SB Sectional Preview

Athenians ready for third meeting with Tigers

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The old saying is in Indiana High School baseball and softball that it’s hard to beat a team three times in a season. Crawfordsville softball is hoping that saying holds true as they open up the Class 3A Sectional 25 at Lebanon against the host Tigers on Tuesday.

During the regular season the Tigers got the better of the Athenians in both meetings with a 12-1 victory on April 22 and a 10-0 win last Thursday.

The Athenians come into the sectional with a record of 1-25 (1-13 SAC), however for first year coach Brad Clark is more focused on how his team has improved throughout the course of the season and the opponent second. Playing the host school will be challenging task, but Clark knows his team will be up for the challenge.

“One of the things we’ve talked about all season is our own self-improvement and growth, regardless of the opponent.  The Sagamore is extremely tough and Lebanon is no exception. We expect them to come out ready to go. However, we need to focus on what we can control and that is being aggressive at the plate, putting the ball in play, and making the routine plays in the field.”

Senior Laine Schlicher leads the Athenians with a .380 average on the season. Junior Bailey Crane is second batting .317, and fellow senior Olivia Reed bats .292 as the Athenians as a team bat a collective .222 on the season. Runs at times have been difficult to come across for CHS as they average around just three per game. Crawfordsville has leaned on freshman pitcher Emma Buser in the circle for the majority of the season and she’ll likely be tasked with holding the Tigers at bay yet again.

While the record isn’t what the Athenians have wanted it to be this season, the team is still finding joy in the game and being around each other. If the Athenians are going to have their season come to an end, Clark is going to make sure that their opponent will have to earn it.

“Our message to the team last night was let’s go out swinging,” he said. “Meaning-don’t leave anything on the field. If someone is going to beat us, they are going to have to play really well. If we do that, we can hold our heads up high and feel proud of the way we competed.”

Along with Reed and Schlicher, Kearston Hutchens rounds out the three seniors that have helped guide and lead the Athenians this season. Clark noted how his three seniors have helped him in his first season and what a joy they’ve been to coach.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Olivia, Laine, and Kearston and their leadership to this team and this program,” he said. “They are great representations of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Three remarkable young women who I am blessed to be able to coach.”

Crawfordsville and Lebanon are set for a 5 p.m. first pitch with the winner getting the chance to play for a sectional title.

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