MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon High School varsity softball team, coming off a 5-0 week and a big win over Big Walnut, continued its torrid pace on Monday afternoon. Hosting the Franklin Heights Falcons, the Yellow Jackets pounded out 13 hits in a 10-0 run-rule victory. The win avenges an earlier 4-3 loss to the Falcons on April 8, and keeps Mount Vernon in first place in the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division.
“This feels great,” said Mount Vernon senior Sarah Palm. “The first time we played, we didn’t come out strong. We thought we already had it, and we lost. ... We were ready today, though. We had energy after beating Big Walnut. We wanted it.”
Victoria Queen smashed two home runs — a solo shot in the first and a two-run shot in the fourth — to lead the Mount Vernon attack. Karina Shackle went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, and Palm went 2-for-3, including an RBI double in the first inning when the Jackets scored five times.
“Coach (Carisa Frysinger) talked to us before the game, and challenged us to keep our momentum going,” said Shackle. “That’s what we did. We really, really wanted this game, and after beating Big Walnut, we are tied for first. Our team goal is to win the conference, so this helps us do that,”
Franklin Heights’ errors led to the first two Mount Vernon runs. Raven Farley singled to lead off the bottom of the first inning, and Shackle followed with a hit to third base. The Falcons’ Missy Washburn fielded the ball cleanly, but overthrew first base. The error moved both runners up, and after a throw by right fielder Melissa Cunningham missed the cutoff man, both runners crossed the plate.
One out later, the Jackets continued to pound the ball. Queen homered, and Kayla Riley followed with a single. Olivia Starmer hit into a fielder’s choice that left Jauni Gleason, running for Riley, out at second. Natalie Scott then singled, and Palm drilled her shot down the line in right.
Mount Vernon added another run in the second inning as Shackle, who hit a one-out single, came around to score. Shackle moved to second on a single by Kylee Marcum, and a botched fielder’s choice by Queen loaded the bases. Riley then hit a sacrifice fly to score Shackle.
After stranding a runner at third in the third, Mount Vernon kept up its attack on Falcons’ starter Brittany Nichols. Shackle led off with a single, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Marcum followed with a single to center, and Shackle tried to scored. Danielle Ash gunned down Shackle at the plate, however. Shelbie Biddle, running for Marcum who went to second on the throw, came around to score as Queen belted her second home run of the afternoon to make it a 8-0 game.
The Yellow Jackets finished off the Falcons in the bottom of the fifth. After a leadoff out, Palm and Kate Reynolds each singled. Farley followed with a fielder’s choice to Falon Siemer, who missed the relay at second to load the bases. Shackle then stepped in and drilled a shot to left field, scoring Palm and Reynolds with the final two runs.
“The momentum has just switched,” said Mount Vernon assistant coach Lynn Apple. “They are really starting to click. I looked at the calendar last week to right down the Ws, and we went 5-for-5 last week. We had some tough games and we had some easy games, but they came out and played hard in every one of them. In the last 10 games, we are nine out of 10. We have totally turned the corner and we are just ripping the ball. ... They are really pounding the ball right now. If we keep this up, we could we a really good team.”
Mount Vernon starter Marcum pitched five strong inning, allowing just two hits and walking three. She improved to 10-6 on the season, accounting for all of the Jackets’ wins and losses.
“It doesn’t seem to matter how many innings she has pitched, she comes and hits her spots,” said Apple. “She is really pitching well. She is striking out a lot of batters, and seems to be getting stronger.”
The Jackets’ schedule continues to change. They will play a make-up game at Watkins Memorial today, weather permitting. Wednesday’s scheduled game at home against Fairbanks has been cancelled, and Mount Vernon will play at Whitehall instead, while the junior varsity will play at home. Mount Vernon will host Watkins Memorial on Friday.
“We haven’t played Watkins (Memorial) yet,” said Palm. “They lost to Big Walnut in extra innings, so we are going to have to bring our ‘A’ game.”
Shackle added, “We have to bring the same momentum we had today and against Big Walnut. It is going to be a big game, and hopefully, we can get another win.”