Knowing your opponent: 10th-seeded Three Rivers (Mo.) Raiders

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Ari Cordova (24) and Anna Icenhower (44) go in for the high-5 in Butler's 10-2 win over Trinity Valley Community College on Tuesday, May 25 in the first round of the NJCAA D1 Softball Championships in Yuma, Arizona.

Butler is set to play in the second round of the winner's bracket in the 2021 NJCAA Division I Softball Championships. Their opponent? The Three Rivers (Mo.) College Raiders. 

Here's a breakdown of the match-up:

How they got here

No. 2 Butler beat No. 15 Trinity Valley 10-2 (6 innings)

Mariah Wheeler went 4-for-4 on the evening, including an impressive 3-run home run to help Butler to the run-rule win. The Grizzlies scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning to put a hold on the game they would never give up. Maddie Redman and Izzy Erickson combined to strike out 10 batters in the win.

No. 7 Three Rivers 7, No. 10 Yavapai (Az.) 4

Three Rivers scored six runs in the top of the sixth, all unearned. Puckett struck out eight batters and gave up four runs on six hits in the win. Everett went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Gracie Thomas came on in a pinch-hitting situation and had two RBIs in the top of the sixth.

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How to watch

You can either get to Yuma or you can view on the NJCAA Network, a pay-per-view service provided by the NJCAA. You can purchase a day pass for $10 or purchase the entire tournament for $25. There are applications for your Roku and AppleTV. Through testing, the Roku did not have the tournament on there for Day 1 and at publication, there was no schedule. The AppleTV app did have the tournament on there. 

Best way to watch would be via your computer or phone, despite there not being an app for your mobile devices. 

No. 7 Three Rivers (Mo.) Raiders

Location: Poplar Bluff, Missouri

Enrollment: 3,076 (2018)

Record: 43-4 (15-1 Region 16)

Coach: Jeff Null, fifth season (168-57)

Last tournament appearance: 2018, went 0-2.

Leading hitter: Brianna Everett leads the Raiders with a .418 batting average in 160 plate appearances. She also has a .775 slugging percentage to go along with 16 home runs and 73 RBIs. 

Leading pitcher: Kindi Puckett has a 1.85 ERA in 26 appearances for Three Rivers. She's 22-2 on the season and has struck out 173 batters this season. Puckett was also the pitcher who limited Butler to only two hits last season (more on that later). Her 173 strikeouts ranks her 15th nationally and her 1.85 ERA ranks 17th, respectively.

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Previous meetings

2020: Butler lost to Three Rivers 8-0 in the Tyler Showcase in Tyler, Texas. The Raiders finished Butler off in five innings. Butler committed four errors and only tallied two hits in the loss. 

Make your reservations

Who: No. 2 Butler (49-2) vs. No. 7 Three Rivers (43-4)

When: Tuesday, May 26 at 6 p.m. CST

Where: Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex — Yuma, Arizona

At stake: Winner advances to the winner's bracket semifinals against either No. 3 Florida SouthWestern or No. 6 Seminole State (Okla.).

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.