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Story By: Darrell Wacker

dwacker@civitasmedia.com

Vandalia Drummer News


CENTERVILLE - Butler’s baseball Saturday started off on the wrong foot and never got any better.


After a 2 1/2 hour rain delay caused by a thunderstorm that struck just before the original 11 a.m. start time, the Aviators quickly found themselves under water to the Fairfield Indians en route to a 7-0 defeat in a Southwest District championship game at Centerville High School.


Timely hitting got the Indians on the board in the first inning after a two-out walk. Brock Mathis hit a ball to deep left center field to drive in all the offense Fairfield would need.


Things didn’t get any better in the second inning after a walk was issued to the lead-off hitter. After a bunt by Trinidad Selvie, Tyler Burley fielded the ball and threw to second but the runner was called safe in a close play. That brought head coach Trent Dues out of the dugout to appeal the play – a harbinger of things to come.


Two batters later Noah Bauman made the Aviators pay with a single to left that drove in a pair of runs for a 3-0 lead.


The wheels came off in the third after a lead-off double by Kaleb Ford. After what appeared to be a strike out, Butler’s catcher couldn’t find the ball underneath him and Andrew Sams was able to get to first.


Three walks and a hit batsmen later and the Aviators trailed 7-0.


“We gave up a couple of walks, a couple of hit batters, and a couple of hits with runners on and two outs and that was about all she wrote,” said Dues. “We couldn’t swing – it didn’t matter if they scored one or seven, if we swing the bats like that it doesn’t really matter. They only had five hits, but they hit theirs at the right time.”


Meanwhile, Sams had a stellar day on the mound for the Indians throwing a complete-game shutout.


“Give their pitcher credit – he had three pitches right around the plate,” said Dues. “We hit weak fly balls and weak grounders, and if you swing like that all it takes is one run to beat us.”


The Aviators ended the season 25-5 and as district runners-up. Their disappointment was evident after the contest, however.


“They got a league championship and a sectional championship which is something to be proud of,” said Dues. “I’m proud off all these guys. They are really good kids, great group of kids. That’s baseball – some days you come out and win games like this, others you lose games like this. In single elimination, you are done.”


Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.

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CENTERVILLE - Thursday's Sectional Final between Butler and Beavercreek was everything you could hope for in a tournament game — and then some.


For eight innings, the two GWOC champions traded blows in what felt like a heavyweight pitching duel.  And while the Beavers delivered a volley of punches late, that appeared to have Butler on the ropes.  It was the Aviators who landed the walk-off stunner, knocking Beavercreek out of the tournament with a  2-1 win.


Sophomore pitcher Braedon Norman (8-0) got the start for Butler and pitched a beauty for the Aviators.  The sophomore worked 6 1/3 innings, striking out four and held the Beavers scoreless. 


And that was exactly what Butler needed, as Beavercreek junior Brandon DeWitt baffled the Aviators all afternoon.  The southpaw used an assortment of off-speed offerings to strikeout 10 batters, and hold the Aviators to just two hits.


After six innings of scoreless baseball, the Beavers threatened in the top of the seventh.  Two singles and a sacrifice bunt put the Beavers on second and third with one out.


Butler skipper Trent Dues called upon senior righty Tyler Burley (6-1) to relieve Norman — and the trusty veteran went to work.


Burley struck out Cody Hocker, walked Jake Maloney to load the bases, and ended the threat by covering first for an inning ending ground out.


“You have to give kudos to Burley and Norman,” said Dues. “They had a heck of a game. Braedon didn’t do anything wrong, I just thought after they had seen him three times I just felt like they needed to see somebody new.”


After going down in order to end the seventh, the Aviators had to withstand the Beavers best shot in the eighth.


With two outs and a runner on, Corey Jordison doubled to left field, scoring DeWitt to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead.  A pitch later the inning was over, and the Aviators were down to their final three outs.


DeWitt opened the inning with a four pitch walk to Norman, causing the Beavers to pull their starter and insert Treyben Funderburg.


Senior Damon Dues laid down a grounder, advancing Norman to second, before being thrown out at first.


A batter later, junior Preston Tofstad walked, putting runners aboard at first and second and Burley at the plate.


Staring down an opportunity to help his own cause, and save the Aviators season – Burley and the Aviators got their first break of the afternoon.  Funderburg delivered a fastball in the dirt, that skipped behind the plate, allowing Butler to advance to second and third with one out.


On the next pitch Burley sent a hard grounder to third base, and Norman beat out the throw to the plate to knot the game at 1-1.


The Beavers intentionally walked senior Matt Grossman to load the bases, setting the stage for junior Joe Jackson.


With the winning run 90-feet away, Jackson sent a sacrifice-fly to centerfield, scoring junior Preston Tofstad for the walk-off win, as the jubilant Aviators spilled out of the dugout and onto the field.


“I think we only had a couple of hits, but Joe Jackson did a great job putting the ball in play,” said Dues. “We made it work.”


The win gives Butler its first Sectional Championship since the 2012 season and advances the Aviators into Saturday's District Final, for a 11:00 AM showdown against Fairfield (21-6,14-4) at Centerville High School.

