TROY – For every season since 2009, the annual series between Butler and Troy has virtually determined the winner of the division.
And while the upstart Tippecanoe Red Devils, who sit along the stretch of I-75 between these two communities figures to have their say in this season’s divisional matters, Monday night at Market Street Field felt just like old times.
The two old and familiar foes butted heads in a classic stalemate for eight long innings, before the Aviators erupted in the ninth inning to come away with a key 9-2 win.
The win improved Butler’s overall record to 14-1,7-0, keeping the Aviators atop the American North and shaking off the gloom of Saturday’s loss to Moeller.
For nearly five innings though, it looked as if the Moeller hangover was in full effect.
The host Trojans got a quick jump on Butler cashing in three first inning doubles in for an early 2-0 lead.
Sophomore starter Braedon Norman (5-0) unfazed, shook off the early deficit and settled in for what would ultimately be a nine inning, complete game performance on the mound. Norman would hold Troy to just two runs and issue no walks while striking out six Trojans along the way.
His counterpart, Troy senior Hayden Kotwica would also turn in a strong performance from the hill. Kotwica worked seven innings for Troy, holding Butler to just one earned run while striking out seven.
While runs were at a premium for most of the game the Aviators were not short on chances.
Butler managed to load the bases on two occasions, looking as if they were going to take control, only for the rallies to falter.
Finally in the fourth inning Butler was able to break through.
Senior shortstop Damon Dues hit a hard line drive to center, scoring junior Jack Mitchell to cut the lead to 2-1.
Two batters later, senior Tyler Burley sent a rattler to shortstop Brandon Emery, scoring Dues from third and knotting the game at 2-2.
It wasn’t until the top of the eighth inning that the floodgates finally opened, and the Aviators offensive demons were exorcised.
After pitcher Matt Bigley hit Burley with a pitch to lead off the inning, fellow senior Matt Grossman hammered a double to left field, scoring Burley from first to give Butler a 3-2 lead.
Junior Joe Jackson hit a sac-fly to right field to score Grossman. Mitchell would add to the lead three batters later, with a two RBI liner to right field for a 6-2 lead.
Dues, Dolen Fults and Burley would each add an additional RBI to swell the Butler lead and secure the come from behind win.
Reprinted with permission from VandaliaButlerBaseball.com.