The Columbus East baseball team had no trouble in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Jon Crawford and Cole Gilley combined to no-hit Deerfield (Illinois) 10-0 in six innings.
In the second game, the Olympians built an early lead. There was a slight bump in the road in the fourth inning, but the Olympians got the go-ahead run the next inning and fended off the Warriors offense late to secure a 6-4 victory and improve to 3-0.
In Game 1, the Olympians tallied seven hits. The most important element that shined was the pitching of Crawford. He had a no-hitter going through 52/3 before being relieved by Gilley.
East coach Jon Gratz said Crawford was pulled because he was on a pitch count.
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“He did a nice job for us, and he was higher (on the pitch count) than I wanted him anyway for the day,” Gratz said. “He struggled a bit in the first game, but got his command back under control.”
In the second game, Julian Greenwell started out the game by punching out six batters in the first three frames. The Olympians offense gave him plenty of run support by getting eight hits and four runs.
At the start of the fourth, Alec Burnett came on to relive Greenwell, who also was on a pitch count. Burnett got a little shaky in his first full frame by walking two batters and hitting two. Add in a couple of errors, and very quickly, the Warriors tied the game at 4-4.
Gratz stuck with Burnett despite his early struggles, and it paid off. Burnett found his rhythm and struck out seven over the final three innings.
“He is another talented pitcher, and if he gets his command down, he is going to be another solid guy out there for us,” Gratz said. “He looked really good at times and could be there eventually.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Luke Hostetler and Eric McMullen led off with singles and a hit by pitch loaded the bases. Nash Murphy hit a sacrifice fly to center to give the East a 5-4 lead.
The Olympians added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Deerfield threw to first on fielder’s choice. Jonathan Foster started sprinting toward home on the throw to first. The Warriors quickly threw back to home after getting the out at first, but Foster beat the tag at the plate.
Deerfield had one last gasp in the seventh inning after an error put their leadoff hitter on first. Two batters later, a double had runners on second and third with the go-ahead run at the plate, but the Olympians locked in and retired the final two batters to preserve the win.
“It shows the quality of a team that we can become,” Foster said about his team’s poise down the stretch. “The first couple games didn’t really challenge us to prove who we were. We stepped up as a team when we had to get a couple runs and it showed our intensity.”