VANDALIA -They are baseball's Houdini act. The Vandalia Butler Aviators have
made improbable escapes all season.
The state's No. 5-ranked Division I
baseball team has won more than their share of come-from-behind games and for
better or worse, it seems to suit them.
"We've quickened coach (Trent)
' age and made his hair gray," said shortstop Tyler Koch, smiling. "We
don't give up. It's weird, but we almost play better when we're
Dues, a devout Cincinnati Bengals fan, reluctantly calls his
club the "Kardiac Kids" after the 1980 Cleveland Browns. He has steered his team
to a 22-4 record.
"Now that we're in the tournament, we have to correct
that habit quickly," said Dues, who was named the area's D-I Coach of the Year.
"You don't want to fall behind against the dominant pitchers that we'll face
from here on out."
Butler's Division I Fairborn sectional final game
against Wayne at Xenia was washed out Saturday. The two Greater Western Ohio
Conference rivals will play today at 5 p.m., following the Springfield
North-Beavercreek game at 3 p.m. The Butler-Wayne winner will play Cincinnati
Anderson Friday in the D-1 district at the Cincinnati Midland baseball complex.
The North-Beavercreek winner will play Cincinnati St. Xavier
Earlier in the season, Butler rallied from a 3-1 deficit to
dispatch Wayne, 10-3. The comeback kids also overcame deficits to win against
Hamilton, Centerville, Troy, Springfield North, Piqua, Centerville, Graham and
"This team knows how to win," Dues said. "They never
seem to be out of it. We've got a bunch of players, one through nine in the
lineup, who want to be at the plate when the game is on the
"They're very competitive and that's always a good thing. Clutch
hitting is what distinguishes this bunch."
Under Dues, the Aviators have
set the gold standard in the defunct Greater Miami Valley Conference and now the
GWOC West, winning eight straight titles.
The tradition-rich Aviators
went 12-1 in the conference this spring.
"We don't want to be the first
team to end that streak," said senior Ryan Radominski. "That would be miserable.
So keeping that string alive is what drives us and is something the coaches
Pivoting the attack are Koch (a team-high .472), Radominski (34
RBIs and a .663 slugging percentage), leadoff hitter David Posma (.372), Will
Gibson (.392), Brent Collinsworth (.379) and Matt Gordon (.296). The Aviators
boast a team batting average of .334 and average seven runs a game.
there was a Most Improved Hitter in the area, Radominski would be one of the
Last season, Dues often had a designated hitter for
him because of his porous .180 batting average. Radominski has reinvented
himself at the plate, hitting .420, leading the team in RBIs and producing 12
Radominski, a center fielder, and catcher Ben Hughes anchor the
defense up the middle.
Ethan Furlong leads the pitching staff with an 8-0
record and a 2.70 earned-run average.
The crafty right-hander keeps
batters off balance with his location and effective breaking
Supporting him are Gordon (3-1, 2.10) and Josh Bell (5-0,
Contact Ron Jackson at (513) 932-6785 or email@example.com
Copyright, 2003, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.
Copyright, 2003, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights