MOUNT VERNON — The hard-luck Franklin Heights Falcons were overwhelmed by a deadly swarm of buzzing, stinging Yellow Jackets on Monday afternoon.
The host Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets crushed the hapless Falcons, 31-0, in Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division baseball action on Monday. A school record 31-hit explosion off the bats of the Jackets (15-3) keyed the victory.
“There weren’t too many cheapies in there,” said Mount Vernon coach Doug Savage of his team’s incredible hitting. “They were rockets — most of them. It was a beautiful day to hit. It was over 80 degrees. You’ve got a fast infield and the wind blowing out a bit. We just set the tone with our bats. I just can’t say enough about the way we were hitting.”
Mount Vernon was led by a 6-for-6 performance by third baseman Luke Wilson (.429, 27 RBI). Wilson rang up seven RBI with three singles, a pair of doubles and a triple. Incredibly, the entire hitting deluge only took 4 1/2 innings when the Falcons were saved further embarrassment by the mercy rule.
“I was just seeing the ball,” said Luke Wilson, who became the first Jacket to go 6-for-6 in a game. “I was confident. Hitting’s contagious, I believe. Everybody was hitting and I came away 6-for-6 today.”
Jackets’ pitcher Ben Severns (4-1, 2.63 ERA, 42 Ks) despite the massive run support, didn’t let the gaudy numbers relax him. He pitched five, strong shutout innings. Throwing only 47 pitches, Severns only gave up a lone infield scratch hit on a grounder. Although Jackets’ shortstop Kolton Wilson was able to grab the ball to his glove side, he didn’t have a chance to throw out Franklin Heights’ (3-15) speedy shortstop Ryan Haas. As it turned out, that single in the top of the third with one out broke up a no-hitter — although Monday’s humiliation of Franklin Heights was already complete.
“I came out and my defense was working behind me,” said Severns. “I was hitting my spots. I got some good work in and got the win today. I wish we could take those runs and substitute them for some other games earlier in the season, but it’s all right. We’ll take them.”
“He was real close to a ‘no-no’; they got an infield single or else he would have had a no-hitter,” said Savage. “Ben had a pretty efficient day on the mound.”
The Yellow Jacket batters pounded it hard to all fields, hitting some particularly vicious shots into the sunshine in right field where they went for doubles and triples. The Jackets, who set their previous hit record in 1982 with 24, had 23 hits after the first three innings of Monday’s game. Mount Vernon wore out the baseball, notching five triples and seven doubles.
“We actually used that (right field) half of the park more, today,” said Savage. “We’ve got some left-handed sticks with some power.”
“We knew we were the better team; we started hitting and it kept going on and on,” said Luke Wilson.
Aside from Luke Wilson’s huge day, Mount Vernon’s hard-hitting lefty first baseman Justin Edwards (.469, 3 HR, 28 RBI) stroked a double and a pair of triples before he was lifted in the fourth for reserve Nate Jarrell. Even Jarrell managed to get his first hit of the season.
“I pull the ball. We’ve got a lot of lefties on the team,” said Edwards, whose .816 slugging percentage leads the Jackets. “We always like to hit it down the line and that gets us triples all the time. They were just throwing it where we liked it. We are just a hard-hitting team and we’ve shown it all season.”
“Justin hit some balls down in that (right field) corner and burned the outfielders a couple of times,” said Savage.
Severns (.474) and left fielder Ty Benson (three doubles) rapped out four hits apiece. Severns’ homered for the second time this year. His shot cleared the 390-foot fence in dead center in the fourth. It was the lone round-tripper of the game. Severns has 23 RBI for the year. Benson’s average is up to .429.
Other highlights on the Yellow Jacket hit parade included rightfielder Brian Hoar, who had a double, a triple and four RBI. Centerfielder Robert Kane had three hits to raise his season average to .452. Russell Doup, who went in for Kane in the fourth, hit a shot to center field that was misplayed for extra bases. Kolton Wilson (.400, 25 RBI) wound up 3-for-4. Dillon Shuman, who was inserted for Wilson, managed to get aboard via a bunt single and eventually scored. Designated hitter Derek Baker (.417) had a pair of singles and a double. Catcher Aaron Watts (.400) added a pair of hits.
Monday’s effort leaves the Yellow Jackets with a team batting average of Ted Williams’ proportions. Their .399 average includes five players with both 40-plus at bats and a .400-plus batting average.
The Jackets will get a couple of days off to savor this one — as well as getting some much needed rest. The Jackets are back in action on Thursday at Newark, and play Watkins Memorial at home on Friday.
“I’ll just enjoy it today,” said Luke Wilson. “That many runs is pretty good and we just have to keep moving on.”