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VANDALIA - Butler hosted Greater Miami Conference stalwart Mason (18-7,12-6) Saturday afternoon, in a regular season tune-up game that had the look and feel of a District Championship.


Not only did the Aviators come away with a quality 5-4 win, they did so in comeback fashion, overcoming a late 4-1 deficit.


Butler plated three runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at four, and it was sophomore Ryan Martin's walk off RBI single in the eighth, that would send the Aviators into a jubilant mobbing at first base.


On the mound, Butler got a great trifecta of pitching from seniors Gavin Kohler, Nathan Stogdill and Dylan Welch.  


Kohler earned the start, and worked 5 1/3 innings, striking out four and allowing just two earned runs.  Stogdill came on in relief, putting in 1 2/3 hit-less innings of work with one strikeout.


Welch came on and closed the door in the eighth, sitting the Comets down in order.


Offensively Ryan Martin had a big 2 RBI day for Butler, none bigger than his key knock in the eighth.


Junior Preston Tofstad went 3-for-4 from the plate, while juniors Joe Jackson and Dolen Fults each went 2-for-4.


Jackson, Damon Dues and Jake DeMoss each hit a double in the comeback victory.


The Aviators who now stand at 24-4,14-1 will face a very good Beavercreek team in Thursday's Sectional Final at Centerville.

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VANDALIA - The Aviators plated four runs in the fifth inning to beat visiting Springfield 5-1 in Thursday's Sectional Semi-Final at Butler High School.


The win gave Butler (23-4,14-1) it's 23rd win of the season, but more importantly advanced the Aviators to next week's Sectional Final versus Beavercreek (16-7,8-4).


The Wildcats came to play in this one, led by junior pitcher Nate McGlothin.  The Springfield righty and Butler starter Tyler Burley kept hits at a premium for the first three innings.


Springfield gave the top seeded Aviators all that they had, but it wasn't enough to keep Butler at bay.  The Aviators struck first in the bottom of the third.  


Junior Jake DeMoss led the inning off with a walk, and capitalized on an errant throw to steal second and third base.  With one out and DeMoss aboard, senior Damon Dues hit a fielder's choice to spring DeMoss free at third.  DeMoss and the throw to the plate arrived simultaneously, but DeMoss was able to jar the ball loose with a hard slide into the plate, giving Butler an early 1-0 lead.


The Wildcats would answer an inning later when McGlothin helped his own cause with a two out, RBI triple to knot the game at 1-1.


Braedon Norman and Dues got things going for Butler in the fifth with back-to-back hits.  Preston Tofstad's sac-RBI scored Norman, and a batter later Burley ripped an RBI double to give Butler a 3-1 lead.


Dolen Fults singled to score Burley, and Dylan Welch came around to score courtesy of a passed ball for a 5-1 lead.


On the mound, Burley worked three strong innings, allowing just two hits while striking out seven.  Burley was relieved in the fourth inning by Norman, who struck out two and earned the win for Butler, his seventh of the season.


The Aviators and Beavers will face-off in the Sectional Final on Thursday, May 18th at Centerville High School at 5:00 PM.

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VANDALIA - The Aviators wrapped up the regular season Monday evening with a convincing 8-1 win over Chaminade-Julienne (15-3,11-1).


After posting back-to-back losses for the first time since the 2014 season, Butler was looking for that springboard win to catapult into the tournament.


The Aviators got just that.


Junior Joe Jackson (3-1) got plenty of run support, but needed only a fraction of that, as he pitched three shutout innings.  Jackson allowed just three hits and notched one strikeout from the bump.


Seniors Nathan Stogdill and Dylan Welch provided late relief, working the final four innings, while allowing just one run in the top of the seventh.


Offensively, senior Matt Grossman continued his hot streak from the plate, finishing 2-for-3 with 4 RBI and a double.


Fellow senior Tyler Burley went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, while Damon Dues finished 2-for-3 with two runs.


Dolen Fults and Ryan Martin each added an RBI in the blowout victory.


The win lifted Butler to 22-4,14-1 on the year, and put the Aviators at twenty-two wins for the third straight season.  However unlike the previous two seasons, the Aviators have their eyes set on surpassing that mark - and then some.

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TIPP CITY - A day after wrapping up the GWOC American North title, the Aviators found themselves a mere four outs away from a series sweep over Tippecanoe.  But in the game of baseball, a lot can happen within a short span of time.


After overcoming an early 2-0 deficit, the Aviators had rallied in the top of the fifth inning to take a 4-2 lead.  But with two outs and hope dwindling in the bottom of the sixth, the Red Devils found new life.


Tippecanoe loaded the bases, and methodically plated every base runner, unfolding a nightmare scenario for the Aviators as they took a 6-4 lead.


Junior Preston Tofstad walked with two outs to give Butler a glimmer in the seventh, but it was not to be, as the Red Devils avenged Monday's loss and handed Butler it's first division loss in three seasons.


Senior pitcher Tyler Burley (6-1) was saddled with the tough loss, in spite of a solid outing.  The University of Findlay commit worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing just two earned runs, while striking out six.


Senior Matt Grossman led the Aviators offensively, with two hits and three RBI.


