VANDALIA – The Aviators (16-1, 7-0) bounced back with a key 8-4 with over GWOC North foe Piqua (8-9, 5-2) Monday afternoon.
With GWOC North Championship implications on the line, the significance of the game was not lost on the visiting Indians.
Piqua went toe-to-toe with the defending champion Aviators, for five innings, as the teams traded leads and shifts in momentum.
The battle tested Aviators broke free in the sixth inning, plating four runs to take the lead and ultimate control of the ballgame.
Freshman Braedon Norman got the start for Butler, and worked 5 2/3 innings with two strikeouts and three earned runs allowed. Norman was relieved by senior Tyler Burley (2-0), who would be the pitcher of record, working the final 2 1/3 with three strikeouts and just two hits surrendered.
Craine 2-3 2 RBI
Lewis 2-3 2 R
Dues 2-3 1 R 2 SB
Burley 2 RBI
Ballard 1-3 RBI
Fletcher RBI R
Gaskins 1-2 R
Panthers slip by Aviators
VANDALIA – The Aviators (15-1, 6-0) absorbed their first loss of the season Saturday afternoon, falling to Springboro (16-1, 6-0) by a score of 1-0.
It was a game pitting two the state’s top Division I powers head-to-head, as Butler came in ranked #1 in the latest OHSBCA State Poll, with Springboro just three spots down the list at #4.
It became apparent early on that runs would be at a premium, as Butler’s Carson Schumann and Springboro’s Mark Nadeau would each turn in solid performances from the mound.
Both teams struggled mightily at the plate through the early innings of the game. The first threat of the game didn’t come until the Panther half of the fourth inning. Springboro opened the inning with back-to-back hits, in the form of a line drive and bunt, putting two on with no outs.
Undaunted, Schumann kept his composure, promptly striking out the next two batters. The break appeared to come a batter later, when Panther third baseman Ethan Brickner ripped a liner tracking over the head of shortstop Damon Dues. In an incredible display of athleticism, Dues timed the line shot perfectly, plucking it from the air to end the inning, and the Springboro threat.
The Panthers would eventually break through in the sixth inning, with one out. Springboro’s Cameron Rountree ripped a two strike offering right over second base and into centerfield, scoring Justin McConnell from second, breaking the stalemate for a 1-0 lead.
With the exception of a sixth inning walk, the Aviators were unable to generate any offense or baserunners from that point on.
On a day where every ball hit seemed to be on a line directly to a Springboro fielder, two hits would be all that Butler could muster at the plate.
Schumann (2-1) deserved a better fate, working 5 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts, five hits and just one run allowed on the day.
Reprinted with permission from VandaliaButlerBaseball.com.