Prep baseball: Butts' patience is more than virtue for Williamsport

May 17, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI |
  • Williamsport's Ryan Boward delivers a pitch to South Carroll during his four innings of stellar relief on Thursday in the Wildcats' 5-3 victory.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — Ryan Butts was the right hitter in the right situation for the Williamsport baseball team on Thursday.

But, as it turned out, he was a better watcher.

Butts drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded in the seventh inning to bring home the winning run in the Wildcats’ 5-4 victory over South Carroll in a Maryland Class 2A West semifinal.

Ball four was a dramatic, yet anticlimactic, end to a game the Wildcats should have won in the top of the seventh. After the Cavaliers scored two runs in the top of the inning, Williamsport loaded the bases, setting the stage for Butts.

“We have been saying, it hasn’t been about style points or being pretty,” Williamsport coach David Warrenfeltz said. “It’s about getting to play tomorrow.”

And the Wildcats will do just that.

Williamsport will travel to meet Century today at 4:30 p.m. for the West title and the right to advance to the 2A final four.

The Wildcats led most of the game until South Carroll scored twice in the seventh to knot the game at 4.

Williamsport went to work quickly though as Tyler Nally greeted Cavaliers reliever Nick Novinsky with a double to the fence in left-center field. Brandon Greene followed by drawing a walk and Tyler Butts was awarded a one-out intentional pass to bring Butts up with the bases loaded.

He was in a situation when everything screamed “swing the bat.” Instead, Butts chose patience.

“I just wanted to go up there and find a good pitch to hit for a sacrifice fly,” Butts said. “I wanted him to bring it to me. I was so pumped, but I wanted to be so patient.”

Novinsky missed the strike zone and it changed everything for the Wildcats.

“We were getting better hitting approaches at the end of the game,” Warrenfeltz said. “When he got to 2-0, we knew the next one had to be down the middle of the plate. When he got to 3-0, he was taking all the way.

“At that point, we had a senior at the plate and we have all the faith in the world in Ryan. All five of the hitters we had up that inning were seniors.”

The Wildcats held a 4-2 lead heading into the seventh behind a stellar relief performance by Ryan Boward. Boward came off the bench cold to replace starter Nick Sauble, who left the game after taking a line shot off his left ankle.

Boward had allowed two hits over four innings before Nick Bullock ripped a two-out double to center. It would have — and should have — been harmless, but ...

South Carroll’s Matt Connelly hit a pop up in front of the plate. No one took charge on Williamsport’s defense, forcing Butts to take a last-second swipe at catching the ball that failed.

With runners on second and third, Donovan Punte hit a two-run single to right to tie the game.

Byers replaced Boward and got Todd Tackett to popup to end the inning with the go-ahead run at third.

“Ryan did a great job and it was a tough decision to take him out with two outs and two on, but he battled,” Warrenfeltz said.

Williamsport took a 3-0 lead in the first as Nally led off with a single against South Carroll starter Daniel White and scored on Greene’s double to center. Zach Lucas followed by clearing the bases with his home run to right.

The Cavaliers got two runs back in the second on an RBI double by Broc Bowers and a run-scoring single by White against Sauble to cut the deficit to 3-2.

From there, the pitching took over until Williamsport picked up a run in the sixth when Lucas led off with a double and eventually scored from second when Butts was safe on a sacrifice bunt when first baseman Tackett couldn’t handle the throw.

Nally finished with three hits, while Lucas added two as the Wildcats move on, playing in memory of teammate Brendon Colliflower, who died recently in a car crash.

“A lot of things have been put in perspective for us this year,” Warrenfeltz said. “We are at a point where we enjoy being together and want to play the game well. We are doing all we can to keep this season alive.”

Williamsport 5, South Carroll 4
South Carroll    020    000    2    —    4    7    1
Williamsport    300    000    1    —    5    7    1
White, Reilly (6), Novinsky (7) and Bowers; Sauble, Boward (3), T. Byers (7) and Butts. WP — T. Byers. LP — Novinsky. HR — W: Lucas (1st, one on).

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