By Will Willems
Entering Thursday’s double-header with Lebanon, the Crawfordsville baseball team had won 41-straight conference games and 123 of 132 in winning nine-straight Sagamore Conference titles.
Those numbers increased by one when the Athenians beat the Tigers 9-3 in game one. Game two was a different story.
The Tigers scored four runs in the bottom of sixth inning and beat Crawfordsville for the first time since 2005 5-4.
“We have such great respect for the Crawfordsville program,” Lebanon head coach Rick Cosgray said. “We thought coming into the series that we had a good chance if we didn’t beat ourselves. In game two, we didn’t beat ourselves and that was the key.”
With the exception of the second inning in game one — in which the Tigers gave up seven runs — Lebanon played fairly well the entire day against the third-ranked team in Class 3A.
Cosgray said the message in between games one and two was to relax and play solid baseball.
“The last 5 1/2 innings of the first game we relaxed and played ball,” Cosgray said. “We were hitting the ball pretty well. I just told them, we had to have a pitcher go out and throw strikes. If we had a pitcher go out and do that, it would keep us in the game and give us a chance.”
The Athenians scored twice in the top of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead.
Lebanon got one back in the second inning, when Reid Schaller drew a bases-loaded walk with one out, but left the bases loaded.
They also would leave two on in the third and fourth.
Crawfordsville added a run in the third and one in the sixth — both with two outs — to take a 4-1 lead heading to the bottom of the sixth.
That is when the Tigers finally capitalized on their opportunities.
Nick Starkey singled up the middle to lead off the inning and Schaller worked a walk.
For more of this story, read Friday's Lebanon Reporter.