Olympians outslug Panthers

With Columbus East and Jennings County set to meet each other again on the same field 11 days later in the Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament, neither team used its No. 1 pitcher.

That meant a lot of hits and a lot of runs Thursday at East.

The Olympians used a five-run fourth to take the lead for good but needed two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to hang on for a 13-11 victory.

“We got a lot of guys in there on the mound that needed to get some time,” East coach Jon Gratz said. “We saw some good things. We have to play better defensively and limit the walks. Our bats bailed us out tonight.”

The Olympians (10-3-1) pounded out 14 hits and were hit by pitches seven times. They also took advantage of four errors by the Panthers.

Joey Back, the third of five East pitchers, picked up the win in his first pitching action of the season. Kyle Weiss came on with two on and nobody out in the seventh and recorded the final three outs to earn the save.

Luke Hostetler led the hitting attack for the Olympians, going 4 for 5 with a triple and three RBIs. His two-run single in the fourth tied the game at 6-6.

“They were throwing strikes, and I just tried to take advantage and hit the first good one I saw,” Hostetler said.

Following Hostetler’s two-run single, Kyle Weiss delivered a two-run double to give East the lead for good. The Olympians added a fifth run in the inning when Charlie Burton drew a bases-loaded walk.

Jennings didn’t go away, however. The Panthers, who had taken the lead on Brett Sawyer’s two-run single in a four-run top of the fourth, added a run in the fifth and two in both the sixth and seventh.

Sawyer finished 5 for 5 with a double and four RBIs.

Jennings took an early lead with a run in the second on a bases-loaded walk to Matt Kirchner. But East answered with four in the bottom of the second, highlighted by an RBI single from Burton and a two-out, two-run single from Josh Major.

The Panthers got a run back in the third on an RBI-double by Jacob Clark. Jennings then seized the lead with the four-run fourth.

Jon Crawford went 2 for 2 with a key two-run double in the sixth for the Olympians. Burton went 2 for 3 with two RBIs, and Weiss went 2 for 4 with three RBIs.

Avery Johnson went 2 for 4 for the Panthers. Owen Land went 2 for 5 with two RBIs, and Tyler Vogel went 2 for 5.

Garrett Marsh, who relieved starter Justin Pettit to begin the fourth, took the loss for Jennings.

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.