CHS Hall of Fame
Tough schedule awaits new look Athenians
March 2, 2013By Brandon Froedge of Crawfordsville High School
The 2013 schedule is stocked with exciting matchups as the Athenians will tangle with some of the state’s top talent. Here is a look ahead at some key dates and premier players who figure to factor heavily into the outcome of those games.
Monday, March 25: Opening Day
The Athenians will open the 2013 campaign at home against Greencastle. Last year, Crawfordsville won that contest 17-1. The Tiger Cubs seemed to improve as the season progressed and finished with a 13-11 record, going 9-5 over their last 14 contests.
Gone is top hitter and pitcher, Ryan Battin who hit .440 and went 6-2 on the mound with a 2.83 earned run average. Back on the hill are Brett Gierke (17.1 IP, 7.67 ERA) and Cole Pohlar (15.2 IP, 5.36 ERA). From an offensive perspective, Nick Gilliam (.326), Pohlar (.246), and Landon Millar (.226, 14 RBI) all will to play important roles.
Home openers are a much-anticipated event in Athenians country, surrounded by plenty of fanfare, and this year promises to be no different.
Monday-Thursday, April 1-4: Louisville Christian Academy Tournament
The opening game of the Spring Trip will be against the prestigious Mt. Carmel, where numerous alumni have gone on to careers in the National Football League–most famously Donovan McNabb and Simeon Rice. Alumni have, in fact, won all four major professional team sports championships (Stanley Cup, World Series, Super Bowl, and NBA Championship). Three former students have also competed in the Olympic Games.
Mt. Carmel, with its all male enrollment of 900, went 32-6 last season and, like the Athenians, came up three wins shy of the state championship game.
This year, the Mt. Carmel Caravan are led by senior shortstop Jerry Houston who has committed to Oregon University.
The tourney also includes Illinois powerhouse Brother Rice, Ashland Paul Blazer (KY), Grayson County (KY), Scott County (KY), and Pope John Paul III (TN). [SEE BRACKET]
On April 2nd, the team will attend the #19 Louisville versus #13 Kentucky baseball game at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Saturday, April 13: Athenian Invitational
This year’s invite again brings in the defending 3A Champs Western, 4A Bloomington South, and 4A Westfield.
Head coach Ty Calloway brings to the table 35 seasons, 640 wins, and 15 sectional championships. And just last June he added the one missing piece to his mantle—a state title. In their championship run, Western finished 25-9. They clearly got hot at the right time, winning 18 of their last 20 ballgames.
Western returns a legitimate number one pitcher in Ronnie Smith, who threw the title game against Brebeuf. Other arms back in the fold are Cameron Kuntz and Evan Warden. Gone is standout shortstop Adam Bolen. Last season, Crawfordsville topped Western by a score of 7-6 on April 14th.
The Athenians and Bloomington South have split their games over the past two seasons, both of which were in the championship round of the Invitational. The Gold and Blue couldn’t get on the board in the contest last year at DePauw, but Chase Justus produced one of his best outings on the mound by throwing five scoreless innings of relief with four strikeouts.
The Panthers feature outfielder Nolan Rogers who is headed to play for Vanderbilt University next year. Prep Baseball Report ranks Rogers as the fourth best Indiana player in the class of 2013. Departed is standout Caleb Baechtold. The Panthers are led by head coach Phil Kluesner.
The Westfield Shamrocks were dropped 5-0 by Western in the consolation game of last year’s Invite.
Gone to graduation are standouts Nick Saldutti (Butler) and Wade Burtron (who now plays football for St. Joe’s), both of whom were formidable on the mound and with the bat. Still, the 4A Shamrocks return the majority of the talent that led them to a 17-13 overall record while competing in the state’s toughest baseball conference.
Coach Ryan Bunnell, who will be entering his 11th year, was named Co-Coach of the Year in the Hoosier Crossroads and led the Shamrocks to victory in the tough Carmel sectional.
Saturday, May 4: vs. Greenwood & Crown Point
Greenwood’s attack is led by an Indian University signee, Alex Krupa. The ultra-athletic Krupa hit .527 last spring and stole 24 bases. In tryouts he has shown the ability to throw 85 mph from the outfield and run a sizzling 6.50 60-yard dash. Krupa checks in at number eight on PBR’s list of the state’s top seniors. The Cougars also return Tylor Martin (.485), Landon Fink (.409, 6 HR, 43 RBI), and Ethan Bailey (.371).
On the mound it’s Fink (8-2, 55.1 IP, 2.02 ERA) and Martin (6-2, 50.1 IP, 2.78 ERA) who will shoulder the load.
Greenwood is coached by Andy Bass, who directed his squad to a 21-7 mark in 2012.
Crown Point has a strong club that is led by senior Zach Plesac. He is a Ball State commit and the nephew of former major league pitcher turned MLB Network analyst, Dan Plesac. Prep Baseball Report lists Plesac’s fastball as coming in anywhere from 86-92 mph, and ranks the pitcher as the tenth best senior in the state. His brother, Ron Plesac, also plays a key role for Crown Point and packs a punch at all of 6’4” and 230 pounds. Ron is coming off Tommy John surgery and currently plans to attend John Logan Junior College.
Monday, May 20: vs. McCutcheon
Crawfordsville will face off with one of its biggest rivals at Purdue University's new $10.3 million dollar facility, Alexander Field. After being swept by Lafayette schools last year, this edition of the Athenian’s will be looking for a brand of revenge against the always talented and hard-nosed Mavericks.
McCutcheon is directed by Jake Burton, who has led the Mavericks since 1977 and has two 4A state titles to his credit (1999, 2003) to go along with 700-plus victories.
Wednesday-Monday, May 22-27: Sectional 25 @ North Montgomery
To earn an unprecedented eighth sectional title in a row, the Athenians will have to do it on the road and on the home turf of a county opponent, no less.
It will be the first time since 1991 that North has hosted a 3A baseball sectional. That year Crawfordsville pulled off an impressive win by beating Dan Chadd, who had a dominating senior season on the mound. Shane Powell broke a scoreless tie with a majestic blast in the sixth inning as the Athenians went on to their first sectional championship in the Froedge era.