Butler will look to bounce back on Saturday, playing host to Elder (10-12, 2-6) at 12:00 PM.

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VANDALIA - From the very moment it was announced that Tippecanoe was joining the GWOC American North, a burgeoning rivalry began to take shape.


Two traditional baseball powers in one division, slugging it out for bragging rights and of course that coveted championship.


When the 2017 schedules were released, there it was, the final series of the season - Butler versus Tippecanoe...certainly not by coincidence.


All season long, win after win, these two goliaths have been on a collision course for May 1st.  The day finally arrived, and the overflow crowd that congregated at Butler High School Monday afternoon was treated to an instant classic.


Sound pitching and hard earned runs made for high drama most of the afternoon, but it was the host Aviators eventually stealing the show en route to a 7-1 win and third-straight GWOC American North crown.


Early on it looked to be a battle of wills as Butler sophomore Braedon Norman (7-0) and Tipp senior Justyn Eichbaum each brought the heat from the mound.


Norman allowed an early run in the top of the first inning, but settled in and completely shutdown a Red Devil offense that had been averaging over nine runs a game coming into Monday's contest.


The Wright State commit went the distance for Butler, striking out nine, allowing just one earned run on five total hits.


Eichbaum turned in a solid effort for Tippecanoe, logging five innings of work, allowing just three earned runs with seven strikeouts.


After falling behind 1-0 early, Butler quickly rallied in the home half of the first.  With two outs, senior Tyler Burley singled to extend the inning.


Burley stole second base on a 1-1 pitch to Matt Grossman, getting the Aviators into scoring position.  Two pitches later, Grossman sent a burner into centerfield, scoring Burley from second to knot the game at 1-1.


Two innings later, senior Damon Dues lined to centerfield, scoring junior Jack Mitchell from second for a 2-1 lead.  


Grossman and Burley would team up once again in the fifth inning, on another Grossman shot to centerfield, plating Burley for a 3-1 lead.


With Butler nursing a 3-1 lead, the Red Devils turned to sophomore pitcher Ian Yunker, and asked the youngster to hold off the Butler bats.  Unfortunately for Yunker and Tippecanoe, the Aviators erupted in the sixth inning for four runs, swelling their lead to 7-1.


Not going down without a fight, the Red Devils walked, doubled and walked to start the seventh inning.


With a new found sense of hope, Tippecanoe saw an opportunity to make the Aviators and their sophomore pitcher squirm.


But as he as so many times before, Norman pitched beyond his physical years, staying calm, cool and collected, in spite of the bases loaded pressure cooker that surrounded him.


The Aviators right-hander carved up the next two batters, issuing back-to-back strikeouts.  And on an 0-1 offering to Aaron Hughes, served up a fielder's choice to Damon Dues, extinguishing Tippecanoe's comeback hopes and American North title chase.


The win was Butler's 34th straight victory over a conference foe, as the Aviators have gone 34-0 in conference play over the last three seasons.  With their hopes of a division crown by the wayside, the Red Devils will no doubt be looking to play spoiler in Butler's bid to close out another undefeated conference schedule, as these teams play in the rematch Tuesday afternoon at 5:00.


If Monday's match-up was any indication, buckle up...it's going to be another good one!

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VANDALIA - The Aviators stayed perfect in GWOC American Conference play Thursday evening, with a 10-4 win over the visiting Pirates of West Carrollton.


Senior pitcher Zach Crawford (2-1) earned the win for Butler, pitching five innings, striking out four, and allowing just two earned runs.  Fellow senior Gavin Kohler closed out the the final two innings, striking out three as Butler improved to 19-2,12-0 on the season.


After a scoreless first inning, West Carrollton struck first, taking advantage of a bases loaded walk to grab an early 1-0 lead.


In the bottom half of the inning, the Aviators followed suit, as junior Jack Mitchell walked, scoring junior catcher Dolen Fults from third to even the score at 1-1.


A batter later, senior Damon Dues was issued a bases loaded walk, scoring junior Logan Flatt for a 2-1 lead.


Junior Preston Tofstad blew the game wide open eight pitches later, ripping a fly to left field, to score Henry Barwick, Mitchell and Dues for a 5-1 lead.


Those five runs would be all that Butler would need.


The Aviators however would get three additional insurance runs an inning later, as Barwick sent a three run moonshot over the centerfield fence for a commanding 8-2 lead.


Offensively senior Matt Grossman added 2 RBI, Tofstad finished with a double and 2 RBI.


The Aviators return to action Friday afternoon traveling to Xenia (8-11,4-6) in what will be their final GWOC American South match-up of the season.

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VANDALIA - The Aviators took it to the visiting Yellow Jackets Tuesday afternoon, run-ruling Sidney 10-0 in five innings of play.  The blowout victory, coupled with Troy's 3-1 win over Tippecanoe put Butler in sole possession of first place atop the GWOC American North -- it also put the Aviators in the driver's seat.


Butler (18-2,11-0) wasted little time in this one, plating five runs in the bottom of the first to jump out to an early lead.


The Aviators would score in every inning that followed, deciding this one after 4 1/2 innings of play.


