Athenians take runner up at Athenian Invite


LOGANSPORT — Because mother nature refuses to play nice so far this spring, the location of the 39th annual Athenian Baseball Invitational was moved to a different location on Saturday. While Crawfordsville was still the host school for the tournament, Logansport High School and their all-turf field was the location. The four-team invite featured Crawfordsville, Logansport, Norwell, and Bethesda Christian.

Crawfordsville wound up finishing as the runner-up in the tournament going 1-1 on the day. CHS took care of Bethesda 7-5 in game one before falling to the host Berries in the championship game 8-4.

Game one

To open the day Crawfordsville and Bethesda Christian took the field on a very rare sunny day with no clouds in the sky. The game ended up being a feeling out process for both teams, but CHS did jump out a 1-0 lead in the first after Wyatt Motz tripled and was driven in on sac fly by Bryce Dowell. CHS would take a 2-0 lead in the fourth when Matt Miller doubled and then scored on error by the center fielder who dropped a routine fly ball (that will be important for the next paragraph).

Leading 2-0 in the top of the fifth, Cville turned to Motz on the mound after Dowell gave the Athenians four strong innings of one hit, six strikeout ball. Motz hit the first batter he faced and things would quickly go south. After Motz struck out the next batter, four straight singles, and two consecutive hit batters saw the Patriots plate five runs in the fifth to take a 5-2 lead. Motz recorded just a single out. However Crawfordsville responded in the best way possible in the bottom of the inning. Six straight Athenians recorded hits with Motz, Dowell, and Kaden Patton all getting singles. Kale Wemer hit a big 2RBI double and just like that it was 5-4. Miller got his second hit of the day with a single to set the table for Sam Minnette. Minnette hit what can only be described as a very routine fly ball to right field .There was just one problem... the right fielder had no clue where the ball was and by the time it hit the turf and rolled into the right field corner, Minnette never stopped running and he would record a three-run inside the park home-run and Crawfordsville took a 7-5 lead and hung one the final two frames for the win.

“First off I thought Bryce pitched a great game for us and gave us the innings we needed,” Crawfordsville coach Brett Motz said. “He’s established himself as a high quality pitcher in our staff and just goes out there and competes and never gives in. He kept their offense at bay with his pitch selection and put us in a great spot. That top of the fifth didn’t go the way we wanted, but our offense responded. We’ve had our backs against the wall like that several times this year and haven’t quite been able to respond like we need to. This was great to see our guys put some runs back up there.”

Jayden Jimenez relieved Motz and gave CHS two innings of quality pitching on the mound. The freshman got the win which was the second of the week for the youngster as he’s 2-0 on the season. After Bethesda (1-5) got a one-out single in the seventh, Wemer came in to shut the door. The Purdue-bound senior promptly hit the first two batters he faced to load the bases and provide a very dramatic final frame. Wemer did settle in and strike out the next two for the CHS win.

Crawfordsville scored their seven runs on 13 hits and their defense didn’t commit a single error. Dowell, Minnette, Miller, Patton and Motz all had two hits with Jude Coursey, Hayden Craig, and Wemer all notching one each.

“We have some really good team speed,” Motz said. “We’re able to put pressure on the opposing pitcher and the defense. In that fifth inning to have six straight hits is just a case of having great timely hitting when we needed it. It was really good to see that finally happen. We’re hitting the ball a lot better as of late. We’re always getting runners on, but just haven’t been able to bring them home and these last few games we’re starting to click.”

Game Two

Crawfordsville turned to Mateo Flores on the mound in the championship game against Logansport. Some key extra base hits allowed the Berries to take home the championship as CHS could never really hold down the Berries offense. Logansport scored three in the second, one in third, two in the fourth, and two more in the sixth to seal the win.

CHS actually out-hit the Berries 11-9 but some base-running blunders cost the Athenians at times to put some runs on the board. Minnette drew a bases loaded walk to have himself a four-RBI day in the first inning. Wemer had another two-RBI double and Miller collected two more hits. Henry Bannon went 2-3 with an RBI single as the young freshman was able to see his work pay off.

Flores went four innings and gave up six runs (four earned) on five hits. He walked two and struck out just one. In the championship game both teams combined to strike out just three times as CHS only struck out once. Their offense put the ball in play, but un-like in game one just couldn’t come through with a timely hit.

With the 1-1 day CHS is 4-6 on the season and will be back in action on Tuesday for a key Sagamore Conference game at Tri-West. The Bruins were SAC champs a year ago and were also the ones who ended the Athenians season in the sectional. Wednesday’s game (weather pending) is scheduled to be at CHS where the Athenians are still looking to have their home opener.