County Baseball

Athenians down Chargers in county and SAC battle


Put the ball in play and crazy things can happen. That’s the good old adage in high school baseball. That phrase certainly lived up to its name on Wednesday night at Crawfordsville as the top two teams in the Sagamore Conference squared off with Crawfordsville welcoming county and SAC rival North Montgomery. Through five and a half innings the two county rivals traded blows. It was 4-4 headed into the bottom of the sixth with the Athenians bats coming to the plate. Jude Coursey led things off with a single and a sac bunt by Wyatt Motz moved him to second. Bryce Dowell grounded out and with two outs the Chargers decided to intentionally load the bases to bring up Sam Minnette. Minnette hit a grounder to shortstop Austin Sulc and the ball rolled into foul territory causing two runs to score. Kale Wemer then was intentionally walked and then Mason McCarty was hit to bring in a third CHS run. That gave CHS a 7-4 lead and Wemer finished off the Chargers 1-2-3 in the seventh to secure a big county and SAC win.

“This was a battle for sure,” Crawfordsville coach Brett Motz said. “It came down to us putting the ball in play and we were able to take advantage of some of their mistakes. We just found a way to win and it sure wasn’t the prettiest win we’ve had all season. Nonetheless it’s a big and I’m proud of our of guys for just finding a way. We’ll take it anyway we can get it.”

The game featured arguably the top two pitchers in the SAC as seniors Jarrod Kirsch for the Chargers and Wemer dueled. Crawfordsville (12-9, 8-2 SAC) got their four other runs in the third. A crucial point in the game came in that third inning where CHS was trailing 2-0. Dowell checked his swing on what would’ve been strike three and ended the frame. Instead he walked and the flood gates opened. Matt Miller got CHS on the board with an RBI single and four more walks and a hit by pitch allowed the Athenians to lead 4-2.

North Montgomery (13-5, 6-4 SAC) rebounded nicely to score two runs in the fifth thanks to a RBI single by Kirsch and then a RBI double by Ross Dyson. The Chargers got on the board back in the second inning when Cade Cole laced a double to left-center that scored Corbin Meadows. An error by Jude Coursey allowed Cole to score the second Charger run.

“The check swing was the turning point in the game if you ask me,” Charger coach Matt Voorhees said after the loss. “Jarrod was cruising and then that call changed the outcome of the game. I’m proud of our guys for staying resilient and tie the game back up at 4-4. I do have to tip my cap to Wyatt Motz who made some really nice plays at third base and did an outstanding job. We hit the ball well, but Crawfordsville just made some plays. We got the situation we wanted with loading the bases and having that grounder to short but just couldn’t make the play. You just can’t have the walks and errors like that against good teams because it will come back to haunt you.”

Each team had six hits in the game. CHS had Motz with a pair of singles and Coursey, Miller, Wemer, and Minnette all had one hit each. North was led by Kirsch who went 2-3 on the night with a double and an RBI. Corbin Meadows, Roman Utterback, Cole, and Dyson each had one hit for the Chargers.

Wemer went the distance on the mound and picked up the win. The Purdue-commit gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and struck out nine while walking just one (intentional). Kirsch pitched just four innings and got a no-decision as the Wabash-commit gave up four hits and four earned runs while striking out and walking six batters. Utterback pitched two innings of relief and gave up two hits and three runs (none earned) while walking four (three intentional) and striking out one.

The two teams will meet back up at North Montgomery on Thursday night at 6 p.m.

“Jarrod just didn’t have his best stuff tonight and there’s a lot of adrenaline that gets put into these games,” Voorhees said. “Our pitchers just seem to struggle on their mound when we come here for whatever reason so we have to bounce back tomorrow night at home.”

“We’re sticking with that message of our next game is the biggest one of our season,” Motz concluded. “I hope our guys come locked and ready tomorrow because we’re going to have another battle on our hands.”