The Paper file photo by Lori Poteet 
Chase Dowell had one of the Athenians’ four hits in their win Friday.
The Paper file photo by Lori Poteet
Chase Dowell had one of the Athenians’ four hits in their win Friday.

DOVER — In some aspects of Friday's Sagamore Conference baseball match-up between Western Boone and Class 3A No. 4 Crawfordsville, the Stars out-played the highly-rated Athenians.

WeBo out-hit the visitors 5-4 in the game, and limited the damage the aggressive Athenians could do on the base paths. But, it was the little things that ultimately doomed the Stars. A key error in the fourth inning led to a three-run Athenian rally, and Crawfordsville held off a late Western Boone comeback attempt in a 5-4 win.

"It's been kind of the story of the beginning of our season," Western Boone coach Cesar Barrientos said. "We are very competitive and it seems like we recover from our mistakes, but sometimes it is just one too many."

Crawfordsville scored a run without a hit in the second inning. Chase Dowell led the inning off with a walk, and advanced to second when Westin Evans was hit by a pitch.

After a lineout, Evans was picked off first base for the second out, but Dowell advanced to third. Josh Blackburn walked and it looked like Western Boone would get out of the inning when starter Peyton Young caught Blackburn in a rundown. But the Athenian freshman was ruled safe on a close play at second, and Dowell stole home and was safe when catcher Felix Martinez couldn't hang on to a throw.

While it worked out in that inning, it was two of the four times the Athenians had problems on the bases on Friday.

"We had a lot of base running mistakes today and I'm not sure what that was about," Crawfordsville head coach John Froedge said. "Normally we are pretty good at that, and tonight we weren't. We didn't execute our short game very well."

The Athenians appeared to grab firm control of the game in the fourth.

With runners on first and second with two outs, Blackburn walked to load the bases. Crawfordsville junior Tommy Edwards then lined a shot right at Western Boone third baseman John Bromberek, but the sophomore couldn't handle the ball for an error, allowing the game's second run to score.

Sam Lucas then drew a bases-loaded walk and Trent Johnson was hit by a pitch to force in another run and end Young's day on the mound. The Star freshman didn't allow a hit in 3.2 innings, but walked six and hit two more batters.

"I thought we had some really good at bats late in counts," Froedge said. "We battled and drew some walks. We did a good job of laying off some marginal pitches and he would get two strikes and not be able to finish us off. That is always important in a game, to make a pitcher throw a lot of pitches early."

Crawfordsville added to the lead in the fifth, getting an RBI-single by Abney to make it 5-0.

With it appearing like the game was in hand, Crawfordsville turned to Abney on the hill, hoping to end starter Johnson's day after five innings. The Stars had other ideas.

Young singled with one out, stole second and advanced to third on an error. He scored on a passed ball as Riley Reagan walked to make it 5-1.

Nathanial Bye walked on a 3-2 pitch to put two on for the heart of the Stars' order, ending Abney's day and forcing Johnson to come back in.

"That is why the five runs were important," Froedge said. "It allowed us to try some things and get some other people in.” It is about developing the best team we can put together for the whole year. Payten is our No. 4 right now  and every time we can get him out there it is a bonus for us. Even today when it didn't work out, it is still a bonus. Because he can look back and evaluate the situation and do better next time."

Johnson got Bromberek to fly out to left, but Lance Oldham doubled off the wall in left to plate Reagan and Bye and make it a 5-3 game. Zach Prickett followed with a single to right to plate Oldham, making it a one-run game. Prickett stole second to get the tying run in scoring position, but Nathan Bowman struck out to end the threat.

The Stars went down 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Johnson got the win, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing four hits. He struck out 11. Froedge said especially late in the game, his curveball was extremely effective.

"We saw that they had some troubles with breaking balls earlier in the week," Froedge said. "The first time through the lineup we didn't throw many curveballs and saved them for tough situations. He is working on some things too and we are just happy to get a win in a conference game."

The win improved the Athenians to 10-3, 4-0 SAC. They face Frankfort today.

Western Boone falls to 2-4, 1-3 SAC. They play host to North Montgomery today.