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River Ridge outfielder Emery Butler is having a successful summer as a rising sophomore.

River Ridge outfielder Emery Butler is putting in the work with her sophomore year on the horizon.

Butler helped lead the Lady Knights to a 26-9 overall record last fall, with a second-place finish in Region 7AAAAAA. She was a varsity starter as a freshman and has lit up scoreboards this summer with power hitting and improved plate appearances.

“It feels like a new me,” Butler said. “Last year, I was weaker and improving, but now I am stronger and more powerful. I am still improving, but in ways that I could’ve never imagined.”

On June 13, Butler was named her travel team’s player of the week after batting .526 with two home runs and 10 RBIs. She also earned the honor April 14 after hitting for a .545 average with three homers and a pair of doubles.

“My hitting has improved by a dramatic amount,” Butler said. “I went from eight base hits and singles to hitting eight home runs and triples. Working out and getting stronger has taken a big role in that. My confidence level is through the roof right now, and it feels good. It makes playing more enjoyable. I am not cocky but confident. Those are two different things.”

Butler’s jump started in the weight room, where she has become much stronger. She has excelled in her age group recently and is using last season’s varsity experience to her advantage.

River Ridge coach Andrew Marinelli expects Butler to come back this fall as a focal point of the Lady Knights’ lineup.

“I am very pleased with her development,” Marinelli said. “Emery is one of those kids where, no matter what, she is going to be successful. She works so hard and is a good teammate and person. She just does everything the right way, and I am glad to see her getting the success she deserves.”

Butler also came in at No. 20 in the Extra Inning Softball Top 100 rankings for the class of 2025. She was an all-Region 7AAAAAA second-teamer after the 2021 season and is now on pace to becoming a major difference-maker for River Ridge in 2022.

“I am putting in the work,” Butler said. “This was the year I actually realized what I had to do to get what I wanted. I always stand by the saying, ‘Don’t expect to succeed if you don’t put in the work.’”

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