BLOOMINGTON — Columbus East looked very much like a team hungry to break a lengthy sectional drought, and East Central didn’t offer a whole lot of resistance until it was too late.
Eight different Olympians recorded hits, and Jon Crawford and Jonathan Foster combined on a four-hitter as East jumped out to a big lead and held on for a 7-4 semifinal victory against the Trojans late Friday night at Bloomington North.
The Olympians (18-7-1) will play in Monday afternoon’s sectional final against Bloomington South, which routed Columbus North 10-1 in the evening’s first semifinal.
East got on the board in the second with some unexpected help. After Drew Hasson and Charlie Burton beat out consecutive hits, Takahiro Yamada sent a high pop just behind the second basemen. All four East Central fielders in the vicinity, though, lost the ball in the lights, and the unlikely double gave the Olympians a 2-0 edge.
Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Harry Crider crushed a 1-0 pitch over the center-field fence, bouncing it off of the concession stand to put East up by three.
The Olympians put it away with a four-run fifth. Luke Hostetler singled with one out, moved to second on a base hit by Crawford and scored on an RBI single by Nick Andrie. After a wild pitch, Crider was intentionally walked to load the bases, and a liner off the bat of Kyle Weiss turned into a two-run error.
Burton added a sacrifice fly to stretch the East lead to 7-0 before East Central staged a late rally, scoring twice in each of the last two innings.
Crawford tossed five scoreless frames before the Trojans finally chased him in the sixth, loading the bases with nobody out and scoring a pair of runs. The junior hurler walked five and hit a batter, but gave up just two hits en route to the win.
Jonathan Foster gave up a pair of seventh-inning runs but recorded the final six outs in relief for the Olympians, striking out three.
Hasson, who is likely to start on the mound for East on Monday, and Crawford each had two of the Olympians’ 10 hits.
Columbus East 7, East Central 4
WP: Jon Crawford. LP: Jake Jennings. 2B: Takahiro Yamada (CE). HR: Harry Crider (CE).
Records: Columbus East 18-7-1, East Central 11-11.