Grizzly softball earns split in Texas

Randy Smith
Special to BCTG Sports
Grizzly freshman Emily Adler makes contact during Saturday's 7-6 victory over Coastal Bend in San Antonio, Texas. The Grizzlies split the two games on Saturday, moving their record to 3-1 on the year.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—Butler softball suffered its first loss of the 2021 season Saturday after earning a split in two games at the second annual Elite Sports Alamo City Juco Showcase at St. Mary’s University. 

The 11th-ranked Grizzlies held on for a 7-6 victory in Saturday’s opener against Coastal Bend (TX), as the Cougars rallied for five runs on four hits in the seventh inning and had the potential game-tying run stranded at third base. Butler (3-1 overall) followed up with a 7-3 loss to Trinity Valley, as the Cardinals hit three home runs. 

Butler returns to action with four games in Denison, Texas, beginning Friday with a 3:00 p.m. contest against No. 4 Tyler. The Grizzlies will also play Murray State (Okla.) at 5:30 p.m. following Tyler, then face North Central Texas and Weatherford (Texas) on Saturday at 9:00 and 11:30 a.m. 

Game 1 – Butler 7, Coastal Bend (TX) 6 

Butler trailed 1-0 after Coastal Bend’s Delisa Enriquez hit a solo homer to right field off Grizzly starter Hannah Knox in the top of the third inning.  

The Grizzlies responded in the bottom of the frame as Emily Adler singled through the right side and Ari Cordova followed with a double down the left field line. Two batters later, Knox delivered a 3-2 pitch down the left-field line to plate both Adler and Cordova for a 2-1 Butler lead. 

In the bottom of the fourth, Shayna Espy led off with a double to center, then Madi Young followed with an RBI double to center. Two batters later, Cordova reached base on an infield error, while Young advanced to third. Cordova then stole second to put two runners in scoring position for Brooke McCorkle, who drove in both runners with a single to right field as Butler extended its lead to 5-1. 

Butler added two more insurance runs in the sixth, which eventually became crucial at the end of the contest. A leadoff double to left by Espy started the inning, then Young added a double to center to score Espy. Cordova would later hit a one-out double to right field to bring home Young to put the Grizzlies up 7-1. 

Knox (2-0) tossed four solid innings, allowing just one run on five hits and striking out one before being pulled for McCorkle in the fifth after allowing a single and a walk to lead off the frame. Despite putting the first two runners on, Coastal failed to score against McCorkle as she recorded three straight outs. 

With Butler holding a six-run lead into the seventh, Coastal’s offense came alive to mount a comeback bid. McCorkle induced a groundout for the first out of the seventh, but then allowed four straight batters to reach base – two singles and two walks – before giving way to Kelcie Kippes. 

With Butler leading 7-2 and Coastal loading the bases with one out, Kippes gave up consecutive singles to make it a two-run game. Coastal’s Yadira Lopez hit the first single off Kippes through the right side of the infield to score two runners, then Alexia Hernandez punched a single between third base and shortstop for another run. 

Kippes then threw a wild pitch, which brought in another run and moved the potential tying run to third base with just one out. However, Kippes settled down to get the final two batters with a strikeout and sharp groundout to Grizzly third baseman Ari Cordova to end the game. 

McCorkle tossed 2 1/3 innings and gave up four earned runs on two hits, three walks and a strikeout, while Kippes was charged with one earned run on two hits and struck out one. 

Offensively, Ari Cordova reached base all four times and went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI. Madi Young hit 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs, while Shayna Espy went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of doubles and two runs scored. 

Game 2 – Trinity Valley (TX) 7, Butler 3 

Butler fell victim to the long ball in the final game of the four-game tournament as Trinity Valley clubbed three home runs while handing the Grizzlies its first loss of the season. 

Trinity broke a scoreless tie in the top of the second with a leadoff homer to left by Kimane Rogron, then took a 2-0 lead with a Rosaury Perez double to center in the third inning. 

Butler scored its first run in the bottom of third when Shayna Espy led off with an infield single, moved to second on a throwing error and then scored on consecutive wild pitches with Emily Adler batting. 

Trinity extended its lead to 5-1 in the fifth with a three-run homer from Sara Mayes, but Butler grabbed two runs back in the bottom of the inning with an Ari Cordova two-run blast over the left-field fence with two outs. 

The Cardinals struck right back with a two-run homer by Cierra Gutierrez in the sixth, while Butler managed just one hit in the final two innings. 

Trinity pitcher Jalissa Alicea hurled a complete-game four-hit victory with six strikeouts and three walks. Alicea was not charged with any of three runs scored by the Grizzlies. 

Butler starter Izzy Erickson (1-1) took the loss, throwing all seven innings and allowing seven earned runs on 11 hits, walking one and striking out two. 

Knox, who reached base in all three plate appearances, provided two of Butler’s four hits and walked once to lead the Grizzly offense. 

NOTES: Espy was Butler’s top hitter in the four-game Showcase, hitting .600 (6-for-10) with six runs scored, two stolen bases, two doubles and a triple… Young and Cordova each hit .429 (6-of-14) over the four games. Young had a team-high seven runs and three doubles, while Cordova scored five runs, drove in five and had four stolen bases… McCorkle led the Grizzlies with seven RBIs in the Showcase… Under Butler head coach Doug Chance, the Grizzlies improved to 2-0 vs. Coastal Bend and 5-2 against Trinity Valley. The Cardinals have now won the last two meetings against Butler.

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.