The Aviators got another stellar pitching performance out of veteran pitcher and senior Tyler Burley (5-0).  Burley was dominant through four innings, striking out five while allowing just two hits.


Fellow senior Gavin Kohler came on in the fifth inning to slam the door on the Jackets.  Kohler allowed just one hit and notched a strikeout whie preserving the shutout win.


Offensively junior Joe Jackson led the charge for Butler, going 2-for-3 from the plate with a double and 4 RBI.


Senior Damon Dues also doubled, and along with senior Matt Grossman, went 3-for-3 from the plate with an RBI.


Senior outfielder Henry Barwick also added 2 RBI in the win.


The Aviators will get a day off on Wednesday and weather permitting will begin a three game stand beginning Thursday against West Carrollton, Xenia, and finally a Saturday match-up against LaSalle.

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SIDNEY - The Aviators improved to 17-2,10-0 with a 9-4 win over Sidney Monday afternoon, but the win didn't come without a fight.


Despite the fact that the Yellow Jackets currently sit at the bottom of the GWOC American North standings, they gave visiting Butler a run for it's money.


Both teams traded leads through the first three innings, until Butler jumped head for good courtesy of a passed ball, which score junior Dolen Fults from third base for a 4-2 lead.


Sidney would pull to within a run in the bottom of the fourth, but the Aviators would continue to build upon their lead.


Senior Henry Barwick hit a hard RBI single in the fifth inning to score Fults, and increase the Aviators lead to 5-3.


An inning later senior Tyler Burley singled on a pop fly that landed in no man's land between second base and centerfield, to score Damon Dues and Preston Tofstad to give Butler a 7-3 lead.  Junior Joe Jackson added to the lead a few batters later with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Burley to make it 8-3.


The Jackets would attempt several rallies, but could only muster one additional run in the loss.


The win keeps Butler perfect in conference play, and atop the GWOC American North with Tippecanoe (16-3,10-0).


The win goes to sophomore pitcher Braedon Norman (6-0) who also remained perfect on the season, striking out seven through six innings of work.  Norman was relieved in the seventh by Jackson, who earned the hold, striking out two of three batters to close out the win.


Butler will host Sidney Tuesday afternoon at 5:00 PM to close out the series.

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FAIRBORN - It was a perfect night for a baseball game Tuesday evening , as Troy and Butler went toe-to-toe once again in the Reds Futures High School Showcase at Nischwitz Stadium.


And what a game it was.


For the second night in a row, the Aviators found themselves in a pitcher's duel and needed a late flurry of runs to put away the Trojans.


After five innings of scoreless baseball, the Aviators broke through the stalemate, plating three runs in the bottom of the sixth to knock off Troy 3-0.


Butler senior Tyler Burley (4-0) turned in a gem for the Aviators. The senior righty pitched a complete game, allowing just two hits, while striking out ten batters.


Troy pitcher Cole Brogan was solid for the Trojans, holding Butler scoreless up to the sixth inning.


But as they did the night before, the Butler offense came to life late to dash any hopes of an upset on this night.


With one out in the sixth and Burley aboard at third, junior Preston Tofstad hit into a fielder's choice, and as Troy shortstop Brandon Emery was making the throw to first, Burley barreled full steam ahead and safely across the plate for a 1-0 lead.


The jubilant Aviators were not finished.


A batter later, junior Joe Jackson doubled to left field, scoring pinch runner Mason Motter from second for a 2-0 Butler lead.


Dylan Welch was substituted in for Jackson at second, and would cross the plate four pitches later on Nathan Stogdill's RBI double.


With a 3-0 lead that might as well have been 30-0 on this night, Burley struck out the final two batters in the seventh to earn the win, along with the MSA Sport MVP of the Game Award.


The win lifts Butler's overall record to 15-1,8-0 and keeps the atop the GWOC American North, a game ahead of Tippecanoe.


The Aviators will return to action, and Nischwitz Stadium on Thursday night at 7:00 PM, when they face off against GWOC National East leader Centerville (8-5,4-2).

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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.


The Aviators will look to keep the offense humming for tomorrow night's rematch with the Trojans under the lights at Wright State's Nischwitz Stadium.


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VANDALIA - When it comes to sports, most coaches agree that a little adversity is a good thing for a team.


For the Aviators, Saturday's match-up against #2 ranked Moeller provided plenty of adversity to go around, as the Crusaders rolled to a 15-3 win.


Unfortunately for Butler, the majority of the day's woes were self-inflicted, as they Aviators committed an uncharacteristic five errors.  Coupled with facing a sound, perennial power, it didn't take long for things to quickly spiral out of control.


Moeller wasted little time getting on the board, as Missouri commit Cam Swanger ripped a two-out, two-run homer to centerfield for an early 2-0 lead after one inning.


A similar scenario unfolded an inning later, as with two outs, fellow Missouri commit Tyler McDonough crushed a three-run homer to right field, putting Butler in a 5-0 hole after two innings.


Moeller never looked back, plating an additional ten runs over the next five innings.


Butler showed signs of life in the third inning, as senior Tyler Burley hit a hard grounder to Swanger at third, scoring fellow senior Damon Dues, to put the Aviators on the board, down 6-1.


