Columbus East first baseman Harry Crider said every kid dreams of having a walkoff hit, so he made sure to take advantage once he got the chance against New Albany on Friday night.
With the score tied 0-0 in the bottom of the 10th, Crider stepped to the plate with bases loaded. The senior said he definitely felt the pressure, but was poised enough to hit a grand slam, giving the Olympians a 4-0 win for a third-place finish in the Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament.
“You can’t really put it into words,” Crider said. “I owe it up to the guys getting on base. We fought hard the whole game, and I have to give it up to the pitchers, (Cole) Gilley and (Eric) McMullen. It was a good all-around game.”
Hits did not come easy for either team. There were 17 total strikeouts between the two.
Gilley, a freshman, started on the mound for East (13-6), and McMullen finished the last two innings. They combined on a seven-hitter.
Olympians coach Jon Gratz has a lot of confidence in the the arm of his freshman pitcher and said he has been efficient all year.
“A heck of a performance by both guys,” Gratz said. “And their pitcher threw an unbelievable game, as well. It’s a heck of a game to be a part of, and obviously a fun way for us to finish it.”
Crider did not start the game, but got his first at bat in the sixth inning after an injury to Drew Hasson. The grand slam was Crider’s only hit of the day.
Julian Greenwell went 3 for 5 with a double in the first inning. Jonah Wichman went 2 for 4.
“Winning this game can be a big steppingstone,” Gratz said. “We didn’t fare well on Wednesday (in a semifinal loss at Bedford North Lawrence), and coming back in a third-place game to play great like this could really lead us to big things.”