Photo provided by Susan Ehrlich 
Payten Abney puts on the tag for the Athenians. Abney went 2-for-4 with an RBI-single in the seventh.
Photo provided by Susan Ehrlich
Payten Abney puts on the tag for the Athenians. Abney went 2-for-4 with an RBI-single in the seventh.

LEBANON — It was a bit of dejá vu for the Lebanon baseball team on Tuesday night.

The Tigers' offense went cold against an opponent's ace on the mound, managing just two hits in a 5-0 loss to Crawfordsville. The Tigers had several hard hit balls early, but couldn't get anything going on Crawfordsville starter Trent Johnson.

"We came out with a great approach, an approach that we worked on in practice," Lebanon coach Rick Cosgray said. "The kids did a great job of executing, unfortunately we hit the ball right at them."

Crawfordsville didn't score in the top of the first inning and Lebanon appeared like they could have a good day against Johnson in the bottom of the first, despite not getting a hit.

All three Tiger batters hit the ball hard, but right at Athenian defenders, including a line drive that was caught by a leaping Brendan Dowell at short stop to end the inning.

"Last year, ultimately our breakdown at the end of the year was our infield defense," Crawfordsville coach John Froedge said. "We kind of started shaky this year, this was probably six games in a row without an infield error. In high school baseball, that is pretty good. When you can make the routine plays behind the pitcher, you have a chance to be in every game."

Neither team was able to scratch out a run until the fifth inning.

Sam Lucas drew a one-out walk and Johnson followed with a dribbler in front of the mound that was thrown away to put runners on second and third. After a walk loaded the bases, Caden Jones hit a grounder to first, but Reid Schaller hesitated on the throw home and then didn't have a play allowing a run to score.

Crawfordsville added a run in the sixth on a double by Lucas, then scored three in the seventh on a RBI-single by Payten Abney and a two-run double by Tommy Edwards.

Of the Athenians seven hits, four came with two strikes and six came when they were behind in the count.

"That is nothing new for us," Froedge said. "We work really hard with two strikes to put the ball in play. We missed a couple chances early — we missed a couple of bunts and couple of signs — but we finally got some two-out hits."

That was more than enough run support for Johnson, who improved to 6-1 on the season and lowered his ERA to 0.75.

He struck out nine and allowed just a two-out single in the fourth to Tyler Welborn and a two-out single in the seventh to Evan Stambaugh.

Abney was 2-for-4 at the plate and Edwards was 2-for-3.

Jackson Bland took the loss for Lebanon, going five innings and allowing one hit and an unearned run.

The Athenians (12-3, 6-0) and the Tigers (3-6, 2-4 SAC) will match up again on Thursday at Crawfordsville.