The Butler Community College softball team is ranked No. 1 for the first time.
The Grizzlies moved up to the top spot in the NJCAA Division I rankings on Wednesday after three weeks at No. 2, supplanting former No. 1 Indian River.
“We knew at some point, if we kept doing our thing, we’d bump up,” Butler coach Doug Chance said. “But like any coach, the main concern we have is we don’t want them to think they’ve arrived. I want them to work harder now.”
The Grizzlies, 32-2 and 8-0 in the Jayhawk West, are the defending Region VI champion.
“I challenged them to play angry, just like Wichita State’s basketball team,” Chance said. “Feel disrespected because you’re not at a Division I school or you feel like you got overlooked. That’s fine.”
Tuesday’s doubleheader against Labette, ranked No. 16 in NJCAA Division II, was canceled because of an impending storm, but that didn’t mean Chance gave the Grizzlies the day off.
“When the games got canceled, I told them I was going to make things a little tougher because they were going to have an intrasquad scrimmage,” Chance said. “Which meant they were going to face tougher pitchers than if we would’ve played … and our pitchers went out there and worked their tails off. They were trying to blow the doors off the entire scrimmage. I loved it.”
Butler returns to action at Colby this weekend, playing two games against Colby on Friday, then five games against Region IX opponents — three on Saturday and two on Sunday.