Butler would score again in the sixth inning, to stave off the run-rule.


With the bases loaded, junior Joe Jackson singled to left field, scoring Burley to make it a score of 11-2.  Two batters later, senior Nathan Stogdill hit  hard grounder to shortstop, plating senior Matt Grossman.


Unfortunately there would be no rally on this day, as the Crusaders snuffed out any hopes of a rally, and added a additional four runs in the seventh to slam the door shut.


Offensively Butler was paced by Damon Dues who went 3-for-4 from the plate with a double.  Junior catcher Dolen Fults finished 2-for-4 with a double.


The loss gives Butler (13-1,6-0) it's first taste of defeat on the season.  And while the nature of this loss stings, the fact that it happened in the middle of April should provide at least some solace to an Aviators team full of talent and endless possibility.


And just as a little adversity is a good thing, it also reveals character.  Fortunately for Butler, this team is rich on character.


The Aviators will look to bounce back on Monday, as they travel to Troy (7-7,5-2) to face the Trojans at historic Market Street.  Game time is 5:00 PM.

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FAIRBORN - Thursday evening's clash between American North leading Butler (13-0,6-0) and American South leader Fairborn (7-3,5-1) had the build up and feel of a tournament game.


The game lived up to the hype.


Facing Toledo commit and Fairborn ace Jacob Webb (3-1) the Aviators overcame early deficits of 2-0 and 3-2, to win their 13th straight game of the season.


It wouldn't come easy, however.


Butler senior Dylan Welch (1-0) got the start for the Aviators and had the unenviable task of trying to keep a Skyhawks lineup that is averaging eight runs a game in check.


The right-hander did just that, holding Fairborn to just three runs through four innings of work, in which Welch would strikeout two, netting the win.


The win would not come without it's share of drama, as the Aviators scratched and clawed their way through this one.


Trailing early, as Butler tried to adjust to Webb's arsenal of pitches, Welch got the offensive lift he needed in the fifth inning.


After falling behind 3-2, Butler took advantage of three straight walks with one out to load the bases.


Senior Tyler Burley singled to left on a line drive to knot the game at 3-3.  A batter later, Damon Dues scored from third, giving Butler a 4-3 lead, it's first of the game.


Junior Preston Tofstad blew the game wide open with a 2 RBI double, scoring Burley and junior catcher Dolen Fults, for a 6-3 Butler lead.


Enter Braedon Norman.


Norman came on in the bottom of the fifth, working the final three innings of no-hit baseball for the Aviators.  The sophomore struck out three en route to earning the save.


Butler will get a day off before returning to action at home against Moeller (9-1).  The Aviators and Crusaders will face-off at 12:00 PM, in what should be another action packed match-up between two of the state's top teams.

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GREENVILLE - Despite the chill in the air, the Aviators stayed red hot, lighting up host Greenville 10-2 Tuesday evening for their 12th win of the season.

Butler (12-0,5-0) got a great pitching performance from senior Tyler Burley (3-0) who delivered six strong innings, allowing just two hits, while striking out seven.

Fellow senior Ryan Townsend closed out the win for Butler pitching a hit-less seventh inning.

After falling behind 1-0  in the top of the second inning, Greenville showed a little life, plating two runs for an early 2-1 lead.

An inning later senior Damon Dues tattooed a 2-0 fastball offering from Greenville's Peter Pandey, sending the ball soaring over the right field wall to knot the game at 2-2.

Dues would finish the game with a double, homerun, 2 RBI and a 3-for-5 performance at the plate.

Junior Joe Jackson would give Butler the lead a few batters later, dropping a bloop single into center field to score Burley from third for the 3-2 lead.

The Aviators never looked back, plating seven runs in the fifth inning to blow the game wide open.

OFFENSIVE NOTABLES:

Mitchell 3-4 RBI 

Jackson 2-3 2 RBI 

Fults 2-3

Barwick 2 RBI 

Burley 2b 

Stogdill 1-2 2 BB 

Tofstad 1-3

Butler will get a day to rest, and then will be right back at it with a conference match-up at Fairborn (6-2,4-0) in a showdown with the American South leading Skyhawks.  Game time is slated for 5:00 PM.

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VANDALIA - The Aviators emerge after each off-season with a new slogan for the upcoming season.  This spring for Butler, it was simple and direct...Get'R Done.


Through eleven games, that is exactly what this team has done.


Monday afternoon was no different, as Butler (11-0,4-0) lambasted the visiting Greenwave of Greenville in a 10-0, five inning run-rule.  The lopsided win was just another, in what has quickly become the norm for this season.


Sophomore pitcher Braedon Norman (4-0) was stellar from the mound, holding Greenville to just one hit through five innings of work.  Norman kept the Greenwave guessing from the plate all afternoon, racking up eight strikeouts in the win.


Senior infielder Tyler Burley led the way at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a double, a home-run and 2 RBI.


Junior catcher Dolen Fults had a triple and 2 RBI and senior Matt Grossman went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI.  Junior Preston Tofstad finished 2-for-3 with a double, senior Damon Dues had a triple and 2 RBI while fellow senior Nathan Stogdill added two runs.


