ST. GEORGE, Utah - The Butler softball team stranded two runners in the bottom of the seventh, as its comeback fell one run short in a 6-5 loss to Darton State (Ga.) in the loser's bracket of the NJCAA Division I National Tournament at the Canyons Softball Complex on Thursday.
Butler, which had won its fourth straight conference and regional titles and also won a second consecutive District E championship, ends the season with an overall record of 36-10.
Butler, which had led 3-1 early in the game, found themselves down 6-4 going to the bottom of the seventh. A'Liyah Rogers and Aujanae McCoy singled to lead off the inning and Sydnee Eck rifled a single off the glove of the third baseman, allowing Rogers to score to get Butler within a run.
Darton changed pitchers and the move paid off. Kate James popped up to the catcher for the first out and Monica Islava hit into a fielder's choice in which the lead runners was out. Ashton Atwell was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Jillian Navarrete popped up to second to end the game and the season.
Butler trailed 1-0 in the first inning after Sydnee Eck allowed a solo home run, but the Grizzlies tied the game in the bottom of the inning as Eck singled and scored on a double by Kate James.
Butler then went up 3-1 in the third inning when Kate James slammed a two-run home run to left field. It is the 38th home run of her career, the most in Butler history by any player in a career.
Darton answered with two home runs of its own in the top of the fourth inning, scoring four times to go ahead 5-3. Another run in the top of the sixth made the score 6-3.
Butler got one run back in the bottom of the sixth when Monica Islava singled and eventually scored on a single to right by Joselynn Dean.