With a home doubleheader sweep of Colby on Saturday, Butler softball moved two games ahead of Seward County in the Jayhawk West standings. The Grizzlies had no problem with the Trojans, winning 7-0 and 8-1 at East Park.
Butler (27-13 overall, 14-4 Jayhawk West) will try to increase its lead in the standings on Tuesday, as the Grizzlies host Seward (30-18, 11-5). The series will likely determine the West champion, who will host the Region VI Tournament on May 2-3. The Saints, who have lost three of the last four conference games, split a doubleheader with Butler back on March 8 in Liberal.
Game 1 - Butler 7, Colby 0
Butler freshman Ally Knopp provided the offensive punch in the first game, hitting two home runs to give the Grizzlies a 5-0 lead after three innings. Knopp hit a three-run shot to left in the first inning, then followed with a two-run blast in her next at-bat in the third.
Kaelah McMullin (13-7) picked up her team-leading 13th victory with a complete-game shutout. Colby managed to get only two runners into scoring position against McMullin, who allowed just four hits and struck out six.
Knopp finished with a 2-for-2 performance at the plate with five RBI and a walk. Butler was a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen bases, with Bina swiping two bags.
Game 2 - Butler 8, Colby 1
Butler jumped out to a 2-0 lead over Colby in the first inning. With one out, Megan Wurts doubled to left-center and advanced to third on a groundout. After a walk to Monica Islava, Knopp singled to center to score Wurts. Islava then scored on when Gracie Bogle reached first on a fielding error.
The Grizzlies added three more runs in the second, beginning with a two-run single by Wurts to score Peck and Bina. Two batters later, Wurts crossed home on Islava's single to right.
Colby broke the shutout in the fifth inning when Brittnee Higgs scored on a Hannah Charlton single off starter Jenny Hittinger.
Butler took advanage of four straight walks in the bottom-half of the inning, which lead to three insurance runs. Islava led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch, then stole second and advanced to third on a wild throw. Bogle then doubled to left-center to score Islava. Colby's Mara Nash relieved Tanner Harvey, then issued four straight walks to bring in two more runs.
Wurts and Bogle each went 2-for-4 in the contest, while Wurts and Islava scored two runs each.
Hittinger (12-6) earned the win, allowing three hits and one earned run in five innings. The Butler righthander recorded four strikeouts and walked two.