The Butler softball team strengthened its grip on first place in the Jayhawk West with a doubleheader sweep of arch-rival Seward County on Tuesday at East Park.
The Grizzlies run-ruled the Saints 9-1 in the first game and then methodically marched to a 4-1 victory in the second game.
With the wins, Butler is now 29-13 overall and is 16-4 in Jayhawk West Conference play. That puts the Grizzlies up four games over Seward with four games to play – two at Colby and two at home vs Dodge City next Tuesday. The Saints are now 30-20 overall and 11-7 in conference play. Any combination of a Butler win or a Seward loss assures Butler of the conference title, which would be its fifth straight and seventh in the past nine years.
Butler 9, Seward 1
Kaelah McMullin dominated Seward in the circle for the first three innings, allowing just two hits. She would allow a run in the fourth inning, but would finish the game, allowing one run on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts. She improves to 14-7 on the season, having won 13 straight decisions after starting the year 1-7.
Offensively, Butler wasted no time in getting started. Megan Wurts hit a two-run home run in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead.
Butler 4, Seward 1
Butler again scored early, getting a run on three hits in the first inning, as Morgan Heckart double to drive in Aujanaue McCoy.
Seward tied the game with an unearned run in the top of the second off of a Butler throwing error, and the game stayed tied through the third.
In the bottom of the fourth, Butler scored another run when Gracie Bogle lined a single up the middle to drive in Morgan Heckart.
Then in the fifth, Morgan Heckart drove in her second run of the game with an RBI groundout. Monica Islava followed that up with an RBI single to center and Butler had its 4-1 lead.
Jenny Hittinger threw all seven innings, allowing just one unearned run on five hits. She walked one and struck out five. She is now 12-6 on the season.