VANDALIA - The Aviators’ turf field wasn’t just a luxury on Saturday afternoon, it was an absolute necessity. With several days of torrential rain wiping out Opening Day across the Miami Valley, the Aviators’ turf and varsity baseball team scored a key win to open the 2023 season.
Down late to a formidable foe in West Clermont, the Aviators rallied in the sixth and seventh innings to earn a dramatic 5-4 win over the Wolves in dramatic fashion.
Nathan Taylor (University of Cincinnati Commit) and Zach Swartz (West Virginia Commit) showed why they are both DI recruits, as they held Butler to just two hits while racking up six strikeouts through 4 1/3 innings of work.
The opportunistic and stout Wolves lineup took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning and appeared to blow the game wide open in the top of the fifth with three additional runs for a commanding 4-0 lead.
The breakthrough for the Aviators came in the bottom frame of the sixth inning and at the expense of West Clermont’s Kaiden Lewis, who was on the wrong end of the offensive awakening. Butler would plate four runs off five hits, knotting the game at 4-4 heading into the seventh inning.
Butler head coach Trent Dues called on the lefty Hunter Richardson (1-0) to take the hill in relief. The trusty sophomore didn’t disappoint, holding the Wolves hitless, while striking out two.
Richardson (2-for-4, 1R, 2RBI) would deliver once again in the bottom half of the inning from the plate. After back-to-back singles by fellow sophomores Max Rubins (2-for-3) and Rus Stratman, Richardson ripped a game winning double to the fence in right-center for the walk-off win.
Offensively Austin Florhe (3-for3, 1R), Sam Mitchell (1-for1, 1R, 1 RBI) and Alex Ables (1-for-2, 1RBI) were also in the mix for the Aviators.
Butler got solid pitching from the mound from starter Jordan Taylor (2 IP, 2K) and relievers Mason Reckner (2.1 IP, 1K) and Evan Ables (1.2 IP, 2K).
The Aviators return to action on Monday, hosting Piqua in game one of a key divisional series with the Indians. First pitch is set for 5:00 pm.