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Aviators Win District Final In 1-0 Win Over Loveland

MASON - Not only did the Aviators survive and advance - they brought home an 11th District Crown with a nail biting, 1-0 win over an incredibly talented Loveland Tigers team Thursday evening.

"What a defensive slobber knocker," said Butler head coach Trent Dues after the game.

Indeed it was - with the Aviators getting just enough offense in the early going.

Butler (24-6) got things going right out of the gate with junior Hunter Richardson drawing a leadoff walk, followed by line drive shot off of the bat of freshman Koby Dues to put Richardson on third and the Aviators in business.

Junior pitcher Mason Reckner then hammered a hot grounder into left field to plate Richardson for what would prove to be the game winning RBI.

From there Loveland lefty Drew Oerther pitched out of the jam, notching two of what would be a twelve strikeout performance for the sophomore.

On the mound for the Aviators, Reckner (8-1) would grind out what might be his grittiest win of the season, and it was a big one. The trusty right hander went the distance for Butler, walking only two and held Loveland scoreless - a feat that only one other team achieved against them this year.

"Mason threw a heck of a game, going the distance and only walking two," said Dues.

Despite the hard hitting Tigers finding six hits on the night, Reckner and a lights out defensive performance by the Aviators kept Loveland from breaking through in several key moments. In fact the Tigers had base runners in six of the seven innings played - but could not capitalize against the stingy Aviators.

"Our defense was phenomenal today," said Dues. "Koby made some great plays at third, Jackson (Schilling) made a huge pick off throw to first, and Max was Max at shortstop."

Senior Sam Mitchell had an acrobatic catch off of a bleeder from the Tigers Derek Flemming in the bottom of the first, stymieing any hopes of an early Loveland rally.

Dues and shortstop Max Rubins each a number of key plays that could have easily resulted in runs, along with Alex Ables who tracked a pop-fly into no man's land for a clutch out in the bottom of the fifth.

"Alex made a Willie Mays catch out there today," said Dues. "Defense won us a championship today."

An ultimate team win - the Aviators now eye a rematch in the Regional Semi-Final with Archbishop Moeller (27-2) on Thursday, May 30th at 2:00 pm in Oxford, on the campus of Miami University.



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