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St. Francis stalwart Jake Butler puts his name in school record book

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St. Francis of Joliet has a proud baseball tradition, so it never even occurred to senior pitcher Jake Butler that he was sneaking up on any career records.

He has pitched his way to a big one: a tie for the Fighting Saints’ record of 30 wins.

“It’s great,” said Butler, a Minooka product. “I didn’t even know I was close to getting the record until a couple of days ago. It’s pretty crazy. I ­definitely wasn’t expecting it.”

No. 30 came April 16 in a 13-inning, two hit, 3-1 victory over Robert Morris. It was his sixth consecutive complete-game win, a streak that was broken Wednesday with a 1-0 loss to visiting Judson. The Saints (30-17, 18-4) crushed Judson 18-2 in the nightcap.

Despite the loss, it was another strong outing for Butler (7-2), who struck out seven, walked one and give up the one earned run in seven innings. He entered the game fifth in NAIA with only 5.1 hits allowed per game, sixth in opponents batting average at .165, 16 with 80 strikeouts and third with his seven wins and 2.01 ERA.

“I just try pounding the strike zone with fastballs until they prove they can hit it, then start mixing in some offspeed top keep them off balance,” Butler said.

Scouts have followed him throughout the season. Meanwhile, he is planning on one more semester to get his finance degree.

“It’d be nice to be able to continue playing, but I know that’s not always possible,” he said. “So I have to prepare for life after ­college.”

Concordia keeps rolling

After going 3-0 last week, Concordia (23-2, 10-0 NACC) held steady at No. 3 in the poll, and received the first two first-place votes in program history. The Cougars beat Wheaton 9-1 in a non-conference game on April 16, then swept NACC rival Dominican 4-3 and 12-2 on Saturday.

Martin mows ’em down

Wheaton senior Trey Martin was named CCIW pitcher of the week for the third week in a row, and was selected to’s team of the week for games through Saturday. Martin (4-2, 1.43) is in the midst of a 29-inning scoreless streak, the seventh ­longest in CCIW history.

80th win for Nonnemacher

Megan Nonnemacher, a senior, tied a school record with her 80th victory and St. Xavier set an NAIA softball record for consecutive scoreless innings with a 3-1, 6-1 sweep of visiting Judson on Tuesday. The No. 9 Cougars (37-3, 17-1 CCAC) extended their streak to 60 2/3 innings before Nonnemacher allowed a run in the fourth.

Cardinals runners rank 6th

North Central remained at No. 6 in the NCAA Division III computer rankings released by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The Cardinals have three of the top four times in the nation in the 10,000-meter run, with John Crain the leader at 28 minutes, 52.73 seconds. Roger Klein ranks third (29:55.54) and Troy Kelleher fourth (29:55.57).

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