Runs were difficult to come by in Saturday’s championship game of the Lou Giovanini Invitational.
Columbus East starting pitcher Julian Greenwell pitched a no-hitter through the first five innings and was looking for some run support. His efforts didn’t go to waste when the bats suddenly came alive.
The host Olympians totaled four hits and four runs in the fifth inning to break open a scoreless game. Mooresville made one last small rally in the top of the seventh inning, but East held on for a 5-2 victory to claim the tournament title.
Greenwell allowed only four hits and struck out 10 batters for the complete game.
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“My defense did very well today, and that helped me a lot,” said Greenwell. “In the beginning of the game, I couldn’t get my curveball the way I want it to, but by the third inning and after that, I started finding my rhythm.”
Mooresville starting pitcher Cody Bruner did a good job at keeping the Olympians off-balance the first four innings. But once Charlie Burton led off the fifth with a single, the hits became contagious for East (8-2).
Josh Major smacked a triple deep in the gap to score Burton. Jonathan Foster then scored Major with a single. After Greenwell walked, Luke Hostetler blasted a shot in the left center-field gap to score Foster. Drew Hasson later drove in Greenwell with a fielder’s choice to make it 4-0.
“The run support always helps with a pitcher, and it gives you a lot of confidence going into the next inning,” Greenwell said.
The Pioneers led off with back-to-back singles to start the top of the seventh. Another hit scored two runs, but Greenwell struck out the final two batters to end the game.
“(Mooresville) is a tough team to play,” East coach Jon Gratz said. “They are very aggressive on the bases. If you get them an inch, they’ll take advantage, but we made the plays when we had to.”
In the semifinals against Franklin, Hostetler had a big game at the plate with a triple and a double. Jon Crawford, who picked up the win, also added a double, and the Olympians tallied nine hits as a team to win 10-0 in five innings.
“(Hostetler) has done a great job so far (hitting) this year,” Gratz said. “He hit well for us last year, and he is continuing it into this year.”