North Xtra: East Butler returns to fight for county title

Share with others:


Print Email Read Later

Four years ago it would have been impossible for East Butler to be competing in a Butler County Area Legion championship game because there was no East Butler team.

That changed when Steve Armahizer and his dad stepped in.

"We took the team because East Butler didn't have a Legion team," Armahizer said. "The kids enjoy us coaching them and they respond to us.

"I have been managing for two years but had the team for three years. My dad managed the first year. We grew up in East Butler so when we found out there was no team we wanted to bring it back."

The folks in East Butler are glad they did as they will be competing in another county championship game today against Meridian, their third consecutive appearance.

"We are just waiting to see who we play," Armahizer said. "Our bats are really hot right now. From top to bottom we are hitting the ball. It makes it easy on our pitchers when our guys are hitting the ball. It is very contagious."

The only negative for East Butler is the amount of time it has to wait before playing again. In its previous game, East Butler led from start to finish, beating Saxonburg, 19-5, in the winner's bracket final.

East Butler also defeated West Sunbury and Meridian in the first two rounds.

"We have to get beat twice which is nice," Armahizer said. "Our guys definitely deserve to win."

One reason Armahizer believes so strongly in his team is in response to the regular season his team had. They won the regular-season title, going 18-2, a feat Armahizer deems harder than winning a playoff bracket.

"We won the regular season," Armahizer said. "That is tougher than winning the playoff bracket.

"All the teams are really good teams. I do feel if we don't win it is going to be tough but there are still tough teams to play. We beat Meridian and Saxonburg three times. It is tough to beat a team four or five times. If we hit the ball we will be fine."

Hitting the ball has been something East Butler has had no problem doing all season, receiving contributions from top to bottom in the lineup.

"Nice thing about our lineup is the top of the lineup is getting on base a lot," Armahizer said. "The bottom of the lineup is coming through, too. It is nice to see the whole balance of the team hitting.

"It takes a lot off of our pitchers when we score so many runs. It gives them a comfort level when they go out on the mound."

The batters have the ability to choose their comfort level, with players switching between wooden bats and BBCOR bats used during the high school season.

"We have a mix of kids who use wooden bats and others who use the high school bats," Armahizer said. "We are not affiliated with the state Legion league so it is whatever they are comfortable with. I say don't give yourself a disadvantage by using the wooden bats. It is more of a preference."

While that may be an advantage of not being affiliated with the state, it also makes sure that win or lose, East Butler cannot advance past the county tournament.

"We want to go back to the state and move on," Armahizer said. "We got voted down by everyone else. It would be fun to do. We did it in the past. We are not affiliated so it is disappointing.

"I think our boys would be able to compete against the best teams."

As for now, the only thing the boys of East Butler are thinking about is redemption after losing in the county championship last year to Butler City.

"We finished second last year," Armahizer said. "They have a chip on their shoulder to win it because they want to win it again. They want to end on a good note before they move on."


Join the conversation:

Commenting policy | How to report abuse
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Commenting policy | How to report abuse

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here