It was Butler's sixth shutout and third run-rule win of the season.  


The fast start shouldn't come as a shock to anyone however, as this team returns a nucleus of players from a program that has posted back-to-back 22 win seasons.  Add to that a key mix of newcomers and an unselfish "team first" mentality, it's no wonder that this team is thriving.


With all of hat being said, in the eyes of these Aviators there is always opportunity to learn and grow.  


“Hopefully we can improve upon last year. We are just trying to get better every day,” said head coach Trent Dues.


Tomorrow will bring a rematch between these two GWOC American North foes, this time at Greenville.  Game time is set for 5:00 PM.


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FAIRBORN - It was a big stage for the Aviators Saturday afternoon, facing off against arch-nemesis Northmont (4-2,0-0) in front of large crowd of spectators at Wright State's Nischwitz Stadium.


They didn't disappoint, picking up their fifth shutout of the season with a 6-0 win over the Thunderbolts.  The victory was the 10th straight for the Aviators, as they wrap up the weekend atop the GWOC American North at 10-0,3-0.


“It was a good win for us today. We played good baseball,” said Butler Coach Trent Dues. “We got good pitching, played good defense, got some good hit-and-run plays and we got some bunts down. This was a good baseball day.”


Senior pitcher Gavin Kohler (1-0) got the start and pitched a beauty for Butler.  Kohler worked 4 1/3 innings, striking out three, while allowing just five hits on the day.


Kohler was relieved in the fifth inning by fellow senior Dylan Welch, who turned in a one-hit performance through 1 2/3 innings of work.


Senior righty Zach Crawford came on in the seventh, stranding two Bolts base-runners and snuffing out any hopes of a Northmont rally.


Offensively the Aviators continued to see the ball well at the plate, scattering twelve hits on the day, and wreaking havoc on the basepaths.


Senior right-fielder Matt Grossman led the charge for Butler going 2-for-3 with 5 RBI.  Junior Jack Mitchell was 2-for-3 with two runs, while seniors Damon Dues and Tyler Burley were both 2-for-4 with a stolen base.


Junior third basemen Dolen Fults finished 1-for-4 with an RBI.


A big week awaits the Aviators beginning Monday, with back-to-back GWOC American North match-ups against Greenville.  They then travel to Fairborn on Thursday to face the upstart Skyhawks, and conclude the week Saturday afternoon playing host to Moeller.

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RIVERSIDE - It's early in the season and there is a lot of baseball left to be played, but the Aviator's baseball team couldn't be off to a better start.


Another game.  Another win.


This time it was the Indians of Stebbins (2-8,1-4) on the wrong side of a lopsided 11-0 run-rule, settled after just five innings Friday evening.


The win was Butler's ninth straight, putting then at 9-0 overall and 3-0 in the American Conference.


Junior right-hander Joe Jackson (2-0) picked up the win, working four strong innings of one hit baseball, while striking out five batters.  Jackson received pitching support by seniors Dylan Welch and Ryan Townsend, who came on to closeout the win.


Junior Dolen Fults finished the day 2-for-3 from the plate, while junior Jack Mitchell was 1-for-1 with two runs and an RBI.


Seniors Tyler Burley, Matt Grossman and sophomore Braedon Norman each had two RBI, while junior Jake DeMoss, Preston Tofstad, Joe Jackson, and senior Damon Dues each added an RBI in the win.


Butler returns to action Saturday afternoon, with a showdown against neighboring Northmont (3-1) at Wright State University.  Game time is set for 3:00 PM.

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PIQUA - Butler (8-0,2-0) notched another win against GWOC foe Piqua, this one a 12-4 victory on the road at historic Hardman Field.


Similar to Monday's match-up, the Indians jumped out to an early lead, carrying to a 2-0 lead into the third inning.  Junior Jack Mitchell opened the third inning with a hard single to right field.  Three batters later, senior Tyler Burley pounded out a fielder's choice to shortstop, scoring Mitchell from third and cutting the Indians lead to just 2-1.


An inning later Mitchell sent another 2-2 line drive to right field, scoring Joe Jackson and Jake DeMoss for a 2 RBI single and a 3-2 Butler lead.


The Aviators didn't look back from that point, scoring in every inning that followed, with the exception of the sixth, en route to the 12-4 win.


Sophomore pitcher Braedon Norman (3-0) earned his third win of the season, working six strong innings with two strikeouts and just two earned runs.


Senior Zach Crawford came on in the seventh to preserve the Butler win.


The Aviators will get a few days of rest before returning to action on Friday at Stebbins (2-7,1-3) for a 5:00 PM American Conference match-up with the Indians.

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VANDALIA - Fresh off of their successful weekend of baseball at the Ripken Experience, the Aviators returned to action Monday afternoon, playing host to Piqua (1-5,0-1).


Butler (7-0,1-0) dispatched the Indians 5-1, in what was a soggy, rain shortened, conference opener for the two familiar GWOC American North Division foes.


Senior pitcher Tyler Burley (2-0) put on a performance that Butler has come to expect from the dependable veteran, as he pitched six strong innings of three hit baseball.  


After giving up a second inning homerun to Piqua's Derek Hite, the right-hander settled in, essentially rendering the Indian batters helpless from that point on.


