Grizzlies Nab Pole Position in KJCCC With Sweep of Hutch

Grizzlies Nab Pole Position in KJCCC With Sweep of Hutch

HUTCHINSON, Kan. – No. 15-ranked Butler softball grabbed sole possession of first place in the KJCCC with a doubleheader sweep of the Hutchinson Blue Dragons at Fun Valley Sports Complex on Saturday.

Entering Saturday tied atop the league standings, the doubleheader had big implications for both squads.

It lived up to its billing as Butler (36-6, 24-2 KJCCC) picked up two one-run victories over Hutch (33-9, 20-4), winning 2-1 in game one and 6-5 in game two. Either winning out or losing just one more conference game will now secure the conference crown for the Grizzlies.

Game 1: Butler 2, Hutch 1

Game one saw both squads flash impressive pitching performances.

Butler's Cheyenne Handsaker (W, 15-2) earned the start and picked up the win tossing 6.0 innings allowing just one run (unearned) on two hits, striking out eight and walking one.

Addy Ewing picked up her first save of the season throwing a scoreless seventh without allowing a hit.

Butler scored the first run of the game in the second inning as JaKeyla McDaniel's infield single drove in Cady Dickey, making it 1-0.

Hutch tied the game at one in the bottom of the second with a sacrifice bunt that saw a runner come home on a throwing error by Handsaker.

Butler countered in the top of the third with Chloe Cardona singling to right field to score Claire Lopez, giving the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead they would hold in to for the final four innings.

Hutchinson started Delaney Blakesley (L, 10-2) in the circle and she allowed two runs on five hits. She was pulled after 2.1 innings for Dakota Lake who tossed the final 4.2 innings, striking out 12 and walking one allowing no runs on two hits.

Lopez was 2-4 with a run scored while McDaniel was 2-3 with a run driven in.

Game 2: Butler 6, Hutch 5

Following Lake's game one success for the Dragons, Hutch turned to her to start game two. She stifled the Grizzlies for the first five innings, striking out 11 and holding Butler off the board. Hutch scratched across a run in the fifth on a Bailey Backhaus RBI double to go ahead 1-0.

Butler's offense busted through in the sixth with two runs on three hits, claiming a 2-1 lead.

Aly Hageman tied the game 1-1 with two outs in the sixth with a opposite field solo home run to left. Kory Schoenfeld followed with a triple and McDaniel eventually hit her in with a no man's land single in between the third baseman and the pitcher to make it 2-1.

The Dragons made a pitching change in the seventh and the Grizzlies delivered with four more runs, taking a 6-1 lead.

An error scored Schoenfeld for the first run, Cady Dickey scored one on an RBI groundout, Hageman singled up the middle to score Cardona and Alivia Darbe plated Hageman with an RBI single to right field.

The five run cushion for the Grizzlies was nearly not enough as the Blue Dragons scored four of their own in the bottom of the seventh but with two outs and the winning run on second base, a short line drive was hit to shortstop Aly Hageman where she made a highlight reel diving grab for the third out, ending the game.

Addy Ewing (W, 9-0) tossed a complete game allowing five runs on 11 hits, striking out two and walking one.

Cardona was 2-4 with an RBI while Hageman was 2-4 with two RBI. McDaniel was the third Grizzly with two hits.

Hageman played a stellar game defensively as she helped Butler turn two double plays as well as the diving grab in the seventh.

Butler returns to action on Wednesday at Dodge City for a doubleheader with the Conqs starting at 2 p.m.

Butler Grizzlies are supported by LASIK Omaha eye doctors and eye surgeons.