GARDEN CITY, Kan. - The Butler softball team clinched its fourth consecutive league title and its seventh in the past nine years with a doubleheader sweep at Garden City on Monday afternoon.
The Grizzlies, ranked seventh nationally, won the first game 6-0 and the second game 22-8. With the wins, Butler improves to 13-1 in Jayhawk West Conference play with two games left. Second-place Seward County already has four conference losses and now can not catch Butler.
Butler has now won the Jayhawk West in seven of the 10 years with Doug Chance as head coach, with two more years as runner-up. The Grizzlies have never finished further than two games out of first under Chance. The Grizzlies are 58-4 in conference games over the past four years.
The Grizzlies are 29-7 overall on the season and will finish league play with a doubleheader at Barton on Wednesday. That doubleheader will begin at 2 p.m. in Great Bend.
GAME 1 - No. 7 Butler 6, Garden City 0
Sydnee Eck threw six shutout innings at Garden City, allowing just one hit and striking out four batters. She improves to 21-4 on the season. Jayde Hansen threw the final inning and despite allowing two walks and a hit, was able to preserve the shut out.
Offensively, Butler didn't score until the third inning. Jilliam Navarrete led off the frame with a solo home run to center. Butler then loaded the bases. Sydnee Eck earned an RBI when she was hit by a pitch to force in a run, and Kate James had an RBI groundout to third for the third run of the inning.
The last run came in the top of the seventh when A'liyah Rogers singled and scored on a single by Aujanae McCoy to make it 6-0.
GAME 2 - No. 7 Butler 22, Garden City 8
Sydnee Eck started the second game as well, and an error and a passed ball allowed Garden City to get an unearned run in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.
Butler's bats started to produce in the second inning and pounded out 22 hits on 22 runs in the game. Butler got a grand slam home run from A'Liyah Rogers, a three-run homer from Sydnee Eck and a solo home run from Kate James. Her home run came in the top of the seventh, an inning in which Butler scored 11 runs. James batted twice in the inning and also had a triple.
Ashton Atwell went 4-6 at the plate with a double and a triple while Jillian Navarrete was 4-4 with a double. They were among six Butler players with multiple hits in the game.
Eck pitched four innings to earn the win, while Abbie Clanton allowed four runs in two innings of work and Jayde Hansen allowed two run in the seventh to finish the game.