The Butler softball team was three outs from another appearance in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament but now must win another game to advance.
Butler had won the first game in the best-of-three series with a walk-off double in the bottom of the 10th inning. The Grizzlies then had a 6-0 lead going to the seventh inning in the second game, only to see Otero score seven runs and win 7-6 on a three-run home run.
Now the two teams will meet in an deciding third game scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Thursday at East Park, weather permitting.
GAME 1 - Butler 3, Otero 2 (10 innings)
An Ashton Atwell home run was the only run scored in the game until the top of the seventh inning. A triple and a sacrifice fly for Otero tied the game, sending it to extra innings.
Neither team scored in the eighth or ninth. In the 10th, the international tiebreaker was invoked, meaning each half-inning began with a runner at second base.
Otero took advantage of a throwing error to score a run in the top of the 10th. In the bottom half, Alyson Bressie started at second and went to third on a sacrifice bunt. She then scored on a bunt single by Aujanae McCoy to tie the game 2-2. With two outs in the inning, Kate James roped a double to left that just got past the outfielder and rolled to the wall for a double, allowing McCoy to score the game-winning run.
Both pitchers threw all 10 innings in the game - Otero's Tayler Hall and Butler's Sydnee Eck, who had a no-hitter through the first six innings. She struck out seven, earning the win to improve to 28-5 on the season.
Aujanae McCoy was 3-for-5 in the game at the plate while Ashton Atwell and Joselyn Dean both had two hits.
GAME 2 - Otero 7, Butler 6
By district tournament rule, Otero was the home team on the scoreboard in the second game, which meant Butler batted first.
The Grizzlies wasted little time scoring in the second game. Aujanae McCoy singled and then scored on a triple by Sydnee Eck. When the throw to third got away, Eck scored to give Butler a 2-0 lead.
In the third inning, Eck hit a solo home run to left and in the fourth inning, Jillian Navarrete hit a two-run home run to straightaway center that made it a 5-0 Butler lead.
Butler added one more run in the the fifth when Aujanae McCoy reached on an error, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Monica Islava.
The Grizzlies didn't score in the top of the sixth or seventh but still led 6-0 and needed just three outs to close out the game. Sydnee Eck, who had thrown six scoreless innings, was pulled from the contest after having thrown 16 innings on the day.
Relief pitcher Jayde Hansen loaded the bases with no outs and then walked in a run to make it 6-1. Eck was sent back into the game and Otero hit two straight singles and a groundout to score three runs to narrow the lead to 6-4.
Otero's Jacque Solis then hit a three-run home run to left to end the game.