6-run fifth inning lifts Butler to section win
The hit seemed innocent enough. It proved deadly.
Nick Bole began a six-run Butler rally with a two-out pinch-hit single up the middle in the fifth inning Saturday at Pullman Park.
The rally proved to be the difference in the Golden Tornado's 12-6 victory over North Hills in a mutual section baseball opener.
Bole was facing an 0-2 count with two outs and the bases empty when he bounced his single into center field. Butler was clinging to a 6-5 lead at the time, having surrendered a bases-loaded triple to Jesse Bauer in the top of the inning.
"You never know when the runs are gonna come," Butler coach Dave Florie said.
Following Bole's single, Tanner Master reached on an errant throw in the infield. Both runners moved up on a passed ball and scored on Cody Herald's single to center.
Dustin Uhlman followed with a line-drive single to left, the ball skipping off the left fielder's glove and rolling to the fence, allowing Herald to score. John Crummy reached on an infield single, Uhlman scoring when the throw went wide of first.
Evan Oswald's infield single was followed by Ryan Fennell's fly ball to deep right, which was dropped for a three-base error.
North Hills committed seven errors in two innings. The first three Tornado hitters reached on errors to begin a five-run fourth inning.
"They put the ball in play today and we didn't field it," North Hills coach Nate Buttenfield said. "This was not a typical game for us. Not at all.
"In our first four games (all victories), we committed one or two errors total."
Butler put together 12 hits and added three walks, filling the bases with runners all day. The Indians never retired the Tornado in order.
Jake Ulizzi started for North Hills and was taken out following a two-run Uhlman double in the fourth. Uhlman went 4-for-4 at the plate. Bauer pitched the rest of the way.
"We put the ball in play against a couple of pretty good pitchers," Florie said. "That was good to see. But we didn't have a great fielding day ourselves.
"We got away with some errors today. But they can't continue."
Butler committed a pair of fielding errors and misplayed a few other chances.
The first three batters in Butler's lineup Master, Herald and Uhlman scored seven runs and knocked in five.
Matt Monnie started on the mound for Butler and pitched into the seventh inning. He struck out eight.
"Matt hung tough today," Florie said. "He worked out of trouble a few times."
Bauer had a triple, single and three RBI to lead the Indians. He was at third base as the tying run with one out in the fifth, but Monnie struck out Anthony Valeriano and Nick Baker to escape with the lead.
The Tornado's six-run inning followed.
"If we field the ball, this is a different game," Buttenfield said. "But we didn't do it. Hopefully, we will the next time.
"We expect to contend in this section. So does Butler and everybody else. Every team in our league should be pretty good."
North Hills 011 030 16 9 7
Butler 001 560 x 12 12 2
WP: Matt Monnie (6 IP) 8 strikeouts, 2 walks. LP: Jake Ulizzi (3 IP) 2 strikeouts, 4 walks
North Hills (4-1, 0-1): Scott Zubik 1B 3-R, Joel Leviere 1B, Jesse Bauer 3B 1B 3-RBI, Anthony Valeriano 1B RBI, Nick Baker 2B, Taylor Schmidt 1B, Brandon Pritchard 1B, Danny DiMattio RBI, Zac Gall 1B
Butler (6-2, 1-0): Tanner Master 2-R RBI, Cody Herald 2-1B 2-RBI 3-R, Dustin Uhlman 2B 3-1B 2-RBI 2-R, John Crummy 2-1B RBI, Evan Oswald 1B, Ryan Fennell 1B RBI, David Schmidt 1B, Nick Bole 1B