Butler softball extended its winning streak to 24 straight with a run-rule sweep of Seward County on Saturday at East Park.
The sixth-ranked Grizzlies (39-4 overall, 19-1 conference) shut out Seward 8-0 in the first game, then had a walk-off home run by Megan Wurts to win 10-1 in the second contest.
Butler currently has a three-game lead over Barton in the Jayhawk West standings with four games remaining on the Grizzlies' conference schedule. Butler travels to Dodge City for a doubleheader Thursday at 2:00 p.m. before hosting Barton on Saturday in a doubleheader that was postponed due to rain.
Meanwhile, Barton has six games left on its conference schedule, beginning with consecutive road doubleheaders (at Pratt, Wednesday; at Garden City, Thursday) before facing Butler.
Butler softball is seeking its sixth straight conference title and eighth in the last 10 seasons.
Butler 8, Seward County 0 - 5 innings
The Grizzlies had a steady offense in the opening game, scoring at least one run in each inning.
Morgan Bohanan's RBI single to right to score Megan Wurts opened the scoring in the first inning. Bohanan would advance to third on the play, then later score on a wild pitch to put Butler up 2-0.
Bohanan added an RBI single in the second, again scoring Wurts to go up 3-0.
After three straight singles to begin the fourth inning, Bohanan scored on a fielder's choice. Brynn Minor later came home on a wild pitch.
Butler ended the contest in the fifth inning when Bohanan doubled to center field to score Wurts with one out.
Bohanan finished with a 4-for-4 performance at the plate, scoring twice and driving in three runs, while Wurts was 2-for-2 with three runs and three stolen bases. Minor was 3-for-3 with a run scored.
Pitcher Regan Mergele improved to 19-3 overall on the season, allowing just three hits in four shutout innings and striking out six hitters. Minor tossed one inning of relief, recording all three outs by strikeout and giving up just one hit.
Butler 10, Seward County 1 - 5 innings
Seward County took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by K. Garcia in the first inning, but Butler answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Bohanan's RBI double to score Wurts tied the game, then Bohanan scored on a Danae Bina RBI single.
Bina put Butler up 3-1 in the third when she singled down the right-field line to score Wurts.
The Grizzlies then scored seven runs in the fifth to put the game away. Bohanan opened the scoring, coming home from third on a throwing error as Becca Schulte stole second. Schulte later scored on a sacrifice fly by Morgan Heckart.
Bina scored her second run of the game on a wild pitch ball four to Tyesha Morgan, who advanced to second base on the play. Morgan then scored on Drea Lesure's RBI double to left-center.
Alexis Clinton followed with an RBI single to plate Lesure, then Wurts ended the game with a walk-off two-run home run to left field.
Wurts led the Grizzlies' offense, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored, two RBI and two stolen bases. Bohanan, Bina and Lesure each went 2-for2 at the plate.
Bohanan finished the doubleheader with a 6-for-6 day, lifting her average to .532, which ranks her third nationally among NJCAA Division I hitters.
Jennifer Hittinger (18-1) was credited with the win, allowing just one earned run on two hits in four innings. Minor came on for another inning of relief, again striking out three batters - giving her six strikeouts in two innings on the day.