Butler clinches home playoff date with series win over Seward

Butler clinches home playoff date with series win over Seward

The Butler baseball team took three of four games from Seward County to secure third place in the conference standings and home-field advantage in the first round of the regional playoffs.

Butler split with the Saints the first day, winning 7-1 and falling 17-7. The Grizzlies then swept a Sunday doubleheader, winning 6-5 and 17-7 in a game shortened by run rule.

The Grizzlies improve to 34-21 overall and finish conference play at 20-12 in third place behind Hutchinson (23-9) and Garden City (21-11).

Butler will finish the regular season on Tuesday with a 7 p.m. home game against Coffeyville. The Grizzlies will then host Fort Scott this weekend in a best-of-three series in the opening round of the Region VI playoffs. There will be a doubleheader played on Saturday, with a single game on Sunday if necessary.

GAME 1 - Butler 7, Seward County 1

Grant Hamilton started and ended up being just one out away from a complete-game shutout before Seward scored its only run in the top of the seventh. Hamilton scattered nine hits and a walk and had two strikeouts while improving to 5-4 on the year with his third compete game.

Offensively, Butler broke up a scoreless game with two runs in the bottom of the third with RBI singles by Dalton Wheat and Alex Weiss.

Butler got a single run in the fourth inning on a Ty Redington RBI groundout and another run in the fifth on a Zach Baker sacrifice fly, making it 4-0.

The Grizzlies scored three times in the bottom of the sixth. Ty Redington had an RBI single and Evan Koehler and Alex Weiss had back-to-back RBI doubles.

Weiss finished the game 3-for-4 at the plate while Evan Koehler and Shane Bridges had two hits apiece.

GAME 2 - Seward County 17, Butler 7

Seward, who never trailed in the contest, got a three-run home run in the top of the first and another homer in the top of the third to take a 4-0 lead.

Butler didn't score a run until the bottom of the seventh when Jeff Christen was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in Evan Koehler.

Koehler accounted for two more runs in the bottom of the eighth with a home run to center field, making the score 9-3.

Seward then scored eight times in the top of the ninth. Butler scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth, including an RBI double by Zach Baker and a two-run double by Dalton Wheat, but didn't have enough to overcome the big deficit.

Starting pitcher Brennan Walker took the loss, falling to 5-5 on the season.  He was one of five Butler pitchers used in the game.

GAME 3 - Butler 6, Seward County 5

The Grizzlies came into Sunday's doubleheader having already clinched a home playoff berth but seeking one more win to lock up the third seed in the playoffs.

Greg Houser was dominant on the mound to start the game for Butler, striking out all three batters he faced in the first inning and two more in the second. 

He threw three scoreless innings, while the Grizzlies scored four runs in the bottom of the third. The first two came on an RBI double by Dalton Wheat to drive in Shane Bridges and Ty Redington. Moments later, Evan Koehler doubled to score Wheat. The final run of the inning came from an RBI single by Alex Weiss.

Seward cut the lead in half with two runs in the top of the fourth and then scored three times in the top of the sixth to take a 5-4 lead.

Butler tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on an Evan Koehler single to score Shane Bridges.

The game-winning run came in the bottom of the sixth. Cameron Knight singled to lead off the inning and went to third on a single by Jeff Christen. Trevor Ezell then grounded out to shortstop to allow the go-ahead run to score.

Ezell, who leads the nation in saves, earned his 15th of the year by throwing a scoreless top of the seventh inning to finish the game.

Cade Wager, who threw a scoreless sixth inning, earned the win. It is his first decision of the season.

Evan Koehler was 2-for-3 with two RBI while Ty Redington was 2-for-2 at the plate.

GAME 4 - Butler 17, Seward County 7 (7 innings)

The scheduled nine-inning game was called early due to run rule after Butler scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Austin Dubsky started for Butler and allowed two runs in the top of the first inning, but the Grizzlies answered with three runs in the first, one in the second and five more in the third to go ahead 9-4.

Butler was led by Evan Koehler, who drove in five runs in the game and now has 79 RBI on the season, which is second nationally in that category. He was 3-for-5 in the series finale.

Ty Redington, Dalton Wheat, Zach Baker, Cameron Knight and Shane Bridges all had two hits apiece.

Dubsky (5-1) earned the win and allowing six runs in six innings. Carson Corff allowed one run in the seventh to finish the game.