Butler softball has nine named to All-KJCCC first-team honors

Butler softball has nine named to All-KJCCC first-team honors

Butler softball had a school-record nine first-team selections placed on the Jayhawk Conference Division I All-Conference team, which was released Friday.

Winners of both the Jayhawk Conference and Region VI titles, Butler had the most selections of any school with nine players, with runner-up Barton receiving eight selections. The previous high for first-team selections for Butler was seven in 2013.

Butler had four infield selections with catcher Morgan Heckart, first baseman Morgan Bohanan, shortstop Becca Schulte and third baseman Danae Bina. Outfielders Megan Wurts and Alexis Clinton were also selected, along with Brynn Minor at utility. Pitchers Jennifer Hittinger and Regan Mergele also received first-team honors.

Along with the nine selections, Butler head coach Doug Chance was named co-Coach of the Year with Barton's Mark Benjamin.

Heckart, a sophomore from Ottumwa, Iowa, hit .246 with four home runs, 25 runs batted in and scored 24 runs. Heckart played in 49 of the Grizzlies' 50 games, starting at catcher in 48 of those contests.

Bohanan, a freshman from Goddard, led the Grizzlies in batting average (.531), doubles (26) and on-base percentage (.597). She also hit two home runs, drove in 50 runs and scored 42 times in 45 games. In 24 conference games, Bohanan led all KJCCC Division I hitters with a .528 average and 14 doubles.

Schulte, hailing from Andover, led Butler in home runs (13), runs batted in (66) and walks (23) while hitting .446 and scoring 50 runs. The freshman was second on the team in stolen bases (24) and slugging percentage (.851). She also had 15 doubles and three triples while playing in all 50 games. Schulte received KJCCC Division I Player of the Week honors for Week 9.

Bina, from Marion, hit .439 with two home runs and 18 RBI in 41 games. The sophomore third baseman was second in on-base percentage (.574), which was helped by 18 walks and eight hit-by-pitches (team-high). Bina also had 16 stolen bases and scored 38 runs.

Wurts, an Olathe native, led the Grizzlies with 37 stolen bases, 70 runs, four triples and an .856 slugging percentage. The sophomore outfielder hit .459 with nine home runs, 54 runs batted in and four doubles in 50 games. In conference play, Wurts led the KJCCC D-I in runs (32) and home runs (7). She was also named KJCCC D-I Player of the Week for Week 1.

Clinton, from Tuscon, Ariz., hit .400 with eight home runs and 33 RBI. She scored 50 runs, stolen 19 bases and had three triples in just 38 games.

Minor, a pitcher/outfielder from Wichita, led Butler with 75 hits while hitting .487 with five home runs and 41 runs batted in. She was a perfect 17-of-17 in stolen bases, scored 45 runs and had 14 doubles with one triple. In conference action, Minor On the mound, Minor led the nation in earned-run average (0.79). Primarily as a reliever, she was 4-0 with four saves and had 63 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched. Minor allowed just six earned runs on 31 hits in 29 appearances.

Hittinger, from Cibolo, Texas, was 20-1 overall with a 1.77 earned-run average. Starting 26 games, the sophomore right-hander struck out 86 batters in 118 1/3 innings and allowed 30 earned runs on 105 hits. Hittinger, who also had a team-high eight complete games, earned KJCCC D-I Pitcher of the Week honors for Week 3.

Mergele, a freshman pitcher from San Antonio, Texas, led the Grizzlies in wins (22), innings pitched (125 1/3) and strikeouts (125). Starting in 23 of 27 games, Mergele was 22-3 overall with a 1.45 earned-run average and had eight complete games. The righthander was a two-time KJCCC D-I Pitcher of the Week (Week 1 and 10).

The Grizzlies (46-4 overall, 23-1 conference) were the Jayhawk Conference champions for the sixth straight season and won their eighth title in 10 seasons. In addition to the regular season title, Butler won the Region VI Championship for the seventh time in 10 seasons. Butler set a school record for most conference wins and currently has a 31-game winning streak, which is also a program high.

Butler, ranked sixth in the NJCAA, hosts the Region IX winner for the District E Championship and a berth to the NJCAA National Tournament in St. George, Utah. The best-of-three series for the District E title begins next Wednesday, with the times yet to be determined.