The Olympians off-set a sloppy first inning of defense with five strong innings of offense, including a huge fifth frame that helped propel them to 13-3 victory Monday afternoon against visiting Mooresville.
East (17-9) battered the Pioneers for 16 hits, including seven for extra bases, in a six-inning contest that was added to help the team prepare for IHSAA Sectional 14 action. The Olympians play one more regular-season outing today against Whiteland before facing Bloomington North Saturday in a semifinal sectional battle at Shelbyville.
Mooresville arrived late to the ball park, but it was East that first appeared lost as the guests took advantage of four defensive miscues to go up early with its trio of runs. The Pioneers recorded just one hit in the opening frame.
“We came out really flat,” East coach Jonathan Gratz said. “I don’t know if it was the heat or us having to wait or what, but we looked flat.”
The Olympians got one run back in the bottom of the first inning as they also took advantage of a pair of errors, as well as a single by Christian Wichman to score Ben Harpring. Three more hits and another Mooresville miscue in the second inning produced another East run, followed by two more hits and an error in the third to knot the action at 3-all.
The guests threatened in the second inning by registering their other two hits, but a momentum killing defensive play snuffed out the rally. With a runner on second, Zane O’Dell drilled a line-drive single into center, expecting to drive in the go-ahead run.
Instead, senior Brian Wichman scooped up the ball and fired a perfect strike to home plate to cut down the runner and make a statement.
“That play was pretty important because the game was tight at the time,” Gratz said. “Brian had gunned down a couple of players from center this year and it always gets our team fired up.”
Perhaps no one more than junior pitcher Peyton Gray, who allowed just one more base runner over the final four innings. He finished with six strikeouts, including registering five in a row over the third and fourth innings.
Meanwhile on offense, the Olympians greeted Mooresville’s third pitcher, Cam Battenfield, with four hits and a walk to chase him off the mound without an out. Before the inning was over, the hosts had pounded out seven runs on six hits and sent 12 batters to the plate.
Harpring, Cam Curry and Yates Burkhart all had singles along with a double by Sam Claycamp and a run-scoring triple by Christian Wichman. Curry, who drove in the third-inning run with a double, also added a triple in the team’s three-run sixth inning to finish the contest with a trio of hits.
Claycamp and Christian Wichman each had two hits as did Takahiro Yamada. The freshman second baseman also scored twice and drove in a pair of runs.