America's Newspapers
Paper: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Date: April 29, 2003

VANDALIA - The team's mantra is a little bold: "Mess with the best, Lose like the rest."

But the Vandalia Butler High School baseball team backs it up. In fact, school officials will probably have to clear out the trophy case soon. More championship hardware is on the way.

The Aviators improved to 8-0 (16-2 overall) in the Western Division of the Greater Western Ohio Conference East with a convincing 10-3 win over visiting Wayne, frontrunners in the GWOC East, before a crowd of nearly 200. Riding an eight-game winning streak, the Aviators have a commanding three-game lead with five league games left.

If Butler keeps winning this week, it will be rewarded with a coveted high seed in the Division I tournament drawing Sunday.

"We're rolling and things are going right for us now," said Butler coach Trent Dues, who has steered his program to seven consecutive league titles. "Offensively, we have threats from the leadoff spot to No. 9. We don't have an pitching ace that will turn the scouts' heads, but we have four guys giving us solid starting pitching."

Junior Ethan Furlong pitched his fifth complete game and improved to 5-0, scattering five hits. He was the beneficiary of an 11-hit attack.

"With our hard-hitting lineup, I don't feel like I have to pitch a shutout," Furlong said. "They give me great support. Against Wayne, I just had to paint the corners, pitch carefully and work my spots. They're a dangerous, fastball-hitting team."

Furlong left an impression on the Warriors, who slip to 16-2 and 5-2 in the conference.

"We had a disappointing day at the plate against him," said shortstop Nathan Stevens. "He didn't throw any straight stuff. He kept us off balance with off-speed pitches and really messed us up with that slider."

Down 3-0, Butler sent nine players to the plate in both the third and fourth innings, scoring five and three runs respectively, opening up an 8-3 advantage. Sophomore Brent Collinsworth (.400) ignited things with a two-run double off the top of the 35-foot right-field fence.

Ryan Radominski paced the outburst, going 4 for 4 with three RBIs and added some stellar glovework in center field. Tyler Koch, the team's hottest hitter at .490, went 2 for 3. Will Gibson went 2 for 3 and tied the school record for doubles in a single season with 12.

"This was a big, quality win for us," Radominski said. "We fell behind 3-0, but we're confident our hitting will come through. We have a balanced team and we're getting it done in all the phases - hitting, fielding, pitching and on the bases."

Butler hosts Beavercreek on Thursday and Piqua on Friday and travels to Springfield South on Wednesday.

Contact Ron Jackson at (513) 932-6785 or

Copyright, 2003, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.

Author: Ron Jackson Dayton Daily News
Section: SPORTS
Page: C3
Copyright, 2003, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.