KETTERING — The Butler Lady Aviators went into Monday’s opening sectional game at Fairmont riding high on an 8-game winning streak but didn’t look the part early in the contest versus the GWOC National East Champions.
Several throwing errors led to six unearned runs and a pair of five run deficits, but the Aviators bounced back both times before a game winning bomb to center field off the bat of Morgan Wright – her second of the game – lifted Butler to an 11-10 win.
Sidney Theobald held the Firebirds scoreless over the final two innings and picked up the win on a called third strike that sealed a remarkable victory on a day things didn’t go well early. The strikeout gives Theobald 101 on the season as she tied the school record for games pitched at 24.
Butler improved to 16-9 overall and, more importantly, advanced to face Springboro (6-15) on Wednesday afternoon at the Vandalia Sports Complex.
Fairmont scored first in the bottom of the second on an unearned run and then plated four runs with two outs in the third to take a 5-0 lead.
Butler batted around in the top of the fourth to tie the score at 5-5.
Lyndsay Achs got the inning started with a bunt single and then stole second. Katie Henry followed with a single that drove in Achs. After a walk to Amber White, Wright came to the plate and hit a towering home run down the left field line to get the Aviators within a run at 5-4.
Two batters later, Samantha Lentz hit a double that rolled to the center field fence. She was driven in on a single by Theobald to tie the score at 5-5.
Unfortunately, the Aviators gave all five runs back in the bottom half of the inning – all unearned – on five errors, and the Firebirds reclaimed a 10-5 advantage.
They got a run back in the fifth when Achs was walked and advanced to second on a passed ball. Katie Henry then hit a deep fly ball to right that nearly left the park, and the speedy Achs tagged from second and beat the throw home.
Butler responded with another big inning in the sixth. Singles by Megan Allen, Lentz, and Theobald started the inning off and a fielders choice plated Theobald to cut the lead to 10-8. Achs hit a single to right that drove in the tying runs which set up the late inning heroics by Theobald and Wright.
Butler shut Fairmont down in the sixth with solid defense which brought Wright to the plate to lead off the seventh. With two strikes, she hit a line drive to nearly dead center field as the Firebird center fielder watched it sail over her head.
The Aviators went down in order after that and had to survive a tense bottom half of the inning. Fairmont led off with a single and then pushed the runner to second with a sacrifice bunt. A fielders choice put the tying run at third with two outs, but Theobald caught Fairmont’s final batter looking to seal the win.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.