On a night when the Columbus East baseball team needed a quick, tidy effort, pitcher William Anderson found the best way to speed things up.
In a 10-0 win over visiting Seymour in the opening round of the Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament, Anderson threw the first no-hitter of his high school career.
“It’s been a quite a while,” the 6-foot-8 junior righty said. “I think the last one was when I was 12. I guess I had a lot of balls hit to the right people.”
In the third inning, the Owls’ Satoshi Hirose hit a ball Olympians center fielder Christian Wichman had to chase down, and that was as close as they came to a hit.
“Christian is crazy fast,” said Anderson, who struck out four and walked two.
East needed a quick victory because lightning in the area backed up the starting time of the game until 6:30 p.m. Without lights, it was questionable whether seven innings could be completed.
With a second-round HHC tournament game scheduled for Wednesday (East plays on the road against the winner of Monday’s New Albany-
Jennings County contest), and the final round Friday, both teams didn’t want to finish the game today.
Anderson, who only allowed three balls hit past the infield, breezed through the Owls lineup to handle the defensive side. On offense, the Olympians got a helping hand to put together a nine-run second inning.
East picked up a run in the first inning without the help of a hit. Seymour starting pitcher Janzen Bloom actually struck out the side in the first inning, but in between walked two batters and threw three wild pitches, the final allowed Takahiro Yamada to score from third base.
In the second, East loaded the bases on two walks and a single by Sam Claycamp. Bloom picked up a strikeout for the first out, then appeared to get out of the jam when he induced Cam Curry to hit a come-backer to the mound.
However, instead of turning an easy double play, the ball was tossed over the catcher’s head, allowing two runs to score.
With the inning extended, East scored seven more runs. Nick Andrie earned an RBI by getting hit by a pitch. Anderson had a two-run single, Peyton Gray lined a double down the left-field line to drive in another run, and Claycamp had an RBI single on his second at-bat of the inning.
It was another tough lesson for the young Seymour squad, which saw its record drop to 9-9.
“I knew it was going to be tough against Anderson,” said Seymour coach Jeremy Richey. “He threw against us last year.”
Richey said he thought Bloom started the game well, but mistakes turned the game in East’s favor.
“When things are going well, we are OK,” Richey said. “But when they’re not, well, that’s our story. With as many young guys as we have, it’s been frustrating at times.
“But it’s like Janzen (Bloom). He’s got a good future ahead of him. We just have to make sure he is learning stuff without being too hard on him. You can’t bury kids.”
Richey brought sophomore left-hander Paetan Brennan into the game to pitch in the second inning, and he pitched 2-1/3 innings, retiring seven consecutive East batters at one point.
“We have a lot of young arms on this team,” Richey said. “It’s just a matter of bringing them along.”
East, which improved to 14-5, has veteran pitchers such as Anderson and Gray and that should help as the Olympians fight for a conference title.
“This was a good way to start,” East coach Jonathan Gratz said of the East victory. “And they did help us a little. But we also took advantage of our opportunities and that was good to see.”
East now has won six consecutive games since a loss to Jennings County and a team meeting afterward.
“We understand what we can do and where we’re going,” Anderson said.