CHS Hall of Fame
Athenians drop Saturday pair at Loeb
April 8, 2012Crawfordsville High School
In the second day of the Joe Heath Classic, the Athenians dropped a pair of games at Loeb Stadium. In game one it was Class 3A No. 4 West Lafayette blanking Crawfordsville, 7-0. In game two, the Athenians showed some life but fell 8-7 in a tight contest with Lafayette Jeff.
Though the preseason No. 1 ranked team certainly didn’t expect this kind of start, now at 3-5 on the year, they had precisely this same mark through eight games a season ago—and how that turned out is by now well-documented.
GAME ONE (VS. WEST LAFAYETTE) Against the Red Devils (3-1) in game one, it was Chandler Pursell who got the start. The junior, who had been solid to date, could not manage to get through the second inning. Lasting one and two-thirds, he allowed five earned on six hits and hit two batters. In relief, Joel Hobson faced four batters and allowed one earned run. From there, sophomore Garrett Phelps provided three strong innings of one run ball with four punch outs.
The makeshift offensive lineup, in the absence of the injured Jake Zurawski, could muster only four hits against Brandon Cebulla who went the distance for the Red Devils.
GAME TWO (VS. LAFAYETTE JEFF) The Athenians showed considerably more verve against the host Bronchos in the second game of the day. It was a rocky start for pitcher Craig Brainard, who struggled to find the plate, walking six and giving up two hits while allowing five earned runs in an inning and two-thirds. Jordan Jackson took over, however, and became a bright spot in relief. The junior, who has seen very little time on the mound so far in his career, threw two scoreless innings before tiring. All told, Jackson competed for three frames, giving up two runs on five walks, scattering three strikeouts.
Jackson’s bat also came to life in a 3-4, 4 RBI game in which he picked up a hit in each of his last three at-bats. Crawfordsville netted eight hits in the game, including two apiece by Brainard and Rasmussen.
The Athenians came from behind to tie the game at eight in the top of the sixth when they scored four runs. The bases were loaded after Rasmussen looped a single to center, and Ehrlich and Minks each walked. Jackson followed with a double inside the left field line to score two and bring the game to 8-6. Brainard reached on a fielder’s choice and Mitchell Reeves’ sharp grounder to third was misplayed, scoring another run. Cameron Monroe’s sacrifice fly to left drove Jackson in to tie the game.
In the bottom of the sixth with the pitching staff running on fumes, the call was sent to the bullpen for Chase Justus who threw 105 pitches Friday night. On his first offering, Justus induced a grounder to Rasmussen at shortstop to escape a jam and keep the score knotted.
The Athenians could not push across a run in their turn at bat. In Jeff’s turn, Peter Ripke was hit by a pitch, stole second, and came home on a single to right by Keaton Hamilton.
To put things in some perspective, two of the Athenians losses have been by one run (Brebeuf and Jeff), while another was by only two runs (Harrison). Three of the five losses have come to ranked 3A teams: #4 West Lafayette, #5 Norwell, and #9 Brebeuf, and two 4A teams in Harrison and Lafayette Jeff. All of the team's losses have been on the road.
Crawfordsville will look to get things headed in the right direction when they hit the road for Lizton to face Tri-West in the first game of Sagamore Athletic Conference play. The Athenians will be looking to back up their 14-0 conference championship season of a year ago.