Grizzlies softball sweep KJCCC opening series against Pratt
EL DORADO — Butler softball opened Jayhawk Conference play Thursday with a pair of five-inning, run-rule victories over Pratt at East Park.
The Grizzlies (11-2 overall, 2-0 KJCCC) cruised to an 18-2 Game 1 win over the Beavers, then matched a season-high with five home runs in an 12-0 victory for the home doubleheader sweep.
Butler has scored 10 runs or more in each of its last six games – a feat last accomplished during the 2017 championship run.
While the Grizzlies’ three hitters atop the lineup – Madi Young, Shayna Espy and Emily Adler – have consistently performed well during the young season, Grizzly head coach Doug Chance was pleased to see the middle of the lineup produce during both games of Thursday’s doubleheader.
Cleanup hitter Ari Cordova had a season-high three RBIs in Game 1, while 5 and 6 hitters Brooke McCorkle and Hannah Knox combined to go 6-for-7 with three home runs, nine runs scored and six RBIs in the two games.
“Our righties came out and really attacked the inside of the ball, went with some pitches and had a lot better at-bats,” Butler head coach Doug Chance said. “We’re going to put up a lot more runs if we continue to improve our approach.”
With the offense clicking on all cylinders, Chance added he was excited to see the Grizzlies peaking at the start of conference play.
“You want to announce your presence with authority and let everyone know you’re here,” Chance said. “It’s game on.”
Winners of seven straight games, Butler will next be in action Tuesday in a home non-conference doubleheader against Northern Oklahoma-Enid beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Game 1 – Butler 18, Pratt 2 (5 innings)
Butler’s offense batted around the order in the first two innings as the Grizzlies built a 13-1 lead over the Beavers.
Trailing 1-0 in the first, Butler quickly took the lead after Shayna Espy was hit with a pitch and Emily Adler singled. Ari Cordova drove in the Grizzlies’ first two runs with a single to right field, then later scored from second base on a wild pitch.
Halle Hale added an RBI single to right which plated Brooke McCorkle. Butler ended the scoring when Izzy Erickson reached first base on a fielding error, allowing both Hale and Hannah Knox to cross home plate for a 6-1 lead.
Butler hammered the Pratt pitching for seven runs on seven hits in the second inning, beginning with a Cordova RBI triple down the right-field line to score Emily Adler. McCorkle followed with an RBI single to left-center to drive in Cordova for an 8-1 Grizzly lead.
Hale kept the offense moving with a two-run double to left-center to score Knox and McCorkle, with Hale taking third base and scoring after a wild throw to home plate.
Madi Young and Shayna Espy capped the second inning scoring with consecutive two-out RBI singles.
After a scoreless third, the Grizzlies added five runs in the fourth inning behind a Sydney Adler two-run single, a Gentry Shepherd RBI double and a two-run homer from Haley Garnett.
Butler starter Izzy Erickson allowed just one earned run on two hits over three innings of work. Erickson (7-1), who recorded her fifth straight win, struck out four and walked one. Hannah Knox finished the game by tossing the final two innings, giving up one run on two hits and striking out three.
Cordova and Hale had identical stat lines, with both driving in three runs, scoring twice and going 2-for-3 at the plate. Young and Emily Adler also scored two runs and recorded two hits each.
Game 2 – Butler 12, Pratt 0 (5 innings)
Butler carried its hot start over to the second game by taking a 10-0 lead after two innings.
Madi Young opened the bottom of the first with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an Shayna Espy groundout. With two outs, the Grizzlies added three more runs as Hannah Knox delivered an RBI single to plate Emily Adler, then McCorkle and Knox both came home when Halle Hale reached base on a fielding error by Pratt second baseman Aspen Warren.
Tadum Soetaert led off the Butler second with a solo home run to left-center. Young then extended her hitting streak to 13 games with a stand-up triple to left-center. Shayna Espy followed with an infield single to score Young. Espy then stole second and scored on an Emily Adler single to right for an 8-0 Grizzly lead.
Two batters later, McCorkle hammered a two-run homer to right-center, then Hannah Knox added a solo homer to center to cap a six-run second inning.
Young smacked her fourth home run of the season with a solo shot to left-center in the third inning.
In the Butler fourth, McCorkle clubbed her fifth homer of the season and second of the game on a solo shot to right-center to end the Grizzly scoring.
The Butler pitching trio of Maddie Redman, Kelcie Kippes and McCorkle needed just 49 pitches to shut down the Pratt offense.
Redman (2-0) threw three shutout innings, struck out two batters and allowed just one baserunner on a hit by pitch. Kippes pitched one shutout inning with a strikeout. McCorkle closed the game with one strikeout in the fifth.
Pratt’s only hit came against McCorkle in the fifth, as the Beavers received a one-out hit from Madison Hamilton.
Young and McCorkle both scored three runs and had two hits each in the contest. In addition to Young and McCorkle, Knox and Emily Adler also had two hits in the win.
NOTES: Young extended her hitting streak to 13 games by going 4-for-6 in the doubleheader and raised her batting average to a team-high .638 clip. Young, who also has multiple hits in nine straight games, finished with two doubles, a home run, five runs scored and two stolen bases… With the home sweep, Butler ran its winning streak over Pratt to 30 straight games. Under head coach Doug Chance, the Grizzlies are 34-2 against the Beavers.