Butler blanks Neosho to win sub-regional and advance to Wichita

Butler blanks Neosho to win sub-regional and advance to Wichita

Butler baseball is on its way to Wichita for the Region VI Tournament after sweeping Neosho County in the first round of the playoffs.

The Grizzlies (39-17 overall), who won Friday's Game 1 in dramatic fashion with two homers in the bottom of the ninth, needed no such heroics during Game 2 on Saturday at McDonald Stadium.

Butler scored four runs each during the third and fourth innings and got a strong pitching performance from Dillan Janek on their way to an 8-0 win. 

Janek (10-1) threw eight scoreless innings, allowing just four hits as only one Neosho runner got to third base. 

Meanwhile, the offense put up all the runs it needed in the third inning. Jack Maki led off with a walk, followed by consecutive hit-by-pitches to Patrick Bethea and Joshua Cox. Javier Pena then put the Grizzlies up 2-0 by singling to left to drive in two runs.

Butler added an RBI double by Colby Standard and a RBI single by Austin Portner to make it a 4-0 game.

In the fourth, Maki again started a Butler rally by singling to left and advancing to third on a double by Bethea. Both scored on a single up the middle by Cox to make it 6-0.

Butler would take advantage of two errors, two walks and a wild pitch - all with two outs - to score to more runs to make for an 8-0 lead after four innings.

Pena led the Grizzly offense by going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored, while Parker Base and Standard also had two hits each. Bethea and Maki both scored two runs in the win.

Reliever Bennett Scherer pitched the ninth inning in a non-save situation, giving up just one walk.

This will be Butler's first appearance in Wichita since 2015, when the Grizzlies beat KCKCC in the first round and then went on to win two games in Wichita.

Butler will face Barton in Wednesday's opening round of the eight-team double-elimination tournament at 10 a.m. at Eck Stadium on the Wichita State University campus. Butler and Barton split a four-game series this season, with each team winning both games on their home field.

If the Grizzlies win, they would advance in to Thursday's semifinals against the Cowley/Cloud County winner in a 4:00 p.m. contest. If Butler loses, they would play at 10 a.m. Thursday vs. the Cowley/Cloud loser.