Heidi McCollester is lucky enough to have a front-row seat to Lauren Butts' change-up.

It's a privilege the senior catcher for the West Chester Henderson softball team has had since middle school, as she has been behind the plate for Butts, also a senior, for the last six years.

With all that experience, McCollester has seen just what the pitch has done to opposing batters.

They stand there, their feet seemingly glued to the batter's box, or they swing late, not getting remotely close to the power of a normal swing.

There's a reason Henderson coach Sarah Norris calls Butts' change-up "the crippler."

"She can use it anytime she wants," McCollester said after the Warriors defeated host Unionville, 8-1, Friday in a nonleague game.

"Often, it just freezes batters. They don't know what to do. It changes speed so much that even if they do swing, they often will pop it up or even swing and miss. It is pretty ridiculous."

The go-to pitch was ridiculous once again for the Siena College recruit on Friday.

She was in such command of her off-speed stuff that it was only appropriate the contest ended on a change-up that left the batter standing still, taking a called third strike.

"I'm pretty confident that it will get either a groundout or a strikeout," Butts said. "It really helps keep them off balance, which helps me so they don't catch up to my speed."

It isn't just the pitching of Butts - whose fastball has been clocked at 60 m.p.h. - that has propelled the Warriors (15-4) to victories in 12 of their last 13 games.

Henderson also has been hot at the plate.

That trend continued against the Indians (12-6). Henderson's 12-hit attack received contributions from seven players, including a three-run homer from Alli Barnes and two doubles apiece from McCollester and Miranda Mikelson.

The dynamic performance was just a warm-up for Monday's pivotal Ches-Mont National showdown with Avon Grove.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Butts said. "I think we will come out strong on Monday. We need to."

W.C. Henderson 031 000 4 - 8 12 0

Unionville 001 000 0 - 1 4 2

WP: Lauren Butts. LP: Elise Rocconi. 2B: WCH-Heidi McCollester 2, Miranda Mikelson 2, Alli Barnes, Kristen Golden, Butts. HR: WCH-Barnes; U-Madi Ross.


West Chester Henderson catcher Heidi McCollester talks about the win.