HURLEY — In dominating fashion, Hurley blitzed Butternut 17-4 and 18-4 as Hurley's hitting attack came to life with 35 runs and 35 hits.
Game 1 — Hurley 17, Butternut 4
The strangest part of the first game of the doubleheader was that Butternut took a 3-0 lead after one inning.
Butternut's Riley Christian was safe on an error, Ryan Prellwitz walked and Steven Scherwinski hit a frozen rope single to right field. Christian tried to score from second base but was gunned down on a strong throw from right-fielder Mike Saari. But power-hitting Gabe Miebauer blasted a triple that plated two runs and he later scored on a base hit.
"We did not have a good start again," Hurley manager Aaron Bender said. "It was a good thing we didn't let the error affect us mentally."
Hurley starting pitcher Brad Vaara admitted he was rusty from throwing only one inning all season and that was in a scrimmage.
"I had to get into the game," Vaara said. "But I felt good and my arm felt good and our bats came alive. I pretty much threw fastballs and mixed in a curve about every third pitch. I threw my change-up about five times."
Vaara settled down and only gave up one run the rest of the way. And Bender was happy with his performance.
"Brad Vaara threw strikes and that's what we need," Bender said. "We'll take that anytime. And his curveball came around."
And then Hurley started swinging the lumber. In the second inning, Hurley sent 14 players to the plate. The inning started with a double from Grant Innes and four straight singles by Steven Chavers, Cole Huotari, Mike Saari and Vaara. Beau Shafer walked and Cole Kivisto drove a triple in the gap in right-center field and came home on a poor throw from the outfield. Roman Lupino continued the hitting assault with another base hit, P.J. Lipske and Innes followed with singles and Huotari finished off the hit parade with an RBI single.
When it was over, Hurley had scored 10 runs on 10 hits.
Hurley struck again in the third inning as five more runs crossed the plate. Kivisto, Lupino, Chavers, Huotari and Saari punched out hits and the Hurley Midgets went up 15-3.
Hurley added two more runs in the fourth inning highlighted by a triple by Lupino and a double by Vaara.
"We hit the ball very well and that was nice to see," Bender said. "We keyed in on hitting fastballs and it paid off with a lot of runs."
Butternut coach Troy Scherwinski said it was only a matter of time before Hurley started hitting.
"We got the lead and then we went flat," he said. "They came out of their shell after the first inning and hit the ball hard."
Indianhead Conference doubleheaders are five-innings this season and Hurley didn't need to bat in the last inning.
Hurley pounded out 18 hits in the contest. Huotari was perfect at the plate, going 3-3 and Lupino and Kivisto went 3 for 4 and Kivisto slammed three triples. Lupino scored three times. Innes, Chavers, Saari and Vaara all had two hits apiece.
Vaara picked up the win, giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits. He walked three batters and whiffed eight batters.
Butternut 3 0 0 0 1 — 4 5 2
Hurley 0 (10) 5 2 x — 17 18 2
Game 2 — Hurley 18, Butternut 4
If Hurley fans liked the first game, the second game of the doubleheader was just as much fun. That's because the Hurley bats were booming again and the score was almost identical with Hurley drubbing Butternut 18-4.
This time it was Hurley that jumped out to an early lead. Cole Huotari moved up to No. 2 in the batting order and he punched a single in the first inning, while Kivisto followed with another triple. Lupino was safe on an infield hit and Vaara, Lipske and Innes laced three straight singles. Chavers drew a walk and Saari lifted a fly ball to the outfield that was dropped by centerfielder.
Hurley jumped out to a 6-0 first inning lead and you could almost feel the air go out of Butternut's balloon.
"That's a good team and they are coming on," Scherwinski said. "They're going to be tough. Plain and simple, they just played better than us."
P.J. Lipske started for Hurley and when he's on, he can be a real good pitcher for the Midgets. But in the second inning, Butternut score four runs on no hits, a sacrifice fly, an error and four walks.
"Their four runs in the second inning came from walks, pitching errors and passed balls," Bender said. "It allows teams to climb back into the game. Minus the second inning, P.J.'s pitching was very good, because he was throwing strikes."
But Hurley's scoring binge continued in the second inning. The Hurley Midgets came up with four runs on only two hits. Runs were scored by walks, passed balls and errors.
Hurley was up on the Butternut Midgets 10-2 after two innings.
The floodgates opened up in the fourth inning as seven more runs crossed the plate for Hurley. Innes connected on a single and came all the way around to score on a wild pitch. Chavers, Vaara and Lupino walked and Saari, Shafer, Huotari and Kivisto singled. Lipske had a big 2-RBI double to give Hurley a nearly insurmountable 18-4 advantage.
The game ended in the fourth inning when the Butternut pitcher was hit by a batted ball that he said he did not see. The game was called because of darkness.
Bender was happy with the day's results and was looking forward to keeping the momentum going. Hurley is 2-4.
"We're playing better and we need to do that all the time," Bender said. "Our hitting was very good tonight and hopefully things will continue to get better from here. We'll find out tomorrow (today) at Mellen (4 p.m.).”
Hurley rapped out 17 hits led by Vaara's three-hit day. Huotari, Lipske, Innes, Chavers, Saari and Kivisto all had two hits in the game.
Lipske was the winning pitcher and allowed only two hits.
Kivisto had an excellent all-around doubleheader as he had five hits in seven at-bats and flashed the leather defensively from his shortstop position.
"I've been a shortstop since Little League and I feel comfortable there," Kivisto said. "We're gaining chemistry with all the young guys on the team and should do well in the tournament. We need to play good, pitch strikes, get outs and get the hits."
Hurley 6 4 1 7 — 18 17 1
Butternut 0 4 0 0 — 4 2 3