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Aviators Outclass Fairmont 3-1 In District Semi-Final

KETTERING - The Aviator Express rolled on Tuesday evening, winning their sixth straight game by handing pitcher Stevie Dooty and the Fairmont Firebirds a 3-1 loss in the District Semi-Final at Kettering High School.

The win put Butler (23-6) in familiar territory, with a 5:00 pm District Final matchup against Loveland (19-8) on Thursday at Mason High School.

The raucous Firebirds jumped out to an early 1-0 lead off of an Asa Dunleavy sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the first inning, further amplifying the jeers from the Fairmont dugout. But while the birds chirped, the poised and patient Aviators would do their talking on the field.

Pitching and defense was stellar for both teams through the next two innings, but in the top of the fourth the Aviators put together a two out rally to knot the game.

Freshman Jackson Schilling (1-for-3, 1 RBI, 2B) and senior Alex Ables (1-for-1) each drew walks, setting up junior Max Rubins who ripped a hard grounder through the infield and sent it careening into left field, scoring pinch runner Luke Stevens for the 1-1 tie.

With an even slate, junior lefty Hunter Richardson (9-0) went back to work mowing down Firebirds, holding Fairmont to just three hits on the day.

“I was missing spots early, and then after those first two innings I was just really focused on throwing strikes, not trying to overpower them too much,” said Richardson. “You can’t miss spots. These guys are going to hit it. I think I did pretty good throwing strikes and getting outs.”

That he did.

In the top of the seventh inning, the Aviators would again rally with two outs as the wheels began falling off for Fairmont. Junior Mason Reckner and senior Austin Flohre (2-for-4) put together back-to-back singles, with Flohre plating pinch runner Landon Case for a 2-1 lead.

"I was able to stay on it, drive it up the middle. I just got enough on it to get it past the middle infield,” said Flohre.

Flohre would score a batter later, courtesy of a wild pitch for a 3-1 lead.

Richardson closed out the victory in the bottom half of the inning, slamming the door on Fairmont's season with a statement strikeout of Gabriel Ledbetter, Richardson's tenth punchout of the game.

“Great, great high school atmosphere,” Butler head coach Trent Dues said. “Probably a little too much chirping went on. But as far as the game was concerned – the game was a great game.”



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