The pitching future of Columbus East and Columbus North baseball was on display Wednesday, and neither Julian Greenwell nor Parker Maddox disappointed.
Greenwell threw a two-hit shutout and struck out 11 to lead the Olympians to a 2-0 victory in the battle of sophomore hurlers.
“It’s always special to pitch a two-hitter against your crosstown rival,” Greenwell said. “I was a little nervous to start out, but after the second or third inning, I calmed down a little, and I was dealing.”
North’s Maddox retired the first 11 batters he faced and gave up only one hit, but two costly errors with two out in the fourth led to East’s first run. Luke Hostetler reached on an error and then came around to score when Jon Crawford’s fly ball to right fell for a two-base error.
Charlie Burton led off the Olympians fifth with a walk and went to second on a sacrifice by Eric McMullen. With one out, Jonathan Foster tripled to left-center to score McMullen and make it 2-0.
“I was just looking fastball and adjusting,” Foster said. “After two at bats, you kind of start to see pitches better. I think we as a team started squaring up on some good pitches.”
North coach Ben McDaniel thought Maddox easily could have had a no-hitter and a shutout.
“Defense definitely let us down,” McDaniel said. “It’s a little bit frustrating because we pride ourselves on our defense, and all three balls (on the two errors and the triple) hit leather. (Maddox) made one mistake with that leadoff walk in the fifth. Other than that, he pitched fantastic today.”
So did Greenwell. He got better as the game went on.
The only hits for the Bull Dogs (9-7) came on a two-out single by Grant Trinkle in the second and a two-out single by Kevin Thompson in the fourth. Their only other baserunner came when Jeremias Dela Cruz walked with one out in the fifth and took second and third on passed balls, but Greenwell came up with back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
That began a string of seven consecutive strikeouts for Greenwell before he retired Trinkle on a grounder to second to end the game.
“Julian threw a heck of a game,” East coach Jon Gratz said. “He came out and did what he does and threw his fastball and off-speed for strikes and got the job done. He’s been like this most of the year.”
Meanwhile, the Olympians (11-5) played errorless defense behind him.
“A lot help to my defense,” Greenwell said. “They did a great job. Eric made a few good plays at second, and Drew (Hasson) is always good over there at first.”
East’s win was its third in a row against its crosstown rival.