Butler sophomores Becca Schulte, Regan Mergele, and Brynn Minor were named to the NJCAA Division I Softball All-American first team, which was announced on Wednesday. The trifecta marks the second time in program history Butler has placed three players to the All-American team in the same year.
Since 2006, Butler has had 15 players receive NJCAA All-American status and 16 total by either the NJCAA or National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). This marks the fifth consecutive year that Butler softball has had an NJCAA All-American.
In 2013, Butler's Maggie Ham, Sydney Steuver and Kate James received first-team All-American honors by the NJCAA, which also marked the first time the Grizzlies had multiple selections in the same year. With three selections this year, Butler has had multiple NJCAA All-American selections in three of the past five years (Megan Wurts and Morgan Bohanan, 2016).
Regan Mergele, P, sophomore, San Antonio, Texas
As one of the top pitchers in the nation, Mergele was a perfect 29-0 with an 0.75 earned-run average, 196 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched and led the team in all four categories. In 31 appearances with 30 starts, Mergele allowed just 14 earned runs on 67 hits, 45 walks and gave up only four home runs on the season. The sophomore finished second among all NJCAA D-I pitchers in strikeouts per 7 innings (10.55), third in ERA and sixth in wins.
Mergele's 0.57 ERA set a Butler record for lowest ERA in a single-season and finished second behind Maggie Ham (30, 2013) for most single-season victories. Signed to play next year with the University of Nebraska, Mergele ends her Butler career as second all-time in wins (53), earned-run average (1.15) and strikeouts (330).
At the national tournament, Mergele was named the Most Outstanding Pitcher as she went 3-0 in three starts with a 2.23 ERA, 14 strikeouts and 12 hits allowed in 15 2/3 innings pitched.
Mergele was an All-Jayhawk Conference first-team selection at pitcher and was named the conference D-I Pitcher of the Week seven time this season. She was also named the NJCAA Division I Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 13-19) after going 4-0 with 16 2/3 innings pitched, allowing no earned runs on four hits and striking out 30 batters.
Last year, Mergele was an NFCA All-American third-team selection and received first-team All-Jayhawk Conference honors.
Brynn Minor, P/OF, sophomore, Wichita, Kan.
Minor led the Grizzlies in numerous offensive categories this season, including setting single-season records in batting average (.497) and home runs (30). The sophomore also led the team in hits (91), doubles (23) and slugging percentage (1.158). Minor also finished second on the team in RBIs (98) and fourth in runs scored (81).
In the circle, Minor made 34 appearances with eight starts and has a 13-0 record with a 1.07 earned-run average, throwing 78 2/3 innings with 71 strikeouts and just nine walks. Minor allowed 12 earned runs on 54 hits on the season and recorded a team-high five saves.
Minor ends her Butler career as the Grizzlies' all-time leader in batting average (.478), hits (174), doubles (41) and earned-run average (1.03). She also finished second all-time in RBIs (144) and third in both home runs (36) and runs scored (132) at Butler.
Minor had a team-high 30-game hitting streak (Feb. 25 to Apr. 23), hitting .589 (53-for-90) with 18 home runs, 59 RBI, 50 runs scored, 13 doubles, triples and five stolen bases. She was named the NJCAA Player of the Week (April 10-16) after hitting .692 with four home runs, six RBI and two doubles. She was also a two-time recipient of the Jayhawk Conference Division I Player of the Week honors.
Along with being named the Jayhawk Conference Most Valuable Player this season, Minor was earned NJCAA All-Tournament team honors, as she hit .471 (8-of-17) with four home runs and eight RBIs. She also made three tourney appearances with two starts in the circle, going 1-0 with a 2.27 ERA, six strikeouts and no walks in 12 1/3 innings pitched. Minor also tied a tournament record by hitting three home runs in the championship game against Salt Lake (UT).
Last season, Minor was a NFCA All-American third-team selection, a first-team all-Conference selection and named to the NJCAA All-Tournament team. She became the fourth Grizzly under head coach Doug Chance to receive Jayhawk Conference MVP honors (Clarissa Navarro, 2011; Mac Millspaugh, 2012; Maggie Ham, 2013). Minor also received the Junior College Female Athlete of the Year by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.
Becca Schulte, SS, sophomore, Andover, Kan.
Playing in all 59 games, Schulte hit. 433 with 26 home runs and led the Grizzlies with 108 runs batted in, which set a Butler single-season record and was second overall among NJCAA D-I hitters. Along with finishing second on the team in home runs, Schulte was runner-up in runs scored (87) and hits (88) on the team. The sophomore also hit 12 doubles, three triples and was a perfect 12-for-12 in stolen bases.
Signed with the University of Oregon, Schulte finished her Butler career as the Grizzlies' all-time leader in home runs (42), RBIs (181) and runs scored (157). She also finished second all-time in hits (165), third in triples (7) and fourth in batting average (.435).
Schulte was named the Most Valuable Player of the NJCAA Division I National Tournament, as well as the Top Offensive Player at the tourney, as she hit .588 (10-for-17) with four home runs, 15 runs batted in and scored seven runs in five games. Schulte tied a tourney record with three home runs in a game and drove in a career-high eight runs in a 15-3 second-round win over Howard (TX). Schulte is a two-time All-Tournament team selection, as she was named to the squad last year during Butler's first national title run.
Schulte was a two-time All-Jayhawk Conference first-team selection at shortstop and earned Jayhawk Conference Division I Player of the Week twice this season.
Butler softball finished with its best season in program history en-route to winning its second consecutive NJCAA national championship, becoming the first school in to win back-to-back NJCAA Division I titles. The Grizzlies (58-1 overall, 24-0 conference) set a school record for most wins and recorded an 88-game winning streak - believed to be the longest streak in collegiate softball history.
Butler led all NJCAA D-I teams while setting team school records in batting average (.417), home runs (135), runs batted in (613), runs scored (658), total bases (1,280), on-base percentage (.489) and slugging (.762). Butler also set school records in triples (31, 3rd-best in NJCAA) and earned-run average (1.20, 2nd-best in NJCAA).
In addition to the national title, Butler won its second straight Region VI championship, sixth in the last seven seasons and eighth overall. The Grizzlies also won their seven consecutive Jayhawk West title, 10th in the last 12 seasons and 13th overall in the program's history.