VANDALIA - It was a rough week for Butler Baseball, one that unfortunately ended with a thud.
Butler was saddled with yet another loss Saturday, this one a six inning, 13-2 defeat at the hands of Archbishop Moeller (10-6, 3-2). For the Aviators, it was their fourth loss in five games. On Thursday Butler lost an extra inning heartbreaker to Fairborn 3-2.
The game started well for the Aviators with two quick outs, but the Crusaders turned a two-out walk into a rally, scoring six runs in the first inning.
They never looked back, closing out the run-rule victory in the sixth inning.
For Butler Jake DeMoss, Caiden Serrer, Cam Miller and Joe Jackson each put in work from the bump, combining for five strikeouts.
Offensively the Aviators continued to struggle, netting just two hits all afternoon. Senior Preston Tofstad and junior Karter Peck each had a hit, while senior Dolen Fults scored two runs and Tofstad crossed for Butler's third and final run on the day.
The Aviators will look to right the ship Monday hosting Sidney (6-6, 4-4) at 5:00 PM.
VANDALIA - The road to a fourth straight GWOC North Championship is now covered in potholes for the Aviators after being swept by the visiting Troy Trojans in Wednesday's double header.
The Aviators fell short in both games by a score of 3-2, the series finale being decided under the lights in a nine inning heartbreaker.
In game one the Aviators faced Troy pitcher Derek McDonagh, who held the Aviators in check for most of the night. McDonagh allowed just three hits and struck out eight, en route to a complete game victory.
On the flipside for Butler, the Aviators had ace Braedon Norman on the mound who was ultimately saddled with the tough loss. The junior right-hander turned in a solid performance of his own, working six innings with seven strikeouts, four hits allowed and just one earned run.
In a pitcher's duel the margin for error is small, and for Butler the miscues and missed opportunities hurt in a big way.
"It comes down to the little things," said Trent Dues after the game. "They did more little things right then we did.
The Trojans played a nearly flawless game, but the Aviators pounced on the sole mistake early. Trailing 1-0 with one out in the bottom of the third, the Aviators put a runner on after a dropped third strike. Evan McKinney stole second base a batter later and it was freshman Boston Smith who would connect on a two out, single line drive to tie the game at 1-1.
The game would remain a stalemate until the fifth inning. Troy's Cole Brogan hit a bases loaded, two-out double to left field, to give Troy a 3-1 advantage.
The Aviators floundered at the plate as they had for most of the day until the bottom of the seventh.
Butler opened the inning with back-to-back walks, setting the table for senior Preston Tofstad. Tofstad laid down a textbook bunt for an RBI single to cut the lead to 3-2. The rally would fall short though, as a groundout and two strikeouts would strand three on the basepaths.
"We couldn't put the ball in play at the end," said Dues. "We had the bases loaded, and you have to make contact. Give their guy credit, he did a nice job."
Unfortunately for Butler, the second game of the evening would bring more of the same. Down 2-0 the Aviators rallied to tie the game at 2-2 in the fifth inning. The Aviators would have runners in position to win the game in the eighth and ninth innings, but could not capitalize.
Troy would go on to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth and won the game courtesy of a walk-off single by Matt Bigley.
The pair off losses drops Butler to 8-5, 5-2 and puts the Aviators on the outside looking in at the GWOC North title.
The Aviators now shift focus to Thursday's home tilt against Fairborn at 5:00 PM.
VANDALIA - The Aviators remained perfect in GWOC North play with a 9-4 win over Greenville Thursday afternoon.
After spotting the Greenwave a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, Butler got things started in the bottom half of the inning. Senior Jake DeMoss hit an RBI double, scoring junior Karter Peck to cut the lead to 2-1. Senior Joe Jackson would knot things up an inning later, scoring senior Dolen Fults who had just doubled, to even the score at 2-2.
The Aviators would plate three more runs in the fourth and four in the fifth, blowing the game wide open.
Senior pitcher Ryan Qvick earned the win on the mound for Butler, working 4.1 innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs, while striking out six. Qvick was relieved by senior Preston Tofstad who closed out the win, pitching 2.2 innings of three hit baseball. Tofstad allowed just two earned runs and notched two strikeouts.
Senior Evan McKinney finished 1-for-2 with a run and two RBI, while DeMoss went 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI. Peck added two runs and an RBI and junior Braedon Norman, Fults and Tofstad each added a run in the win.
Butler will get a day off before returning to action Saturday for an 11:00 AM match-up at Springboro (7-2, 1-0).
FAIRBORN - The Aviators saw their modest five-game win streak snapped Wednesday evening, dropping a 6-3 decision to Centerville at Wright State's Nischwitz Stadium.
After jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead, Centerville junior pitcher Connor Walch settled in and kept the Aviators in check for the next six innings.
Freshman Boston Smith led the way for Butler offensively going 2-for-4 with a triple an a run scored. Junior Cody Borchers and senior Jake DeMoss each added an RBI for the Aviators.
Freshman pitcher Quinton Hall pitched three innings, allowing just two earned runs. Senior Alex Joynes came on in relief to pitch the final three innings, allowing just two hits and one earned run.
Butler (7-4, 4-0) returns to GWOC North action Thursday at home against Greenville at 5:00 PM.
GREENVILLE - The Aviator Express rolled on Tuesday evening as Butler (7-3, 4-0) earned a fifth straight win, taking care of host Greenville 7-2.
Junior Braedon Norman (3-0) made quick work of the Green Wave, going the distance with ten strikeouts, allowing just three hits.
Offensively freshman Boston Smith and senior Jake DeMoss went 2-for-3 with an RBI to pace the Aviators.
Butler returns to action on Wednesday with a 5:00 PM matchup against an always solid Centerville at Wright State University.
VANDALIA - For a freshman, the varsity baseball field can be a pretty intimidating place. Add to that the pressure of being on the mound against one of your biggest rivals and it's enough to make even the most well prepared weak in the knees.
But not Butler freshman pitcher Quinton Hall.
The young lefty made his debut in the Aviator's opener against Wheaton North, coming on in relief to pitch three shutout innings in the Butler win.
Fast forward nearly two weeks and it was Hall who got the start for Saturday's match-up with rival Northmont.
Hall (1-1) worked four innings, striking out four and allowed just two runs as he and the Aviators picked up a 7-4 win over the Bolts.
The freshman was relieved in the fifth inning by senior Preston Tofstad who allowed just one hit, while junior Braedon Norman was called upon in the seventh to close out the victory. Norman allowed just one hit, making quick work of the Bolts for the save.
"Quinton, Preston and Braedon did a nice job on the mound and we manufactured enough offensively to get the W," said head coach Trent Dues after the game. "Our defense really did a nice job behind our pitchers."
Offensively Butler (6-3, 3-0) again showed a versatile line-up, something that has continued to equate into wins for Butler. In fact since returning home from South Carolina, the Aviators have not lost a game, notching their fourth straight win in a row.
"We continue to mix and match our lineup because of the versatility of our guys," said Dues.
Dolen Fults went 3-for-3 with a run, junior Cody Borchers finished 2-for-4 and Braedon Norman went 2-for-4 with two runs.
Preston Tofstad led all Aviators in RBI with four. Karter Peck and Jake DeMoss each added an RBI a piece.
As freshman go, Hall is not alone as fellow classmates Boston Smith and Carson Clark are also starting and producing for the Aviators.
Smith alone accounted for three of Butler's seven runs in the win over the Bolts.
While the most meaningful games with league implications are played during the week, the annual battle with the team across the dam draws a crowd. And as it does with all sports played between the two schools, winning the game brings a satisfaction summed up by Dues after the game.
"It's always good to beat the Bolts, he said.
VANDALIA - Butler erupted in the second inning Friday night, scoring 19 runs en route to a 20-0 blowout win over Stebbins.
Senior Joe Jackson earned the win for Butler, going the distance for the Aviators in a game that lasted a mere two innings. Through those two innings, Jackson struck out four and allowed just one hit.
At the plate the Aviators racked up nine hits and took full advantage of four Indians' errors in the lopsided victory.
Freshman Boston Smith went 1-for-3 with three runs and three RBI. Senior Preston Tofstad also had three RBI, while fellow seniors Evan McKinney, Jake DeMoss and junior Cody Borchers each added two RBI each.
The win was Butler's third in-a-row, improving the Aviators' overall record to 5-3, 3-0 on the season.
PIQUA - After a week of playing down in South Carolina the Aviators (3-3, 1-0) returned to the cold reality that is early spring in Ohio. Despite the three inches of snow that fell overnight, the Aviators and Piqua Indians were able to move forward with the GWOC North opener Monday evening.
Because of the snow and quick melt, the start of the game was pushed back to 6:00, making already blustery game conditions even colder.
For the Aviators however, pitcher Braedon Norman absolutely sizzled on the mound. The junior righty pitched a complete game, striking out twelve en route to a 4-0 win over the Indians.
"Braedon pitched a fine game, striking out twelve and only walking one batter," said Trent Dues after the win.
Dialed in, Norman set the tone early for Butler, keeping Piqua off balance all evening with a mix of pitches and a popping fastball.
