DAYTON - The Aviators post-season mastery over Mason continued Friday afternoon, with a 7-4 win over the Comets in the Regional Semifinal.
“A great win for our program,” said Butler head coach Trent Dues after the milestone victory.
Butler has earned three key wins over Mason since 2012, but none bigger than this as it catapults the Aviators into the Regional Final against Elder.
“We need to re-gather ourselves to be ready for tomorrow,” Dues said.
Quinton Hall (13-1) earned the win for Butler, working 6 2/3 innings with four strikeouts and allowed just two earned runs.
Fellow senior Kaden Echeman provided relief for the final out in the sixth, inducing an inning ending out.
Hall came back on in the seventh to finish what he started - a record thirteenth win for the lefty and a program best twenty-ninth for the Aviators (29-2).
“It was a good win, but at the end of the day we’ve got a game tomorrow,” said the Aviators’ starter Hall.
“We’ve got work to do.”
“Quinton stayed the course, with a little help from Kaden,” said Dues.
Butler got things going early, jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first - highlighted by an RBI double from Carson Clark.
Clark would finish 2-for-2 with two doubles, an RBI and three runs scored.
The Comets cut into the Butler lead to make it 2-1, but Aviators slugger Boston Smith provided a little cushion in the top of the fifth with a clutch RBI double to plate Clark for a 3-1 lead.
Mason pulled back to within one in the bottom half of the fifth inning to keep within striking distance, but the wheels would fall off in the seventh.
The seventh inning has been a big one for Butler in the postseason, netting two incredible comebacks. On this day, it was the seventh where the Aviators would slam the door shut.
After a lead off strikeout, Mason would issue three straight walks and a hit batter to give Butler a 4-2 lead.
Kaden Echeman drove a hard grounder to right field, plating Clark for a 5-2 lead.
Austin Flohre was hit by a pitch to score Smith, making it 6-2. A batter later Bryce Echeman singled to plate Cayden Borchers for a commanding 7-2 lead.
Mason would threaten in the bottom of the seventh, plating two runs with two outs - but a fly out to Borchers sealed it.
“Big hits from Carson, Boston and Kaden today,” said Dues.
“We played solid defense and withstood a few charges from them.”
The Aviators will have a quick turnaround, as they will be back at it Saturday morning at 11:00 am in a rematch with the Panthers.
The two teams met just a few weeks ago at Butler, with the Aviators coming away victorious.
A feat that Butler would love to repeat for a Regional Crown.