Burley finished the game with nine strikeouts, putting him at 14 total through his first two starts.


The Aviators were paced offensively by senior Matt Grossman, who went 2-for-3 from the plate with a run and a double.  


Fellow senior Damon Dues went 2-for-4 with a run and Burley helped his own cause going 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run.


Senior Nathan Stogdill and junior Joe Jackson each added an RBI in the victory.


Butler will return to action against the Indians tomorrow at 5:00, as they travel north to conclude the series at Hardman Field in Piqua.

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The Aviators (6-0) picked up a walk-off win Friday night in the truest sense of the phrase.  

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, sophomore Braedon Norman took a five pitch walk, freeing the log jam on the basepaths, and giving Butler a 3-2 win over Germantown Academy.

Prior to senior Nathan Stogdill crossing the plate into a sea of jubilant Aviators for the win, the outlook for Butler was bleak.

Down 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth with two outs, it looked as if the Aviators' run of good fortune was coming to an end.  

The magic however, was far from gone.

Senior Matt Grossman extended the inning with a seven pitch walk, and got himself into scoring position on a passed ball.

Junior Joe Jackson then sent a rattler to centerfield unleashing Grossman from second, past a windmilling Trent Dues at third and safely across homeplate to knot the game at 2-2.

Senior pitcher Ryan Townsend then sat the Patriots down in order, setting the table for the Butler win in the bottom half of the seventh.

Stogdill led the inning off with a walk, followed by junior Jack Mitchell's perfectly executed sacrifice bunt.  In fact Mitchell was able to leg out the bunt, putting runners aboard first and second with nobody out.

Senior Damon Dues took a four pitch walk to load the bases, and Norman's walk officially sealed the win for Butler.

Senior Dylan Welch got the start and pitched a fine game, working five innings with two strikeouts and allowed just two runs.  He was relieved by Townsend who closed out the final two innings, striking out two, while holding the Patriots hit-less.

The win lifts Butler to 6-0, and closes out the clean sweep in Myrtle Beach.  The showing was the Aviator's best in three trips to the Ripken Experience and gives Butler momentum as they return home and head into conference play next week.

Butler returns to action on Monday, April 3rd playing host to Piqua (1-4) at 5:00 PM.
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC - Just five games into the young season, the Aviators (5-0) have shown an ability to win in many fashions.


Coming into Thursday's match-up against Padua Franciscan, Butler had three blowouts and a pitcher's duel to their credit.  They can now add a comeback win to the growing list of W's, after powering past the Bruins 8-3.


After a scoreless first inning, the Bruins took an early 1-0 lead in the second.  The Aviators evened things up in the bottom half of the second on an RBI single from senior Nathan Stogdill, scoring junior Jake DeMoss.


An inning late the Bruins would again hit pay dirt, plating two more runs to grab a 3-1 lead.  The lead however, would be short-lived.


Stogdill cashed in another clutch at bat for Butler, ripping a 2 RBI line drive to centerfield, scoring DeMoss and junior Dolen Fults to knot the game at 3-3. 


Stogdill would come around to score shortly thereafter, courtesy of an RBI single off the bat of junior Preston Tofstad for the 4-3 lead.


The Aviators would an additional four runs over the next two innings to secure the win, their fifth straight of the season.


Senior pitcher and Ohio University commit (Golf) Zach Crawford (1-0) earned the win for Butler, working four innings while striking out two and allowing five hits.  


Crawford was relieved by fellow senior Gavin Kohler, who picked up the save through three innings of work.  Kohler held the Bruins to just one hit, striking out four to close out the Butler victory.


Offensively Butler was lead by Stogdill who turned in a 2-for-2 performance at the plate, with 3 RBI.  Matt Grossman went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI.  Tyler Burley and Tofstad each added an RBI to the winning effort.


The Aviators will wrap up their Myrtle Beach trip with a Friday evening match-up against Germantown Academy out of Fort Washington, PA.  Game time is 6:00 PM and can be watched live at:  https://ripken.ondeckdigital.com/live/stream/82

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The Aviators improved to 4-0 Wednesday evening, with a 8-0 win over the Nordonia Knights (2-1).  Hailing from Macedonia, Ohio the Knights came into their contest with Butler undefeated, but as they have all season, the Aviators proved to be a tough out.


After a scoreless first inning, the Aviators took advantage of a passed ball scoring Matt Grossman from third for a 1-0 lead.  A pitch later, the Aviators would plate another run courtesy of a passed ball, for an early 2-0 lead.


Unfortunately for the Knights, it would be an ominous sign of what was to come.


Passed balls and errant throws would derail the Knights, putting them into precarious situations all evening long, against an incredibly opportunistic Butler team.


As if things weren't bad enough for Nordonia, offensively they were facing sophomore pitcher and Wright State University commit Braedon Norman (2-0).


Norman was again dominant on the mound, striking out nine, and carried a no hitter well into the fifth inning.


More impressive was Norman's ability to pitch out of trouble.  After 4 1/3 innings of hitless ball, the Knights finally saw some activity on the basepaths.


