VANDALIA - The Aviators were poised for another big year in 2020, only to see the season and dreams of what might have been wiped out by COVID-19. With baseball fields around the country sitting empty all spring, seniors watched their final year of high school baseball fade away. As restrictions began to lift in the early summer and organized sports again got the green light to resume, an idea took flight.
Butler coach Trent Dues organized an exhibition game, pitting the 2020 Varsity Aviators against a team compiled of Butler Baseball Alumni. The idea came to fruition Wednesday evening, with the seniors being honored prior to the game and the Butler Varsity coming from behind late to edge the Alumni 12-7.
As expected with the Aviators' tradition rich history, the Alumni team was loaded with talent that spanned five decades. After falling behind 2-0 early, the Alumni rallied to tie the game, eventually holding a 7-5 lead into the 6th inning. The Varsity Aviators however would not be denied, rallying late for the 12-7 win.
"What a great night," said Dues after the game.
"As a coach of these great young men, I could not have been prouder - my heart is full."
The large crowd was treated to perfect weather, a great game, and perhaps maybe even a little bit of closure for a season that never was.