HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

SECTIONAL BASEBALL: Harker, Tigers edge Athenians 1-0

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LINDEN — A pitchers duel favored Lebanon and ace pitcher Garrett Harker as the Class 3A No. 3 ranked Tigers scored a sixth-inning run to beat Crawfordsville 1-0 in the Sectional No. 25 opener at North Montgomery on Wednesday.

Cannon Morton reached on a fielders choice and advanced to second on an Athenain throwing error before scoring an unearned game-winning run in the last half of the sixth on an infield single from Gavin Haines.

“We just told them throughout the game that they have to continue to be patient and go up there with an approach, make some adjustments and just believe that something positive is going to happen,” Lebanon coach Rick Cosgray said. “and we did just enough to get the one run across.”

The low scoring battle came after the Tigers (23-2) outscored Crawfordsville (17-10) 18-5 in two regular season meetings, including a 10-5 win last Friday.

“You can never walk away from a loss and feel good, but as a coach I can walk off that field and be extremely proud of our guys,” Crawfordsville coach Brett Motz said. “No question about it, our guys knew it was going to be a battle, because Lebanon is a great team and their pitcher is legit. He’s (Harker) proven himself as one of the best pitchers in the state of Indiana. He’s a competitor and obviously a very gifted pitcher. We were trying our best to score a run early and had a couple opportunities and tried to put pressure on their defense by putting the ball in play, but I couldn’t be more proud of our defensive effort.”

Harker allowed just a single Crawfordsville hit off the bat of senior Zack Fichter in the third inning. He walked none, and totaled 13 strikeouts. 

The biggest difference was Crawfordsville’s pitching duo of sophomore starter Cale Coursey and freshman reliever Kale Wemer. After allowing 10 runs in the loss to Lebanon on Friday, Coursey and Wemer allowed just three total hits in six innings on Wednesday. 

“They did an outstanding job of keeping us off-balance,” Cosgray said. “Coach Motz has done an outstanding job and then has a fine assistant in coach Welliever, who works with the pitching staff a lot and they had a good plan to attack us in terms of how they were going to pitch us tonight, and thankfully we were able to be scrappy enough to scratch one across late.”

Matthew Coddington, Haines, and Caleb Linton had the Lebanon hits.

Despite the pair of lopsided regular season losses, Crawfordsville didn’t back down from Lebanon. They carried the same type of tourney mentality into Wednesday’s game as many Athenian teams have before them.

“We just had a great end to our season,” Motz said. “We stepped onto a McCutcheon field (Monday) and acted like ‘hey we are out here to play baseball,’ and competed and found a way to win that thing, we come out here with that same attitude.

“As a coach you try your best to get your team to feel confident. We have played some teams that are physically superior to us, whether it’s the size of the school or physically, or that they have more skilled players, that’s the one thing about Crawfordsville baseball that I inherited, is that guys in our program believe they are able to compete with anybody at any given time and they proved that again tonight.”

The Tigers will now face North Montgomery on Monday morning at 11 a.m. in the first semifinal after the Chargers beat South Vermillion 6-4 on Wednesday. Lebanon swept North Montgomery in a pair of Sagamore Conference regular season meetings. The winner will play the winner of Northview and Frankfort in the sectional final on Monday night at 6:30 p.m.

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