Trailing 5-0, Nordonia managed to load the bases and hoped to get back into the game with a timely hit.  Norman would have none of it.


Pitching well beyond his years, Norman went to work striking out the final two batters of the inning, quickly extinguishing the threat and any hopes of a comeback.


Norman turned in six strong innings from the bump, allowing just one hit on the night.


Senior Nathan Stogdill came on in the seventh and closed out the win with three quick outs.


Offensively the Aviators were led by junior Preston Tofstad who had 2 RBI and junior Joe Jackson who finished 2-for-3 from the plate with two runs.

Senior Tyler Burley also added an RBI to the mix, going 2-for-4 from the plate.


Butler gets right back at it Thursday afternoon, squaring off against the Bruins of Padua Franciscan at 4:00 PM.  The Bruins are out of Parma, Ohio.

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The Aviators improved to 3-0 with their second win in as many days at the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, SC.


On Tuesday afternoon it was fellow Buckeye State foe St. Francis DeSales (2-1) taking a 11-0 loss at the hands of Butler.  While the Stallions are one of the more storied D-II teams in the state, they proved no match for the upstart Aviators.


Junior pitcher Joe Jackson (1-0) earned his first varsity win of the season, pitching a strong 4 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits while striking out five.


Despite the Stallions best effort to rally throughout the middle innings, Jackson consistently found ways to pitch out of jams, forcing DeSales to strand six runners.


Senior pitcher Gavin Kohler came on in the fifth inning and picked up where Jackson left off, giving the Stallion batters fits.


Offensively Butler wasted little time getting things started, jumping out to an early 1-0 lead after the first inning.


The Aviators added three additional runs in the second inning, courtesy of a Damon Dues inside the park homerun, clearing the basepaths and putting Jackson and the Aviators in control with a 4-0 lead.


It was senior Henry Barwick who put the explanation mark on the win for Butler.  After going 0-3 from the plate throughout the game, the senior got a hold of a pitch he liked, and gave it a ride.  Barwick crushed a 2-1 moonshot to left field in the bottom of the sixth for the dramatic walk-off, grandslam win.


The Aviators look to stay hot as they return to action at 8:30 PM Wednesday night, facing off against Nordonia under the lights at the Polo Grounds.

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The Aviators (2-0) went toe-to-toe with one of the top baseball programs in Illinois Monday morning, coming away with a 3-0 win over  St. Charles North (3-1), handing the North Stars their first loss of the season.


After plating an eye popping 18 runs in the season opener at Coldwater, Butler found runs to be at much more of a premium in their opening tilt of the Ripken Experience.


Pitching took center stage for most of the game, as both pitchers put together strong outings.  Butler senior and University of Findlay commit Tyler Burley showed great command throughout the game, and worked out of jams like the trusted veteran he is.


It wasn't until the fourth inning, when junior Joe Jackson broke the stalemate with two outs and two on.  Jackson ripped an RBI line drive to right-field, scoring Burley and giving the Aviators a 1-0 lead.


Butler would add an additional two runs in the sixth for added insurance.


On the mound Burley (1-0) did his part all morning, keeping the North Stars off balance at the plate and the runners in check on the base paths.  The right-hander turned in a strong six inning performance, striking out five and allowing just four hits.


Fellow senior Zach Crawford came on in the seventh to close the win out, picking up a save in the process.


Butler returns to action Tuesday afternoon at 3:00 PM, facing off against a somewhat local foe in St. Francis DeSales of Columbus, OH.  The Mustangs were regional runner-up in last season's OHSAA Tournament, and won back-to-back state titles in 2011 and 2012.

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COLDWATER - The Aviators have had an entire off-season to think about how they wanted to respond to last season's stunning and disappointing end to their 22-6 (10-0) season. 

If Saturday's 18-2 opening win over host Coldwater is any indication, Butler has not only moved on, they are moving full-steam ahead.

The Aviators wasted little time, jumping ahead of the host Cavaliers 5-0 after just one inning of play.

Senior Damon Dues got things started early with a lead-off double.  Four batters later, Joe Jackson ripped a single line drive to left, scoring Dues and Tyler Burley, to give Butler and early 2-0 lead.  Matt Grossman came across shortly after, courtesy of a passed ball and Jake DeMoss' two RBI double put the Aviators up 5-0 and in complete control.

Sophomore pitcher Braedon Norman (1-0) would have all of the runs he would need to secure his first win of the season from the mound.  Norman shined, striking out six and allowing just one hit in four innings of work.

Butler plated another five runs in the fourth inning, one in the fifth, and exploded for seven more in the sixth.

Seniors Gavin Kohler and Zach Crawford combined in relief, to close out the final two innings.

Offensively, a host of Aviators had a healthy day at the plate.  Dues led the way going 4-for-5 with 3 RBI, 2 doubles and a triple.  Burley notched his first homerun of the season and added 2 RBI.

Henry Barwick went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Jackson had 3 RBI and DeMoss added 2 RBI of his own.

The Aviators hope to have those hot bats next week as well, as Butler travels to Myrtle Beach, SC to participate in the Ripken Experience.

Butler will face five teams in five days, getting the party started bright and early Monday morning with a 9:00 AM showdown with St. Charles North.

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