Butler softball sweeps Trinidad State for sixth straight trip to nationals

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Maddie Redman (left) and Myah Johnson (right) hug after Johnson scores on a wild throw in Game 2 of the Plains District title at East Park on Monday. Butler won the game 21-4.

EL DORADO, Kansas—They had to play all seven innings in Game 2 because that’s what the rules states, not like they needed it though. 

Butler drubbed Region IX champion, Trinidad State 21-4 in Game 2 as they clinched their sixth consecutive berth to the NJCAA Softball National Tournament. 

“After being off last year and not getting to do anything, this is pretty special,” Butler Head Coach Doug Chance said.

The Grizzlies have now won 45 consecutive games, pushing into the range of the top echelon’s of winning streaks, with only one junior college winning streak, a 51-gamer by Seminole State and Butler’s 88-game winning streak, ahead of them.

Butler did it by just hammering the Trojans all afternoon. They did it by hitting a combined seven home runs in the two-game series between Region VI and Region IX. 

“I felt like 1-9 we can do damage,” Chance said. “It’s difficult to put a lineup out there because I got so much talent on this team as you saw with us empty the bench and one went deep.

“It’s a good problem to have.”

Butler (48-2) jumped on Trinidad State early scoring eight runs in the first two innings with Ari Cordova doubling to left field to score two in the first inning. Mariah Wheeler hit her first home run of the afternoon to make it 8-0.

“We’re just having so much fun,” freshman Madi Young said. “The next step now is to win it and so we keep knocking off these and we’re going all the way.”

Trinidad State made some noise by hitting some home runs of their own in the fifth inning but it would be Myah Johnson getting the final say as she would take Morgan Pantaleo yard for the walk off and the run-rule in Game 1.

Butler would pile it on in Game 2 as they hit five of their seven home runs in the series clinching game. Five different players would go yard for the Grizzlies.

It wouldn’t be until Butler was already up 8-1 when the Trojans would put some pressure on the game. With two home runs in the inning, Butler brought in Maddie Redman to shut down the threat. 

Starting pitcher Izzy Erickson thew 2 2/3 innings for Butler while under the weather. It was unknown how much she would play or if she would play.

“She [Erickson] is a phenomenal pitcher,” Chance said. “She was in the emergency room at 1 a.m. Sunday and I didn’t even think she was going to pitch. She showed up and said she I felt a lot better.”

Redman came in and picked up her 24th win of the season, going 4 1/3 innings and allowing only one hit, a solo home run to Gianna De Luca-Paape. It would be De Luca-Paape’s second home run of the afternoon but it would be their last run of the game.

Butler piled on in the sixth and seventh innings, scoring 12 runs on nine hits. Trinidad didn’t help their situation as they had two errors in the top of the seventh to keep the rally going for Butler. 

“We have one of the toughest pitching staffs overall,” Redman said. “For anyone that has to go up against us it’s going to be a challenge for them. I have all the confidence that nobody is going to withstand us.”

Butler now heads to Yuma, Arizona for the 2021 national tournament, May 25-29. With Butler being ranked second in the national polls, the Grizzlies should be a top seed in the tournament and a bullseye on their back with their winning streak.

“We’re going to win that thing,” Young said. “We’re going to be 'natty' champs.”

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.