SAC Baseball

Athenians clinch outright conference title with shutout of Hot Dogs

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Crawfordsville baseball stands alone at the top of the Sagamore Conference. Coming into Tuesday’s game against Frankfort, the Athenians needed a win to clinch the out-right SAC title.

The game turned into a pitcher's dual as Crawfordsville’s Bryce Dowell and Frankfort’s Deacon Spencer battled back and forth. However, senior Alex Kellerman stepped up when his team needed him most. After a Jude Coursey single and Dowell hit by pitch, a wild pitch sent the two courtesy runners, Dylan Farley and Isaac Rogers, to second and third base.

Kellerman then delivered arguably the most clutch hit for CHS all season as he laced a pitch into right field — just out of the reach of Frankfort’s Jayden Skinner. The ball rolled near the warning track and was in, allowing both Farley and Rogers to score and  Kellerman standing at third with a 2-RBI double. Wyatt Motz was able to drive in Kellerman with a fielder's choice and that would be enough as Dowell shut the door in the seventh allowing CHS to claim a 3-0 win and conference crown.

“This feels amazing,” Crawfordsville coach Brett Motz said. “These kids have been working so hard and are just a dedicated group of guys. For them to achieve this, it feels really good and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

The win for CHS snaps a three-game skid which included a 6-0 loss against the Hot Dogs on Monday. While the Athenians managed just four hits, they took advantage of two Hot Dog errors. Coursey picked up a pair of hits while Dowell and Kellerman each had a single hit. Dowell picked up the win on the mound pitching one of his best games of the season for CHS. He threw a complete seven innings, giving up six hits and striking out six and walking just one.

“He was absolutely lights out tonight,” Motz said of his sophomore hurler. “You could tell he was locked in from the first pitch he threw tonight to the final one that he threw. He had command of both of his pitches the entire game and was focused. His energy level was exactly what we needed and he had a determined approach to this game and was able to go out there and no one was going to take away this opportunity away from him.”

Kellerman has come up in big spots multiple times this season for the Athenians. He can add this game as another moment where when his number was called and he was able to deliver.

“He’s been real clutch for us and that hit came with two strikes,” Motz said of Kellerman’s game winner. “He continued to stay focused and was able to get ahold of one and drive it. This game is a game of inches. Their guy could have caught the ball  just as easily as it went by him. That goes to show that these last 3 to 4 games we’ve been wavering from us having success to us not is an inch or two here or there. Tonight it was able to go in our favor and that was huge for Alex and more importantly for our team.”

The SAC title for the Athenians is their second in three seasons after coming in second a season ago to Lebanon. Crawfordsville improves to 19-4 (11-2 SAC) with the win. They will close out SAC play Friday when they host Lebanon before hosting McCutcheon for their regular season finale Monday.

While Motz is going to let his team enjoy the conference title, he also wants to close out the regular season on a high note and build even more momentum heading into next week’s sectinonal which CHS will host.

“We try to approach every game the same way,” he said. “There are games that are going to feel more important but we have to try and continue to have the same level of approach. Hopefully, we can close out the regular season on a high note with these final two games and look to get some more offense going ... we’ll be focused on playing really good baseball as we look towards the sectional.”

The game against Lebanon on Friday is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start at Crawfordsville.

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