VANDALIA - If the Aviators came into the season with a target on their backs, it's fair to say that they wear it well.
Butler (8-1,5-0) and Sidney (6-3,5-2) squared off in a clash of division leaders, but it was the Aviators who came away victorious - and in convincing fashion. Butler not only swept the Yellow Jackets, but did so in back-to-back shut outs - taking both games in the doubleheader 7-0 and 11-0.
"Sidney has some guys that can swing it", said Butler skipper Trent Dues after the game. "For Evan, Alex, Hunter and Jordan to keep them scoreless less for thirteen innings is some quality pitching."
In game one - junior Evan Ables (1-1) was impressive from the mound, as he stymied Sidney through five innings of work, allowing just three hits while punching out nine.
Alex James came on and slammed the door shut for Butler, pitching two solid innings of relief to close out the win. James finished with three strikeouts and just one hit allowed.
Gage Harestad was 3-for-4 with an RBI, Jayden Watkins was 2-for-4 with two RBI, as was Joe Mendy. Cason Bennett added two runs and an RBI, Hunter Richardson added two runs. Mitch Thomas and Max Rubins also crossed the plate for the Aviators.
Luke Mitchell doubled in the key win for Butler.
In the second game of the evening, starting pitcher Hunter Richardson (3-0) had another dominating outing, baffling the Sidney hitters through four strong innings. Richardson struck out four and allowed just three hits.
Alex James again came on in relief, and like Game 1 was electric - striking out two. Jordan Taylor put the game on ice, working the final inning in commanding fashion, with two strikeouts.
Richardson helped his own cause from the plate, finishing the day 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Jayden Watkins had another strong game at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI.
Cason Bennet and Gage Harestad each added two RBI, while Joe Mendy added an RBI of his own.
Bennett, Watkins and Harestad each doubled in the blowout win.
"Hunter, Jayden, Cason, Gage, Joe and Luke had some big hits for us, and played solid defense", said Dues. "Gage and Josh did a really nice job behind the plate".
Next up for Butler is another key match-up - this time at Troy (7-1, 5-0) on Friday at 5:00 pm.