Sectional Baseball

Athenians see season end on walk-off home run

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Sophomore Kale Wemer and senior Landon Carr both brought their A-game and treated the fans to a good ole fashioned pitchers dual on Monday as Crawfordsville and Northview met with a spot in the sectional championship on the line. The duo combined for 24 strikeouts in the game. The Athenians thanks some fielding blunders from the Knights got on the board early as Jude Coursey scored from third on a dropped third strike. Neither offense would score again until the sixth when junior AJ Hall doubled home Alex Kellerman to give CHS some insurance as the Athenians led 2-0. In the bottom of the sixth the Knights got a run, but stranded the bases loaded as Wemer was able to escape the jam.

The score would stand at 2-1 Athenians as they needed just three outs to secure a sectional championship berth. Wemer would run out of pitches after a lead-off walk and the Athenians would turn to Coursey for the final three outs as he would face Carr. Carr’s who didn’t have a hit the entire game needed to see just a single pitch from the freshman as he cranked a walk-off two-run home run into left field as the Knights would end the Athenians season in heart-breaking fashion.

“First off Kale Wemer pitched phenomenal for us,” Crawfordsville coach Brett Motz said of the sophomore. “We’ve come to expect those performances from him and he pitched well enough to give us the win today. Northview did do a good job of getting his pitch count up. We had all the faith in the world in Jude when we put him out there. Carr just was able to put his barrel on one and deliver for them.”

Carr, who will pitching in the annual Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association’s North/South All-Star Game, showed why he earned that selection as on the mound he held the Athenian offense to just two hits while striking out 14 and giving up just one earned run. Over the course of the ladder part of the season the Athenians had seen their fair share of stud arms, but Carr was able to get the better of the Athenian hitters all afternoon.

“We just haven’t been hitting on all cylinders here recently and unfortunately that was the case again,” Motz said. “We haven’t gotten everything out of our offense that we were getting in the middle of the season where we were just rolling. I thought those two runs might be enough but Northview came out and earned it when it mattered most.”

The two lone hits both came off the bat of Hall for CHS. Wemer on the mound before running out of pitches threw six complete innings giving up just two earned runs and striking out 10 Knights.

Crawfordsville while they continue to search for their first sectional title since 2013 isn’t letting the heart-breaking loss define their successful season. CHS once again stood atop the Sagamore Conference and at one point held a record of 18-1, which earned them as high as a No. 4 ranking in the IHSBCA’s Class 3A Poll.

“That was the message that I wanted to give the team in the locker room,” Motz said of the Athenian’s successful 2022 campaign. “I want them to feel accomplished and be able to reflect on what they achieved. That extends beyond the baseball field. This group handled adversity extremely well and always had each other’s backs no matter what. They played with a competitive spirit yet showed grace also. There were so many reasons why this season was the most enjoyable experience of being a coach.”

Crawfordsville sees its season end with a record of 19-7 on the season. They will graduate four seniors in Austin Motz, Alex Kellerman, Evan Chaney, and Ian Hensley. Motz took a moment for one final time to mention how all four of them have helped shape the Athenian program.

“There’s no question that those four seniors have provided a ton of leadership that will allow this program to cotinue operate how Crawfordsville baseball should,” he said. “They will all be deeply missed, but at the same time I hope they walk away feeling like they all contributed a great deal to what we all hope is the continued success for this program in the future.”

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