Sectional Championship baseball

Athenians breakthrough for first sectional title since 2013


DANVILLE ­­— The history of Crawfordsville baseball is fueled by winning. All of the accolades, all of the Sagamore Conference titles, but since 2013 the program had yet to get back to hoisting a sectional title. That drought and the black cloud hanging over the Athenians for over a decade is now over. Crawfordsville handily defeated Western Boone 9-1 in the championship game of the Class 3A Sectional 25 tournament Monday afternoon and the win was extra sweet for CHS due to the Stars being the only two Sagamore Conference defeats Crawfordsville had all season en route to their out-right SAC title.

“This is a sweet moment for these players and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Crawfordsville baseball coach Brett Motz said. “As coaches we always say we want to be playing our best baseball at this point in the season and we can certainly say that we are doing just that. This group has embraced that message and done above and beyond what our coaching staff has asked of them to allow this to happen. We have four outstanding seniors who continue to push the envelope for all these younger guys to what it takes to be a great Athenian baseball player.”

After defeating Tri-West 10-0 in Thursday’s semi-final, the Athenians red hot bats came ready to play once again against Stars ace Bryce Kopriva. Wyatt Motz singled and then Bryce Dowell doubled him home and three batters in, CHS held a 1-0 lead.

The Stars had their own answer going up against Purdue commit Kale Wemer. Gavin Hawkins led off with a single and stole second and Quinn Westerfeld drove him in to even the game at 1-1 after an inning. That’s all the scoring that the Stars would do with Wemer and the Athenian defense making play after play the rest of the way.

Crawfordsville (18-12) took the lead for good in the third Jude Coursey began the inning with a single and with two outs it was up to sophomore catcher Matt Miller with Coursey at second base. Miller delivered an RBI single and thanks to a Stars error, Miller’s courtesy runner Cohen McClamroch scored on a ball that would have ended the inning.

Fast forward the final two innings and Mason McCarty cored Kaden Patton with an RBI single to make it 4-1. The Athenian offense saved their best inning for last when they sent 11 to the plate and scored five runs with three doubles and four walks to put the nail in the coffin.

The play that won the Athenians the title was a ground ball to Coursey who fired on over to Dowell and it celebration time for Crawfordsville.

“This has been a long time coming,” Dowell said of the championship victory. “We’ve been so close multiple times and now we finally did it. Being able to catch the final out, it made it feel like all the late hours after practice, all the off-season work, and everything we’ve put into this season worth it. What I love about this team is that everyone can hit the ball and we’ve proven that the last two games. All of these guys are high quality players and when we are hitting like this it’s such a great thing to be apart of .”

Wemer on the mound finished the game throwing all seven innings. He gave up six hits and just the first inning run. He walked just one and struck out nine. The second K of the game put the senior hurler at the century mark for strikeouts on the season as he finished with 107 and will look to add to that total in the Regional. Wemer also was on base three out of the four times at the plate. He arguably had the biggest hit in that five-run seventh lacing a 2RBI double. After leading his team to a sectional title, Wemer took some time to note how special the accomplishment was.

“The biggest think coming into this game for me was that was my only loss in conference,” Wemer said. “They took that away from me so I came in here ready to shut them down. Our offense continued to be electric and as a pitcher when you’re able to have an offense like we have, it makes me feel that much better on the mound. Our overall energy is phenomenal right now. I love every single guy on this team and to get this sectional title means the world to me and everyone on this team. The job isn’t finished however now. We know we can make a run and that’s what we hope to do.”

The Athenians scored their nine runs on 12 hits as every single player 1-9 in the batting order recorded a hit. More impressively five of those 12 hits were doubles. Cville’s defense continued to shine as well with Coursey and Motz making difficult plays look routine at shortstop and third.

“There’s been times this year where I’ve been standing over at third base not confident that we’d get a hit with some guys up,” Motz said. “Now I have the up-most confidence in every single one of these guys who step in the batters box that they’ll get the job done. We’re are getting hot at the right time. What we’re doing right now is so much fun to watch. It takes everyone coming together and playing as one to win a sectional title and now these group of guys can say they accomplished something special.”

Western Boone ends its one of its best seasons in school history with a tie for second in the Sagamore Conference and ends its 2024 season 17-13.

Crawfordsville advances to take on Northview in Saturday’s Regional Final. The location and time of the game are yet to be determined.