Facing the No. 17 Butler Grizzlies, winners of six straight Division I KJCCC titles and back-to-back national titles in 2016-17, the Labette Cardinals got swept at home, 11-1, 4-1, on Tuesday.
Labette got one-hit and struck out 11 times in Game 1 while mustering two runs over the two losses. The Cardinals’ offense had its opportunities to hang crooked numbers, stranding the bases loaded three times.
“Against Iowa Central, we came up with those hits when we had runners in scoring position,” Labette head coach Ryan Phillips said. “That just comes down to execution.”
Ellie Facklam was a bright spot for the Cardinals, hitting a home run and pitching all seven frames in Game 2 with eight hits allowed.
Labette and Butler were tied, 1-1, through six innings before the Grizzlies scored three in the seventh, including a two-run homer.
“She did a good job of keeping hitters off balance,” Phillips said. “The one they hit out on her was a great pitch. You just have to tip your cap to a great cut.”
Labette’s bats have flip-flopped between hot and cold this season, getting shut out twice at Hutchinson, scoring 16 runs in two games against Iowa Central, then Tuesday’s cooling off against Butler.
“We may see a kid that throws hard than another kid that throws 50,” Phillips said. “We have to make adjustments quickly, outing to outing. We can’t have backwards strikeouts with bases loaded and one out. We’ve got to see how defenses respond to pressure.”
Hutchinson and Butler, both ranked Division I schools, epitomize a brutal non-conference slate for the Cardinals.
“That’s been my mindset through my years of coaching,” Phillips said. “We’re going to play as tough of a non-conference schedule as we can so we know where we need to be and where our faults are. That’s why I like playing Butler.”
Labette plays four games over two days against currently undefeated North Iowa Area at home, starting with a doubleheader on Friday.
“We did a good job responding after Game 1 and showing we had a little fight in us,” Phillips said. “Now we’ve got to go out and start winning some more games.”
LABETTE VS. NO. 17 BUTLER
Labette: Emma Welch 1 R; Hayley Bonython 1 H; Maggie McKee 1 RBI; Raven Hough (L) 5 IP, 12 H, 11 R, 9 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Butler: McDaniel 2 H, 3 R, 2 RBI; Newman 1 H, 1 R; Valdivia 3 H, 2 R, 4 RBI; Dickey 1 H, 1 R, 2 RBI; Woods 1 R; Briggs 1 H, 1 RBI; Hageman 1 H, 1 R; Hall 3 H, 2 R, 1 RBI; Montgomery (W) 5 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 7 BB, 11 K
Labette: Winter Snyder 1 H; Ellie Facklam 1 H, 1 R, 1 RBI; Abby Tubach 2 H; Kaila Kaahu 2 H; Ellie Facklam (L) 7 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Butler: McDaniel 1 H; Newman 1 H; Anderson 1 H; Acosta 1 H; Briggs 1 H; Dickey 1 H, 1 R, 2 RBI; Hageman 1 H, 1 R; Hall 1 H, 1 R; Young 1 R; Koeneke (W) 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K; Walter (Sv) 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
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