After coming close last season, the Butler softball team looks to take the next step and win a Horizon League tournament title this season.
That mission started over the weekend when the Bulldogs began an eight-game autumn schedule.
Even with the tournament almost eight months away, senior catcher Mallory Winters said the team is ready to start preparing.
“We came so close last year, and we really want it bad this year,” she said. “Right now, we’re trying to work the new players in and find a spot for everyone.”
Finding everyone a role on this year’s squad will be no small task. Butler added a group of seven freshman and one transfer player during the offseason.
“That class of eight works out perfectly because we have seven seniors this season,” Winters said.
To open their autumn slate of games this past weekend, the Bulldogs visited IUPUI to play four games.
The trip proved to be prosperous for Butler, as they swept the four games. Two of the contests pitted the
Bulldogs against Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and Marian and resulted in 10-0 and 7-2 victories, respectively.
This weekend, Butler will host four games against Ball State, Lake Land, Anderson and St. Joseph’s.
“We’re excited to host those four games,” senior outfielder Lauren McNulty said. “It gives us a chance to get warmed up without going far from home.”
With such a challenging schedule ahead of them in the regular season, the Bulldogs know this preparation is valuable.
“We are playing some good schools [this season],” McNulty said. “We go to Fresno and play Oregon, Arkansas and Lipscomb.”
After winning 14 conference games last season, Assistant coach Meaghan Slack said she knows it will be difficult to achieve the success it experienced last season.
“It will definitely be hard [to repeat last season’s success],” Slack said. “Our goal is still to win the conference, so we need to take advantage of this time together now and get ready for January.”
The short autumn season wraps up on Oct. 14, after which the Bulldogs will be in the offseason until January.
“We are all ready to start the season now,” Winters said, “but this time right now is valuable to us. We will be ready to go in January and February.”