After winning the Region VI Division I Tournament this past weekend, Butler softball continued to add more postseason honors on Monday as the Grizzlies had 10 All-Jayhawk Conference selections – including sophomore pitcher/outfielder Brynn Minor, who was named the conference's Most Valuable Player.
Butler (51-1 overall, 24-0 conference) had a conference-high seven players named to the first team and placed three on the second team. Grizzlies head coach Doug Chance was named Coach of the Year, winning the honor for the ninth time.
The Grizzlies had all four infielders – Alexis Reed (first base), Ki'Audra Hayter (second base), Becca Schulte (shortstop), and Allison Jurgensen (third base) – along with Minor, pitcher Regan Mergele and outfielder Kenzie Young garner first-team honors.
Butler won its second straight Region VI championship and sixth in the last seven seasons. The Grizzlies have won eight overall Region VI titles (2007-08, 2011-14, and 2016-17). Butler also has won seven consecutive Jayhawk West title and 10th in the last 12 seasons. The Grizzlies have won a total of 13 Jayhawk West titles in the program's history.
As Region VI champion, the Grizzlies will play in the NJCAA District E Championship best-of-three series against Region IX winner Trinidad State (Colo.), which begins Friday, May 12 with a doubleheader at 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. in Trinidad. If needed, a third game will be played on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. The winner will advance to the NJCAA National Tournament in St. George, Utah on May 17-20.
Brynn Minor, P/OF, sophomore, Wichita, Kan.
Through 52 games, Minor is hitting .497 with 25 home runs and 86 runs batted in. She led both the conference and team in batting average, home runs, RBI, doubles (21) and slugging percentage (1.151), as well as leading the team in hits with 79. Minor had a team-high 30-game hitting streak (Feb. 25 to Apr. 23), hitting .589 (53-for-90) with 18 home runs, 59 RBI, 50 runs scored, 13 doubles, triples and five stolen bases.
In the circle, Minor made 30 appearances with five starts and has a 10-0 record with a 1.12 earned-run average, throwing 62 1/3 innings with 62 strikeouts. Minor has allowed 10 earned runs on 41 hits on the season and recorded a team-high five saves.
During the Region VI tournament, Minor set the Grizzlies' single-season record for most home runs in a season and has career team records in hits (162) and doubles (39).
Minor was named the NJCAA Player of the Week (April 10-16) after hitting .692 with four home runs, six RBI and two doubles. She was also a two-time recipient of the Jayhawk Conference Division I Player of the Week honors.
Last season, Minor was a NFCA All-American third-team selection, a first-team all-Conference selection and named to the NJCAA All-Tournament team. Minor also received the Junior College Female Athlete of the Year by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. She becomes the fourth Grizzly under head coach Doug Chance to receive conference MVP honors (Clarissa Navarro, 2011; Mac Millspaugh, 2012; Maggie Ham, 2013).
In 27 appearances with 26 starts, Mergele is a perfect 25-0 with a nation-leading 0.57 earned-run average. The righthander has thrown 111 1/3 innings with 175 strikeouts, allowing just nine earned runs on 54 hits.
Mergele was named the NJCAA Division I Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 13-19) after going 4-0 with 16 2/3 innings pitched, allowing no earned runs on four hits and striking out 30 batters. She was named the Jayhawk Conference Division I Pitcher of the Week seven times this season.
Last year, Mergele was an NFCA All-American third-team selection and received first-team All-Jayhawk Conference honors.
With 51 starts in 52 games at first base, Reed hit .379 with six home runs and 39 runs batted in with 32 runs scored and eight doubles.
As the Grizzlies' leadoff hitter, Hayter leads the team with 38 stolen bases, going a perfect 38-of-38 on the basepaths. In 48 starts, Hayter hit .444 with nine home runs, 45 runs batted in, 71 runs scored, eight doubles and a team-high seven triples.
Schulte leads the Grizzlies with 75 runs and has set a new team single-season record with 88 runs batted in. The sophomore is hitting .419 with 21 home runs, 75 runs scored, 10 doubles, three triple and is 10-for-10 in stolen bases.
Schulte is the Grizzlies' career leader in RBIs (161), runs scored (145) and is one home run away from matching Kate James' career mark of 38 homers.
An All-Jayhawk Conference first-team selection last year, Schulte was named the Jayhawk Conference Division I Player of the Week twice this season.
In 50 games, Jurgensen is hitting .421 with 10 home runs, 56 runs batted in, 43 runs scored, nine doubles and five triples. She ranks second on the team in walks (23) and is 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts
Starting all 52 games, Young is hitting .457 with six home runs, 62 runs batted in and 74 runs scored. Young leads the Grizzlies in on-base percentage (.581), walks (36), and ranks second on the squad in runs scored, triples (6) and stolen bases (22).
Sullivan has gone 7-0 with a 1.01 earned-run average, throwing 55 1/3 innings with 77 strikeouts while making 26 appearances in the circle with five starts. The freshman righty has allowed just eight earned runs on 29 hits and has one save on the season.
At the plate, Sullivan is hitting .458 with four home runs, 15 runs batted in, 20 runs scored and six doubles in 41 appearances. She has 22 hits in just 48 plate appearances.
In 44 games, Kifer is hitting .329 with four home runs, 16 runs batted in, 33 runs scored, six doubles and a perfect 8-for-8 in stolen bases.
Kifer was named Jayhawk Conference Division I Player of the Week for Week 6.
Hale is hitting .421 with 19 home runs, 50 runs batted in and 42 runs scored in 51 games. Hale ranks third on the team in home runs.
In the circle, Hale is 6-0 with a 1.63 earned-run average, 43 innings pitched and 20 strikeouts. She has allowed 10 earned runs on 46 hits in 17 appearances and has made nine starts.
Hale received the Jayhawk Conference Division Player of the Week honors twice this season in weeks 9 and 12.