JUCO softball: Warriors get split at No. 16 Butler

Mar. 13—EL DORADO, Ks. — The Indian Hills softball team split a pair of games with 16th-ranked Butler Community College on Monday afternoon, falling 4-2 in an eight-inning thriller before taking the nightcap, 6-3. The Warriors move to 11-9 overall on the year.

The Warriors secured its fourth win over a team that has appeared in the national rankings this year to salvage the split against the Grizzlies. Indian Hills has now won five of its last seven contests, all on the road.

Indian Hills put together a valiant effort in the opening game, holding a late 2-1 lead before the Grizzlies scored in the bottom half of the seventh and took the win with a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to hand the Warriors their second extra inning defeat of the year. Indian Hills battled back in the nightcap with an 11-hit attack, led by five individuals with multi-hit contests for the Warriors to split the afternoon series.

Monday's matchup proved to be another road battle for the Warriors, a team that has opened the year with 20 consecutive contests away from its home confines, including back-to-back days of road doubleheaders in Kansas. Indian Hills has now played six contests this year against teams that have appeared in the national rankings.

Monday's opening game saw another dominant effort in the circle from freshman Ashlynn Sheets who went the distance for the Warriors. The Grizzlies struck first with a run in the bottom of the first, but Sheets managed the opposition over the next five frames with just one hit allowed.

The Indian Hills offense came to life in the sixth as the Warriors finally hit paydirt. Sophomore Tatum Aragon delivered a two-run single to give the visiting team the lead. Two teams exchanged zeros on the board over the next two at bats, but the Grizzlies managed to even the score with a leadoff home run in the seventh. A scoreless top of the eighth paved the way for Butler to deliver the two-out walk-off in the bottom half and earn the win.

Sheets worked all 7 2/3 innings of action on Monday and struck out a career-high 12 batters without issuing a walk.

Game two saw Butler strike first once against in the bottom of the first, but a leadoff home run in the top half of the second from Hannah Simpson put the Warriors on the board. Indian Hills took advantage of a Grizzly error in the frame to take its first lead of the game.

Butler tacked on single runs in each of the next two frames to jump back on top, but a three-run fourth inning from the Warriors proved to be the difference maker. All-American Julia Kwakernaak delivered a three-run home run to centerfield to spark the Warriors for a 5-3 lead.

Larissa Miller tacked on an RBI single in the top half of the seventh for an insurance run and secure the victory for the Warriors.

Sophomore Sara Reid excelled in the circle for the Warriors, tossing a complete game while striking out five batters. Reid scattered nine hits, including just three knocks over the final four frames to move to 5-3 on the year.

Offensively, Kwakernaak and Simpson were joined by Peyton Raley, Eva Fulk and Claire Tipton who each tallied two hits in the win. Kwakernaak and Simpson have now homered on back-to-back days for the Warriors.

Indian Hills continues its road swing with a trip to Oklahoma this weekend. The Warriors travel to No. 20 Seminole State College on Saturday for a doubleheader before heading to Murray State for a pair of games on Sunday.