Columbus East had trouble getting the bats going against Bloomington North starting pitcher Harry Deliyannis during the first five innings of Wednesday’s baseball game.
In the bottom of the sixth, everything changed.
With runners in scoring position, East senior Luke Hostetler delivered his biggest hit of the season. He blasted a double to score Josh Major and Jonathan Foster to break the scoreless tie.
Jon Crawford added an insurance run by scoring Hostetler with a single. The Cougars had a little rally in the top of the seventh, but a key double play helped put an end to the threat and the Olympians hung on for a 3-0 victory.
East (16-6) now has won seven of its past eight games.
“I was getting a lot of curveballs early on in the game, so I knew it was coming again, especially with two strikes on me,” Hostetler said. “I just had to look at it on the outside corner of the plate and hit where it was pitched.”
With one out in the sixth, Major got the rally going with a single and stole second. Foster slapped the ball in play and the Cougars attempted to pick off Major as he headed for third, but he was called safe on the play.
That set up Hostetler’s heroics.
“We were hitting a bunch of ground balls, and (Bloomington North) was making great plays on them early on in the game,” East coach Jon Gratz said. “It was one of those things where we got a couple guys on and got the big hit when we needed to.”
The Cougars (11-11) out hit the Olympians 7-5, but the pitching of Eric McMullen and the defensive effort helped keep East in the game.
McMullen, who normally pitches in relief, got the starting nod on the bump. He didn’t disappoint in a pitchers’ battle with Deliyannis for most of the game.
“He has been great for us all year in the bullpen, and he finally got a start that he has definitely earned and took full advantage,” Gratz said.
McMullen pitched a complete game to go along with three strikeouts in earning the win.
“It was just efficiency,” McMullen said. “I have a great defense behind me that I know will get the job done. It feels great, and I can’t complain whenever they turn double plays.”