HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

BASEBALL: Pitching leads Athenians to sweep of Bruins

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Crawfordsville used 21 strikeouts from the pitching staff and timely hitting to sweep Tri-West in a baseball doubleheader.

The 6-1 win the first game, followed by an 8-5 victory in the nightcap, moves the Athenians to 7-3 on the season and 3-1 in the Sagamore Conference, while the Bruins fall to 2-5 overall and 2-2 in the league.

“We are getting back to better fundamental baseball,” CHS coach Brett Motz said. “We really emphasized the basics at practice this week, and then when we get the pitching we got, plus the energy we bring, we continue to improve,”

Cale Coursey started and never stopped in the first game, going the distance to run his record to 2-0.

The sophomore threw 96 pitches, walking two and striking out 9. He got out of a jam in the fourth and gave up the lone run in the sixth.

In the second game, freshman Kale Wemer took the mound in relief in the second inning and shut the door on the Bruins, scattering four hits, allowing two runs, walking four and striking out 12 while picking up his first win of the season.

“First, what an amazing job Coach (Rhett) Welliever does with our pitchers,” Motz said. “Over the winter, he establishes good fundamentals, and mechanics. They work hard, and come in attacking the strike zone. That makes the defense better because they love to play behind pitchers like that, and then we have our catcher, Caleb Coons, who did an amazing job tonight. Our pitchers are 100 percent confident in throwing any pitch, and throwing it in the dirt, because of his ability and energy behind the plate.”

While the pitchers were posting “K’s” on the board, the offense got their work done as well.

In the first game, the Athenians got a run in the first, and then five in the fifth.

That fifth saw all five runs come across with two outs, as an infield single by Wemer was followed by doubles by Austin Motz and Henry Taylor, a walk to Coons, Zack Fichter getting hit by a pitch and they Coursey stroking a bases-loaded double.

“That fifth inning was something else,” Motz said. “All those runs with two outs also really boosted our confidence for the second game.”

That second game started with CHS scoring four in their first at-bat, taking advantage of Bruins walks and errors. 

A run in the second was capped off with a three-spot in the fifth, again on only one hit. A pair of walks, a pair of hit batters and an error added to the cause.

For the night, Motz scored four runs, with Taylor, Coons, Wemer and Fichter coming across twice. 

“Every day we come to learn, to get better,” Motz said of the development his squad is showing. “We bring that energy level, have fun, love the game. These guys are so coachable, and they are getting better every day. We are competing for spots, and that good friendly competition makes us push each other. We build that trust in each other. “We have a good mix of seniors and young guys, and we build confidence in each other. We had big two-out and two-strike hits, and our pitchers were great. A huge positive is that we didn’t have an error in the first game and only two in the second. As we strive to play The Athenian Way, we continue to understand how to play the game better.”

The Bruins used five pitchers through the night. Isaac Pierson was tagged for the loss in game one, and Kai Ross the second, both in relief. They play Western Boone Saturday and Lebanon next week twice.

The Athenians will have the Tigers in town for a Saturday morning game, and take on Southmont twice next week.

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