The Butler Bulldogs scored 4 runs on Senior Day at Indy in the first inning to hold off Independence 4-0 in an away Conference Championship game on the Lady Patriots home field.
Both teams had identical records in the SW4A Conference at 10-1 going into the big game. Overall, Butler finishes 14-6 for the season, and Independence 14-4. However, with the win Butler is 11-1 in the conference and Indy 10-2. The teams split the previous two games played during the season.
In the top of the first inning Butler scored two earned runs off starter Leah Renn and two unearned runs. With two outs on a ground ball in the hole second baseman Sara Smith showed her range, however, could not complete the play from deep in the infield when her low throw was not cleanly scooped up by first baseman Olivia Pauldin. Since the Bulldogs had two outs the runners on second and third base who were running at full speed scored easily. In the bottom of the inning the Lady Patriots had the bases loaded with two outs, freshman Kingsley Reardon grounded out to end the inning.
In the top of the third inning the Bulldogs had the bases loaded with two outs and were looking to break the game wide open, however, Leah Renn had other ideas with two strikes on the batter she threw a blazing fast ball by the hitter for a call strike three to end the threat.
Meanwhile, in the bottom of the third inning Huntleigh Williams lead off with a single to center, Leah Renn followed with a base hit to left, however, Brianna Grant hit a sharp grounder to second base which turned into a 4-6-3 double play. This left Williams on third base and Olivia Pauldin smacked a line drive right back at the pitcher to end the Patriots second threat.
Both teams had easy one, two three innings in the fourth. In the fifth Butler went down with only a base runner stranded on first base.
Indy’s Kendall Anderson with one out hit a single, then Huntleigh Williams followed with another single, with runners on the corners Leah Renn popped out to second base and Brianna Grant hit a sharp grounder to the shortstop to end the fifth inning stranding another two runners.
The sixth inning was uneventful and both teams went down in order. In the top of the seventh Butler stranded a runner on first base which lead to no further damage. In the bottom of the seventh freshman Abrianna Berry lead off with a double into the right center field gap, however, she was followed by two hard hit line drive outs to center field, and with Berry now standing on third base after a passed ball, Huntleigh Williams strikes out swinging to end the game.
The Independence High Lady Patriots certainly had their opportunities to get back into this game and possibly win the conference championship. However, they stranded 8 base runners and could not get a timely hit to drive in runs. Leah Renn pitched 5 competitive innings for Indy, and Kayla Douglas finished off the final two innings pitching scoreless softball.
The SW4A Conference Tournament starts Tuesday May 2nd for the Lady Patriots who are the number 2 seeded club and will play Garinger High School who is the number 7 seeded team. Independence is looking forward to concentrating on winning one game at a time and seeking a title rematch showdown with their arch rival the Butler Bulldogs.