HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Butler’s Josh Loeschern limited the Aviators to four hits, and Robert Voli hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning as Butler defeated Hasbrouck Heights, 4-2, in the North 1, Group 1 baseball semi-finals.
Butler opened the scoring in the top of the second off stating pitcher Nick Cupo, taking a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs could have had more, but a base running blunder after a leadoff walk, allowed Cupo to work out of a bases loaded, one jam allowing only one run on a sacrifice fly.
The Aviators tied the game in the bottom of the first, as Marcos Ochoa tripled over the right fielder’s head, scoring Remi Sanchez and tying the score at 1-1.
The Bulldogs tacked on a run in the third, with Derek Timpriano leading off with a pop fly double that dropped in centerfield between centerfielder Johnny Capozzi and shortstop Mario Gomez. Loeshcern lined a single to centerfield, but Johnny Capozzi gunned Timpriano out at the plate. Nick Haklios singled to centerfield, putting runners on first and third, with one out, and promptly stole second.
It appeared that the Aviators would escape the inning when Voli grounded to short, but Gomez bobbled the ball, and the Bulldogs had a 2-1 lead.
The Aviators tied the score in the bottom of the fourth, when Travis Culkin led off the inning with a triple. With one out, Spencer Lee walked, putting runners on the corners. Marcos Ochoa hit what should have been a routine double play, but Haklios dropped the ball at first base and Culkin scored the tying run.
Butler took the lead for good in the fifth. Loeschern reached leading off the inning on a ball to the right side that Peter Neumann could not come up. After Haklois bunted him in to scoring position, Voli blasted a ball past the Lee in left field which rolled all the way to the wall for an inside the park home run and 4-2.
Granted a two-run lead, Loeschern settled in, retiring the last nine batters to give Butler the lead.
“It was a great run. “ Hasbrouck Heights head coach Pat Gabriele stated after the game. “This group battled through injuries the entire month of April and showed the type of team that they were with this state tournament run. I couldn’t be any prouder of this group and how hard they worked.”
The Aviators, who entered the state tournament as an 10 seed, finished the season 12-13 overall.
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