“History repeats itself” is a saying that produces quite a bit of controversy in discourse, but at Ulmer Stadium on Tuesday evening, that was not the case. Butler defeated Mercy to claim their second consecutive sixth regional softball title. The 9-4 victory was less nerve-racking than last year’s regional final game against Mercy, but it had its moments early on.
In the top of the first, Mercy had bases loaded with no outs, but the Bearette defense got out of the jam without giving up a run. “This happened to us last year against PRP and we got out of it,” Butler head coach Brittany Braun explained. “They were nervous; I’m just glad they settled in.”
They did just that in the their first series of at bats as Alyssa Brock drove in Katie Templeman to score the game’s first run. For Braun, the run was huge. “If we can get a run in the first it would be huge because it sets the tone,” she recalled telling her team.
Butler recorded nine hits, three coming from third baseman Courtney Abbott. The senior went 3-for-3 with three RBIs on the night to lead the Bearettes, the most notable coming in a four-run third inning. “It was crazy”, Abbott explained about the atmosphere. “The fans and the dugout were very wild; I loved the energy.”
For Mercy, the story of the night was errors and stranded base runners. Despite winning the battle of hits 12 to nine, the Jaguars committed five errors and stranded seven base runners in the first three innings. Overall, Mercy’s leadoff hitter reached the bases on six of the seven innings.
However, Braun had faith in her team’s defense. “They’ve been a great defensive team all year and that’s what we work on a lot,” she explained. “They believe in themselves and they dug deep and did what it took to win.”
“We pick each other up, that’s what we’re here for,” Abbott added.
Butler (20-16) will advance to Saturday’s Semi-State round against the winner of the fifth region at Ulmer Stadium.
Mercy was led at the plate by Maddy Johnson (2-for-3 with two RBIs), Abby Simeon (3-for-4), and Mackenzie Newton and Ryan Ann Hobbs (2-for-4)
The Jaguars end the season with a 19-14 record, but surpassed a ton of expectations. “It was an up and down season”, Mercy head coach Greg Meiners said, “they believed and cared for each other. Tonight just wasn’t our night. Five errors is a lot to leave on the board.”