Butler clinches third straight conference championship

Butler clinches third straight conference championship

EL DORADO, Kan. – The Butler softball team is once again the champions of the Jayhawk West Conference, clinching the championship after sweeping a doubleheader from Garden City by scores of 9-1 and 2-0 on Saturday afternoon at East Park.

The No. 1-ranked Grizzlies are 41-2 on the season and 12-0 in Jayhawk West play after the sweep. The conference championship is the third straight for Butler and the sixth in the past eight years under head coach Doug Chance. This is also the sixth time in the past eight years that Butler has won 40 or more games in a season.

With the two wins Saturday, the Grizzlies also extended their winning streak to a season-high 18 games. Butler now has four conference games left, all at home. Butler will host Barton on Wednesday and Seward on Friday, with a non-conference doubleheader against Seminole State sandwiched in between on Thursday.

GAME 1 – Butler 9, Garden City 1 (5 innings)

Butler broke through for three runs in the first inning and then scored six more in the second. Kelsey Berlin was the big bat in the lineup, driving in one run in the first and three runs in the second with a bases-loaded double. Ashley Malone was 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored and two runs driven in, while Sydney Stuever and Kate James also had RBIs.

Maggie Ham pitched a complete game for Butler, striking out eight while allowing two hits and a walk. She improved to 22-1 on the season.

GAME 2 – Butler 2, Garden City 0

Both starting pitchers in the second game were able to frustrate opposing hitters, but Butler's Mac Millspaugh was dominating. She didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning and struck out 10 hitters through her five innings of work. Maggie Ham came on in relief and struck out five more hitters in two innings of work. Millspaugh gets the win, improving to 13-0 on the season, while Ham gets her second save of the season.

Butler struggled against Garden City pitcher Joselyn Lopez, but scored its first run on a solo home run by Ashley Malone in the bottom of the second. Then in the fourth inning, Kate James doubled and scored on an RBI single to right by Ashton Atwell. Those would be the only two runs Butler would score.