The top-ranked Butler softball (51-1) will play today in the NJCAA District E championship series today, taking on Trinidad State (38-22) at Southside Park in Trinidad, Colo.
This is a best-of-three series. If the teams split today, a deciding third game would be played Saturday morning. The winner of District E advances to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament next week in St. George, Utah.
Games are scheduled for 3 and 5 p.m. local time in Trinidad, which is 4 and 6 p.m. in Kansas. The third game, if necessary, will be at 11 a.m. (noon in Kansas) on Saturday.
Games will be broadcast on the Butler network, available online through Stretch Internet.
Frequent in-game updates available on the Butler TWITTER account. You do not need a Twitter account to view the updates.
Butler and Trinidad are two of the most potent offensive teams in the country. Trinidad leads the NJCAA in home runs with 117, while Butler is second at 110. Butler leads the nation in runs per game 10.94, while Trinidad is ninth at 8.35.
Both teams are hitting .400 as a team: Butler is third nationall at .414 and Trinidad is eighth at .400.
Butler does hav an edge statistically in speed with 116 stolen bases (21st nationally) while Trinidad has just four stolen bases on the yea.
THe Grizzlies also lead the nation in strikouts per seven innings pitched at 8.40. Trinidad pitchers average 2.6 strikeouts per seven innings. Butler's team ERA is 1.16 (second best in the NJCAA), while Trinidad's is 5.69 (118th).
Trinidad has played eight games against Jayhawk Conference opponents this season, going 2-6. The Trojans split four games with Garden City and were swept at Seward and at home against Colby. Butler went 15-1 against those opponents (4-0 vs Garden City, 5-0 vs Colby, 6-1 vs Seward).
DISTRICT E SERIES HISTORY
The District E series annually pits the winner of NJCAA's Region 6 (Kansas) vs Region 9 (Colorado east of the Continental Divide, Eastern Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming). Each region hosts the district playoffs every other year; last year Butler hosted Western Nebraska.
This is Butler's fourth appearance in the District E championships, with the Grizzlies winning in their three previous appearances. Butler defeated Otero in 2013 in Colorado and 2014 in El Dorado before beating Western Nebraska this season. The Grizzlies are 6-1 in district games, with the only loss coming in 2014 to Otero in game two.
The District E championship series was put into place by the NJCAA in 2013. The only time Butler was not the Kansas representative was in 2014, when Barton won the region and lost in the district series at Western Nebraska.
Butler in the District E championship series
2013 - vs Otero (La Junta, Colo.)
W - 5-3
W - 3-0
2014 - vs Otero (El Dorado, KS)
W - 3-2 (10 innings)
L - 7-6
W - 16-8
2016 - vs Western Nebraska (El Dorado, KS)
W - 9-5
W - 8-4