MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina — Butler Baseball has never been big on moral victories, but if there is a silver lining to be had on Thursday’s 6-3 loss, it’s that the Aviators are continuing to go toe-to-toe with top talent in the early stages of the season. North Penn showed why they have brought home two AAAA Baseball State Championships over the last five years. The Knights powerful lineup and pitching enabled them to inch out the Aviators in the end.
It was a back and forth affair for the first three innings, as both teams were able to match wits, plating a run in each of the first three innings.
Tied up at 3-3, the Knights finally got separation in the fourth inning, plating three runs that would ultimates seal the deal. North Penn pitcher Danny Kirwin, a Rider University commit held Butler to just three runs on four hits, striking out four. He was relieved in the fourth inning by left-hander Mason Blankenburg who held Butler to a hit, striking out one.
Freshman Quinton Hall and Joe Jackson held the Knights to just three earned runs, but the opportunistic North Penn team was able to capitalize when it needed to. Hall worked the first four innings and was relieved by Jackson who allowed just two hits, while striking out six.
Offensively Butler was paced by freshman Carson Clark who went 2-for-3 with a run. Freshman Boston Smith and seniors Jake DeMoss and Preston Tofstad each added an RBI. Junior Karter Peck tripled in the second inning for the Aviators.
Butler (2-2) will look to end the Myrtle Beach trip on a high note Friday evening, wrapping-up the week against Halifax County (VA) at 6:30 PM. That contest ended after the print deadline.
Butler will begin Greater Western Ohio Conference North play on Monday when they travel to Piqua. The Aviators will open their home schedule on Tuesday when they host Piqua in the return game. Both contests are slated to begin at 5 p.m.
Aviators win in last at bat
MYRTLE BEACH, SC – The Aviators rallied in the top of the 7th inning, plating three runs to secure a come from behind, 9-7 win over Pickerington North Wednesday afternoon.
With bright blue skies and a line of Carolina pines towering over the outfield wall, Butler had a beautiful backdrop for what they hoped would be a bounce back win after Tuesday night’s loss to Olentangy Liberty.
It wouldn’t be easy.
The Aviators got things started right out of the gate, as Dolen Fults took an eight pitch leadoff walk. Freshman Carson Clark followed with a single and senior Joe Jackson brought Fults across from third for the early 1-0 lead.
The Panthers answered in the bottom half, knotting the game at 1-1. Butler regained the lead in the top of the third inning with two runs, but the Panthers again answered in the bottom half of the inning with four runs, taking a 5-3 lead.
Both team followed suit in the fourth inning, Butler taking a short lead with three runs scored, only to give up two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to again fall behind, this time 7-6.
The score would remain tied until the final inning.
Karter Peck led things off for the Aviators with a hard hit single to second base and would steal that same base a pitch later. Next to the plate was Cody Borchers, who laid a textbook bunt, arriving safely at first and more importantly advancing Peck to third. The move would prove to be crucial as Peck would take advantage of a Panther’s passed ball to score, tying the game at 7-7.
Freshman Boston Smith would put Butler back on top for good with a line drive shot to center, plating Borchers with a stand-up double. Carson Clark added to the Aviator’s lead with a hard, RBI liner to center, scoring Smith for the 9-7 lead.
Senior Preston Tofstad (1-0) put the Panthers away with a fly out, strikeout and pop-up to secure the win. Tofstad, who had come on in relief in the sixth inning picked up the win through 1 2/3 innings of work, allowing no hits while striking out two.
The win pushed Butler to 2-1 on the year following a a 9-6 win over Wheaton North in their season opener and an 8-0 loss to Olentangy Liberty.