Under his thumb
Butler pitcher holds down Titans for victory


By John Enrietto
Eagle Sports Editor


BUTLER TWP Get it down and keep it down.
That philosophy worked wonders for
Butler pitcher Brian Warheit Tuesday afternoon at Highfield Park.
Warheit threw 101 pitches 76 for strikes and induced 10 ground outs as the Golden Tornado defeated Shaler, 4-2, in a mutual section baseball opener.
The final out of the game, a fly out to right fielder Brandon Johnston, marked the only putout by a
Butler outfielder all day.
"I usually throw most of my pitches for strikes,"Warheit said. "When I pitched at
Mt. Lebanon the other day, I threw 90 percent strikes, but I was leaving my pitches up and they were hitting them.
"Today, I wanted to keep the ball down in the strike zone and get them to beat the ball into the ground."
By the time Shaler dented the scoreboard in the sixth inning,
Butler had a 3-0 lead.
"We usually hit the ball better than we did today,"Shaler coach Bob Hinds said. "We usually catch it better, too."
The Titans committed three errors Tuesday.
Butler's first batter, Darren Blakley, reached on an infield throwing error in the first inning. Aaron Ordy singled him to second.
Adam Miller tried bunting the runners over and catcher Taylor Juran tried nailing Blakley at third on the play. His throw was late and the bases were loaded.
Jim McCaslin grounded into a double play as Blakley scored. McCaslin upped the Tornado lead to 2-0 when he hit a slow curve ball over the left field fence in the fourth.
"That was a big hit because you always play more relaxed with a two-run lead than a one-run lead,"
Butler coach Dave Florie said.
Butler manufactured a run in both the fifth and sixth innings. Blakley reached on a bunt single to open the fifth, stole second, was bunted to third by Ordy and scored on Miller's bloop single to right.
Rob Cochran walked to begin the sixth, was bunted to second by
Johnston and scored on Joe Black's single to center.
"It takes good pitching, good defense and timely hitting to win baseball games,"Florie said. "Today, we had all three."
Shaler's bench produced a pair of RBI. Pinch-hitter Eric Temple drove in a run with a ground ball in the sixth and pinch-hitter Jon Grubic delivered a run-scoring single in the seventh.
Warheit was never flustered.

 

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Butler picther Brain Warheit struck out seven Shaler Titans in six innings and earned the victory in the Tornado's 4-2 win Tuesday.
DAVE PRELOSKY/BUTLER EAGLE

The Titans might have crept closer in the sixth, but third baseman Miller made a diving catch on Matt Tobin's line drive for the final out of the frame. The catch prevented another run from scoring and the tying run from getting into scoring position.
"We're a better team fundamentally this year and our defense has improved,"Warheit said. "That's making life easier on our pitchers."
Butler already has won more games than all of last season and is off to a positive start in section play.
All of that means nothing to Florie.
"I'm trying to keep these kids on an even keel,"he said. "We have a long way to go. The first half of the section season, you just want to win your share and hang around.
"The second half of the season are the pressure games. Those are the ones you have to win."

Shaler 000 001 12 6 3
Butler 100 111 x4 7 1
WP:
Brian Warheit (7 IP) 6 strikeouts, 1 walk. LP: Joe Lombardo (6 IP) 3 strikeouts, 3 walks
Shaler (2-4, 0-1): Troy Handza 1B, Tom Carter 2-1B,
Eric Temple RBI, Matt Tobin 1B, Garrett Henzler 2B, Jon Grubic 1BRBI
Butler (4-2, 1-