CLAYTON — Northmont took a 2-0 lead vs. Vandalia-Butler in Senior ACME baseball action Thursday evening but the Aviators rallied with three runs in the 4th inning and five runs in the 5th to rout the Thunderbolts 8-2.
Vandalia improved to 3-2 overall. The Aviators defeated Troy, split a doubleheader with Bellefontaine, lost to Newton before defeating Northmont. The Thunderbolts fell to 1-5 overall.
Noah Dodd picked up the victory on the mound for Butler. He pitched 7 innings, gave up seven hits, walked one, hit one batter and struck out six.
The Bolts got a lead-off single to right by Vince Sarno in the bottom of the 3rd inning followed by another single to right by James McKinney. With one out Chase Bickel got hit by a pitch to load the bases. A dropped fly ball on an attempted diving catch in center allowed Sarno and McKinney to score to put Northmont up 2-0.
Butler answered with three runs in the top of the 4th. Byron Greaser got hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a single by Cameron Tuttle. Alex Joynes drew a walk to load the bases and Charlie Dent singled to center to score Greaser and Tuttle. Joynes stole third and scored when the throw sailed into left field to give the Aviators a 3-2 lead.
The Aviators put the game away in the top of the 5th inning with some base running tactics that drew ill-advised throws by Northmont’s catcher. Collin Shindele reached first on an error and advanced to second on a wild pickoff throw. Matt Penewit legged out an infield hit with Shindele advancing to third. Zach Fults singled to right center to score Shindele and Greaser reached on an error that allowed Penewit to race home with Butler’s fifth run. Tuttle lofted a sacrifice fly to left to score Fults and Alex Joynes reached on another Northmont fielding error. Joynes stole second which drew a throw by Northmont catcher Will Miller that enabled Greaser to score from third. Dent singled to advance Joynes to third and Dent also stole second drawing another throw that enabled Joynes to score for an 8-2 lead.
“Base running was key tonight,” said Vandalia Coach Spencer Sarsgard. “They just kept letting us do it and our base runners just kept taking advantage of it. The game before that is what happened to us so it was sort of nice for us to have that taste out of our mouth.”
Three fielding errors and poor judgement on defense proved costly for the Thunderbolts.
“Butler has a lot of young players and three freshmen played for them in the outfield tonight. They are fast,” noted Northmont Coach Gerald Rosendahl. “We hurt ourselves. We had two routine plays at third that didn’t get made and a number of potential outs at second where tags weren’t made with the throws through. Never mind the guy coming home, get me the out at second. We just are not playing the quality Northmont baseball that I am used to seeing the last 20 years.”
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind