the contest on a two-run single up the middle to score Aujanae McCoy and Megan Wurts. Rogers then scored on an Islava double to right-center to put the Grizzlies up 3-2. Ally Knopp followed with an RBI double to left to score Islava, then Knopp scored on an RBI single by Morgan Heckart to give Butler a 5-2 lead.
Islava drove in the only run in the second inning, hitting a double down the left-field line to score Megan Wurts.
Pratt added a run in the third, but the Grizzlies answered back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Islava hit her third double of the contest, scoring Megan Wurts and A'Liyah Rogers. Islava then scored on Morgan Heckart's sacrifice fly to center as Butler took a 9-3 lead.
Islava then ended the contest in the fifth, blasting a walk-off three-run home run to left field with one out.
Butler's top four hitters – McCoy, Wurts, Rogers and Islava – provided a bulk of the offense as they combined to go 12-for-15 (.800) with 11 runs scored. Islava, who drove in seven runs, and Wurts both had a perfect 4-for-4 performance at the plate.
Gracie Bogle was the winning pitcher, going five innings and allowing three runs on five hits while striking out three.