The frigid temperatures and wind made offense hard to come by for both teams, but the Aviators were able to make solid contact throughout and capitalized when they needed to.
Junior Karter Peck got things started in the second inning with a one out single. Senior Jacob DeMoss hit a hard grounder to third, capitalizing on an error by Indians' third baseman Spencer Lavey to get aboard. Freshman Carson Clark picked up the RBI two batters later with a single to centerfield, scoring Peck for an early 1-0 lead.
Butler struck again in the fifth inning. This time freshman Boston Smith hit a line drive shot to second base, scoring senior Dolen Fults for a 2-0 lead.
The Aviators added on insurance runs in the seventh to ice the win.
"We played some good small ball to manufacture our runs tonight in the cold, wet conditions," said Dues.
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The Aviators wrapped-up their week long trip in Myrtle Beach with a 4-0 loss to Halifax County (VA) Friday night. The loss dropped Butler's record to 2-3 on the season, but the Aviators return home to Ohio battle tested.
"We played some very good competition," said Butler Head Coach Trent Dues. "We played quality teams in all five games and three of those teams could be state champs."
As it does every year, Butler played in the most competitive bracket of teams in the Ripken Experience. Doing so allows the Aviators to face strong competition from all around the United States.
"This was the best competition that we have played down here as a whole, in the four times that we have been here," said Dues. "It has always been competitive, but this was a level-up.
In Friday's game the Aviators faced a Halifax County team coming off of a 22-4 season, finishing as the 5A State Runner-Up in Virginia. The Comets are considered the early favorites for the state title in 2018, and they showed why, shutting out Butler 4-0.
Comets pitcher Troy Ferrell picked up the win, working 3 1/3 innings and was relieved by a deep stable of pitchers who combined for 11 strikeouts on the night.
As they have been in a few of the games in Myrtle Beach, runs proved to be difficult to come by. The Aviators were able to get runners on the basepaths, but unfortunately could not get those runners across for runs.
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the first, it appeared that Butler was in business, loading the bases with nobody out. But as fate would have it, a fielder's choice, fly out and ground out would extinguish the threat and set the tone.
"We were in this and every game that we played," said Dues. "We were just a few mistakes away from winning the games that we lost."
For Butler, Jake DeMoss and Preston Tofstad pitched six innings, allowing just one earned run. Junior Braedon Norman came on in the seventh and sat the Comets down with three straight strikeouts.
Junior Karter Peck had a double, while Dolen Fults, Joe Jackson and Braedon Norman each had a hit in the loss.
"The guys battled each and every out," said Dues. "We have to use these games to better ourselves for the remaining games in Ohio."
For Butler, the challenge will not get any easier as an always competitive non-conference and divisional schedule await.
"The GWOC North is going to be a challenge," said Dues. "We would also like to make a good tournament run, so hopefully these heavily contested games will prepare us for that."
Waiting for the Aviators on Monday is a 5:00 PM GWOC North matchup against Piqua at historic Hardman Field.
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - 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. The Comets also come into Friday's game at 2-2, falling to Tunstall by a score of 3-0 on Thursday. You can view the game live by clicking here.
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 puts Butler at 2-1 on the season, and send the Aviators into tomorrow afternoon's game against North Penn (PA) on a high note. First pitch will be at 4:00 PM at Ebbetts Field within the Ripken Complex. Live streaming is available for this game by clicking here.
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - The Butler Baseball team has once again made the annual trip south for spring break baseball. The weeklong trip allows the team an opportunity to play erate climate at the state-of-the-art Ripken Experience facility in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Butler got an early start to the week with a 10:00 AM first pitch at Pelican Ballpark, home to the Chicago Cub Advanced Class A team.
The Aviators overcame an early 4-0 deficit, coming back to hand Wheaton North (Illinois) it's first loss of the year in a 9-6 opening day win over the Falcons.
Butler junior Braedon Norman (1-0) got the start for the Aviators, working four innings, striking out five enroute to the win. Norman was relieved in the fifth inning by freshman Quinton Hall. The lefthander went to work, pitching three innings of scoreless baseball with two strikeouts and surrendered just one hit while picking up the save.
Offensively the Aviators got things going in the third inning, plating four runs to knot the game at 4-4. After falling behind once again 5-4 in the bottom half of the third inning, Butler pulled ahead for good an inning later with a three run fourth inning. Karter Peck added an exclamation point to the inning, hammering out a triple and scoring Joe Jackson from third for a 7-5 lead.
Butler would add an additional two runs in the sixth inning to secure the season opening victory.
Butler will return to action Tuesday evening, facing off against fellow buckeyes Olentangy-Liberty at 6:30 PM.