Butler beats Cowley, Southeastern at Midwest Juco Classic

Butler beats Cowley, Southeastern at Midwest Juco Classic

BIXBY, Okla. – The Butler softball team won two games Sunday at the Midwest Juco Classic, defeating Southeastern (Iowa) 15-5 and Cowley 8-2 in a thrilling nine-inning contest.

Butler (11-10 overall, 4-2 Jayhawk West) was scheduled to play six games over two days in Bixby, but a previous rainstorm made the fields at Bentley Softball Complex unplayable on Saturday. The Grizzlies, who have now won seven straight contests, are now over the .500 mark after starting the season 4-10.

The Grizzlies head to Kansas City for a two-game series Saturday against MCC-Maple Woods at 1 p.m., then return home to face Southeast (Neb.) in a 4 p.m. doubleheader on Monday.

Butler 15, Southeastern (Iowa) 5

The Grizzlies jumped on Southeastern early by loading the bases with no outs in the top of the first. Monica Islava singled to center, scoring Aujanae McCoy and Megan Wurts, giving Butler a 2-0 lead.

Southeastern answered with a run in the bottom of the first and Butler held a 2-1 lead before adding two runs in the fifth. Wurts hit a one-out triple, then scored when A'Liyah Rogers filed out to center. Islava added another run by scoring on an error.

Leading 4-2 in the sixth, Wurts and Rogers hit consecutive RBI singles with one out to score Haylee Lorenz and McCoy. Wurts then scored on an Islava sacrifice fly.

Butler put the game away by scoring eight runs in the seventh. The Grizzlies' first six batters reached base to start the inning as Lorenz, McCoy and Wurts all hit RBI singles to put Butler up 10-2. Rogers added a sacrifice fly to score Jill Shipman, then Islava hit a two-run double to bring in McCoy and Wurts. Karlie Peck and Morgan Heckart capped the scoring with RBI singles.

Wurts went 4-for-5 with four runs scored, two RBI and two stolen bases. Islava finished 3-for-5 – all hits were doubles – with five RBI and two runs scored, while Heckart went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run.

Kaelah McMullin picked up the win, going the full seven innings and allowing five runs on nine hits. McMullin struck out five and walked three batters. 

Butler 8, Cowley 2 (9 innings)

The Grizzlies needed extra innings to defeat Cowley, but did so in a big way by exploding for six runs in the top of the ninth inning.

Butler had to rally from a early 2-0 deficit, scoring both runs in the sixth inning. With one out, Islava and Ally Knopp hit consecutive singles. Heckart then knocked in Islava with an RBI single. Two batters later, Danae Bina singled in pinch runner Shipman to tie the game. The Grizzlies had a chance to take the lead, but left the bases loaded.

Tied 2-2, Butler needed to escape a thrilling eighth inning when Cowley had runners on first and third with just one out. With the Butler infield drawn in, Cowley's Shannon Driggers hit a ground ball to the second baseman McCoy, who ran Alex Holzman back towards first base. McCoy then flipped the ball to first baseman Gracie Bogle, who tagged Holzman and stepped on the bag for the double play and the third out.

Bogle then turned and threw the ball home in an attempt to get Cowley's Morgan Swisher, who was trying to score from third base. When Swisher was called safe, Cowley thought they had won the game. However, the field umpire had already called the double play ending the inning.

"I knew I had tagged the runner and the base but everyone was yelling to throw home so I turned and threw the ball home." said Bogle. "I guess everyone was so focused on the runner at third that they didn't pay attention to what was going on at first base."

In the top of the ninth, McCoy started the inning with a bunt single, then stole second base. Wurts then singled, scoring McCoy and Peck, who was on to start the international tiebreaker. Rogers then drove in Wurts with a single, putting Butler up 5-2. Islava followed with a two-run home run to center field, then two batters later, Heckart smacked a towering solo home run to left to cap a six-run inning.

Cowley went down in order in the bottom-half of the ninth inning, ending the contest.

"I knew our bats were on the verge of erupting," said Butler head coach Doug Chance. "We had left the bases loaded twice and just couldn't get that clutch hit to fall early in the game, but we didn't abandon our approach and it paid off huge in the end."

Butler had 15 hits in the contest, with Heckart coming through with her second 3-for-5 performance at the plate of the day. Rogers, Islava, Knopp and Peck had two hits each.

Jenny Hittinger pitched the entire contest, tossing all nine innings while giving up two runs – one earned – on just five hits. The freshman righthander fanned two Tigers and allowed just one walk.