Rae VanMilligan fires up the team after her fourth-inning home run provided a spark. Rae VanMilligan fires up the team after her fourth-inning home run provided a spark.

Butler wins district with 5-2 win over MCC


Rae VanMilligan fires up the team after her fourth-inning home run provided a spark. Rae VanMilligan fires up the team after her fourth-inning home run provided a spark.

The Butler Community College softball team downed McCook 5-2 Saturday to advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I World Series in Yuma, Ariz. May 24-28. Saturday’s win, was the 23rd straight win for the Grizzlies and came in the second game of the Plains District best-of-three game series.

“Today was more indicative of the level of play that we’re capable of doing,” said MCC Coach Kevin Kaalberg. “Yesterday I think we were just emotionally spent.”

Butler won 13-0 in the opening game of the series Friday, just hours after Commencement.

 “Butler’s a great team and yesterday they came out and smacked us in the mouth,” said MCC Coach Kevin Kaalberg.

On Saturday, MCC was the visiting team on the scoreboard and went out in order in the first.

Butler scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning on a leadoff single and a pair of two-out doubles.

MCC loaded the bases on walks in the second inning with two outs but couldn’t score.

Butler took a 3-0 lead on a two-out solo home run in the third inning and added another run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly.

“What I’m proud of is we could have come out today and laid down but we didn’t, we came out and competed, because that’s who we are,” said Kaalberg said. “That’s why these girls set records for the program, that’s why they’re the first MCC team to ever win Region IX and that just shows what these girls are capable of doing because they stay together and play as a team.”

Sophomore Rae VanMilligan (Marion, Iowa) led off the fifth inning with a solo home run to make it a 4-1 game.

MCC starting pitcher Avery O'Neil (sophomore, Ellsworth, Wis.) pitched the first four innings and allowed six hits, three walks and she struck out two.

The Grizzlies went up 5-1 with a two-out double in the bottom of the fifth off reliever Anna Wilcox (sophomore, Victoria, British Columbia).

Tyler Mooring (freshman, Santa Clara, Utah) led off the sixth inning with a solo home run to pull MCC to within 5-2. MCC got a leadoff single in the seventh by freshman catcher Sydney Erlandson (Woodbury, Minn.) but she was stranded.

Butler outhit MCC 8-3 as two Grizzly pitchers struck out 12 MCC batters. Neither team committed an error.

Wilcox pitched the final two innings for MCC and allowed one earned run with a walk and a strikeout.

Butler improves to 47-2 on the season and heads to their seventh straight appearance in the NJCAA College World Series May 24-28.

MCC closes out the season at 42-21.

“We want to get within two games of the world series or better every year, that’s the goal -- to put yourself in that position so that’s the standard now, competing for Region IX championships and getting to a Super Regional, and that’s what we’re doing in Year 2,” Kaalberg said. “That’s what we came out here to do and that’s a credit to these kids.”

This was the final games for sophomores Van Milligan, O’Neil, Wilcox, Alexis Cortez (Aurora, Colo.), Ashland Baca (Byers, Colo.), Taylor Thein (West Branch, Iowa) and Morgan Walter (Estevan, Saskatchewan).

“This group of sophomores has left the program in a better place and they have now set this as a standard. This isn’t an aberration,” said Kaalberg.

For all the up-to-date information on MCC softball this season including, schedules, statistics, rosters and photos, please visit the official website of MCC Athletics at mccindians.com



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