Bearettes' win ends nine-year losing streak to Male
For the first time in nine years, the Butler High School softball team beat No. 4-ranked Male, edging out the visiting Bulldogs 4-2 Thursday night.
“We haven’t beaten Male since 2007,” Butler coach Brittany Braun said, “so this is a really, really big win. To me, they’re one of the best-coached teams in the state.”
The Bearettes (20-4-1), ranked No. 10 in the state, were propelled by a three-run homer to straight-away center field by junior Faith Harris in the bottom of the fifth inning off Male’s Olivia Suski.
“I preach to her that you can’t let first-pitch strikes go by,” Braun said. “She’s bought into that this year. … She’s got a lot of power. It just couldn’t have happened at a better time.”
Harris said she’s faced Suski on several occasions and knew she’d get something hard and fast to swing at.
GALLERY: Male vs. Butler
“I knew what was coming,” Harris said. “I just went up there and hit it. I was ready for everything. The pitch she threw me was inside a little bit. I was ecstatic. It felt great.”
The home run came after back-to-back singles from Kayla McCauley and Hailey Whitmer.
The Bearettes dug themselves a two-run hole early in the game.
With two outs in the top of the first, Male’s Dani Walls reached first on an error by Maggie Ziegler, who dropped a throw from short. Then Bayleigh Masterson drilled a double to left field and pinch-runner Jaylen Smith scored after stealing second base.
Alexis Betts followed with a run-scoring single and the Bulldogs (16-7) led 2-0.
Butler came back with a run of its own in the bottom of the second inning as Ziegler singled to center field, scoring Alison Bast.
After allowing the two runs in the first inning, Whitmer, Butler’s pitcher, settled down and retired the last 12 Male batters.
“Our pitcher really threw it well,” Braun said. “She hit her spots.”
Whitmer battled her way out of difficult jams in the third and fourth innings. In the third, Male loaded the bases — including an intentional walk to Suski — and Brevin Wyman popped out to the catcher.
In the fourth inning, the Bulldogs had runners at second and third before Madison McCoy lined out to short and Morgan Zuege flew out to left field. The Bulldogs didn’t reach base again.
Male coach Josh Bloomer believes his team is in the middle of a deep slump. The Bulldogs lost for the third straight time, also falling to Bullitt East Tuesday and Floyd Central (Ind.) last week.
“We’re not doing much of anything real well right now,” Bloomer said. “We’re just not a good team now. We’re clearly not the No. 4 team in the state of Kentucky.
“We’ll either decide we don’t like to lose or we won’t,” Bloomer said.
Male (16-7) 200 000 0 – 2 4 2
Butler (20-4-1) 010 030 x- 4 7 1
WP: Whitmore (10-3-1). LP: Suski.
2B- Masterson (M). HR-Harris (B).
Records: Male 16-7, Butler 20-4-1.