SAC Baseball

Dowell silences Tiger bats in SAC finale


“You tell by his demeanor in the locker room that he was ready.”

Ready indeed was Bryce Dowell. The senior spun a masterpiece on the mound as his Athenians finished the conference-championship part of the regular season with a 2-0 win over Lebanon. The win moves Crawfordsville to 16-10 overall and caps the Sagamore championship at 12-2.

“It was the best outing in his high school career,” continued Crawfordsville coach Brett Motz of his senior hurler, who moved his season record to 6-1 with the win, second only to teammate Kale Wemer for most wins in the Sagamore Conference this season.”

Dowell tossed a two-hitter, with only one ball hit into the outfield all night. He walked one, not until the sixth. He struck out nine.

‘He faced 28 batters and threw a first-pitch strike to an unbelievable 24 of them. Two total Lebanon hitters reached a ball-three count.

“His approach was different tonight,” Motz said, “and when the guys saw how ready he was, they fed off that. This could have easily been a game we overlooked, but he and the team know how important each game is, especially at this time of the season. We’ve been talking for the last two weeks about how important it is to have the right mindset, to have hitters ready for anything, whether getting a hit or laying down a bunt and attacking the strike zone. It’s about the mindset of being ready to make a play and that each game is the most important game, because when the sectionals start next week, every game IS the most important. Every game could be your last.”

The game was a solid at the long rivalry between the two schools.

Both pitchers threw very well.

Tigers junior Wesley Byrd came out focused, striking out the first five Crawfordsville hitters, four of who have batting averages over .300. He finished with seven whiffs and did not walk a single hitter.

His offense, however, never got to Dowell, while the Athenians got a few extra-base hits to get two on the board.

Sam Minnette laced his second double of the season to left-center to start things off in the bottom of the third. Henry Bannon laid down a bunt to move him 90 feet and Mason McCarty drove him home with a ground ball.

McCarty drove in the second run too, as the sophomore hammered a double in the fifth, trading places with Wemer, who led off the inning with his third two-bagger of the year. The two RBI gives McCarty a dozen for the season, and gives him three hits in his last two games.

All four of Crawfordsville’s hits were doubles, as Jude Coursey had the other. It gives the Athenians 40 doubles on the season.

Dowell’s nine K’s give him 62 for the season, third in the league behind Jarrod Kirsch of North Montgomery (74) and Wemer (94).

“It is so huge for us to have two pitchers locked in like these two are right now,” Motz said. “They get into that zone, the other guys get into their zones,  and everyone gets into that mindset. We have a couple games left to play, but each one is still the most important as we get ready for the sectionals next week. We hope it can be right for us,”

The Tigers finish the regular season 11-13 overall and 6-8 in the Sagamore. They have no games until they take on WeBo in the first round of the sectional tournament next week in Danville.

“Wesley (Byrd) has done an outstanding job for us on the mound all season,” Lebanon coach Rick Cosgray said. “He just keeps it simple – get ahead in the count, attack the zone. He struck out five pretty good hitters to start things off, and that is just a good job of executing by him. Dowell had command of his slider and breaking ball. He was in a zone too. We had a couple of opportunities, but just never got the clutch hit.”

The Tigers tried to take advantage of an unusual three-error night by the Athenians defensively, but could only get one runner to third base as Dowell shut the door several times. They left seven runners on base, five in scoring position. They turned in an error-free game in the field.

The Tigers lost twice to the Stars in the regular season, and will look to avenge that note in the tournament.

Crawfordsville dropped its final two non-conferene games of the season to Benton Central and McCutcheon to end the regular season 16-12

CHS faces Tri-West on Thursday in the Class 3A 25 Semi-Finals at Danville.