DAYTON - Vandalia Butler didn't have much coming back from the baseball team
that advanced to the regional semifinals last season. But the Aviators were
strong in at least one area - pitching.
"The pitchers carried the team in
summer ball," said Butler senior Zac Gueth after the Aviators defeated
Chaminade-Julienne 8-2 and 7-4 in a doubleheader Saturday at Patterson Park.
"They're used to the pressure. What we do as hitters is try to get a couple
That's been the formula for Butler (10-4), which was the last
Division I team from the Miami Valley alive in the 2003 state tournament.
Although that squad, which went 25-5, doesn't much resemble this year's team -
only two position starters return - there are similarities on the mound, where
the starting staff features three seniors and two juniors.
that pitching, we had a shaky start," senior Matt Gordon said. "We lost a couple
games we should've won, but we knew we were in good shape with the pitching we
Even though the Aviators' arms kept in shape during the offseason,
summer ball produced a snag for the Butler rotation. Ethan Furlong, the senior
ace, broke his right elbow throwing a pitch in a summer game. Doctors had to
insert a metal rod for stability, and Furlong was given a choice before the
season: pitch with the rod in and risk injury, or take the rod out and rehab, a
"He chose to keep the rod in and felt very good early
in the spring," Butler coach Trent Dues
said. "He pitched two complete
games with no problem. Then, there was a problem."
Furlong, 10-1 last
season, started Butler's 6-4 loss to Springfield North on Wednesday. During the
first inning, pain set in and his season was over.
Hurlers Josh Bell,
Derrick Spieles, Gordon, Brent Collinsworth and Derek Koogler have combined to
pick up the slack. Spieles (2-0) pitched a complete game in the first win
Saturday, and Koogler (1-0) went the distance in the second. Collinsworth held
Fairmont, the No. 5 team in the Miami Valley Baseball Coaches Association Poll,
to three runs on four hits in a 14-3 win Friday night.
Even in Butler's
losses - 8-7 to Cuyahoga Falls, last season's state runner-up, 4-1 to Hamilton
and 9-7 to Hilliard Davidson - pitching has kept games close.
our pitching has saved us in a lot of games," said Spieles, who homered in the
second game Saturday. "We're not thinking about who we have or who we don't
have. We're just trying to win."
Contact Kyle Nagel at 225-7389.
Copyright, 2004, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.
Copyright, 2004, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights