CENTERVILLE — The seventh seeded Beavercreek Beavers had No. 1 seed Vandalia Butler on the brink of defeat, only to see the Aviators rally in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 2-1 win, May 18 in the Division I Dayton 3 bracket sectional championship game at Centerville High School.
With one out and the bases loaded, Butler’s Joe Jackson hit a deep fly ball into centerfield to score Preston Tofstad with the game-winning run. Jackson was then mobbed by his fellow Aviators on the Elks Field infield, as the Beavercreek players slowly walked off.
“How many innings did we play? Eight? It felt like 20!” Butler coach Trent Dues said after the game. “Wow. We got down, but we didn’t lose our composure, and we got through there. That last inning, we forced some mistakes. We got aggressive with our base running and forced some mistakes.
“You’ve gotta give kudos to (pitchers Braedon) Norman and (Tyler) Burley. Holy Cow! Whatta game! Our defense played great, we didn’t hit much — thank god there’s a pitch count. Joe Jackson did a great job of putting the ball deep out there. I don’t think we had more than a couple hits.”
The Beavers led 1-0 after 7 1/2 innings of play, when Beavercreek starting pitcher Brandon DeWitt singled to center then scored on senior Corey Jordison’s triple to left field.
DeWitt limited the top-seeded Aviators to a Damon Dues first-inning single and Nathan Stogdill’s third inning double, through seven innings of play, but after recording eight strikeouts, to go with four walks, he’d reached the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s mandated 125-pitch limit and went out after walking Vandalia’s lead-off batter, Braedon Norman, in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Norman got to second on an infield groundout, scurried to third on a passed ball, then scored the tying run when the Beavercreek third baseman’s force play throw home bounced off catcher Drew Dillon’s chest protector and was wide left of home plate.
The Beavers intentionally walked Butler clean-up hitter Matt Grossman to load the bases, then Jackson hit his deep fly ball to win it.
“All losses are tough, but to end the season like that, it’s really tough. That’s baseball,” Beavercreek coach Brandon Long said. “We had them right where we wanted them, at the end. Had the runner on third dead to rights at home plate …. just didn’t make the play. Its a killer.”
Long had a good talk with his players out in right field before the Beavers left the field.
“I told them I was proud of them. Our four seniors (Chris Krusemark, Brandon Harroff, Corey Jordison and Treyben Funderburg) carried the torch, as we say. They carried on that winning tradition that we’ve developed. They were a big reason for our success this season. … They’re the type of men who are welcome in my house any time.
“A lot of people thought that we’d lost too much to be able to come back and win the division this year, and we did. I’m really proud of those guys.”
Beavercreek won the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s National East division with an 8-4 league mark. The Beavers finished 17-8 overall.
Butler (15-4) now heads to Cincinnati Western Hills High School to take on the Cincinnati 5 bracket sectional champion Fairfield Indians for a 1:30 p.m. Saturday May 20 District title game.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123