MOUNT VERNON — After struggling to get any offense going against Delaware on Wednesday, the Mount Vernon High School’s softball team broke out the bats on Thursday.
The Yellow Jackets pounded out 14 hits in a 10-2 nonconference victory over Cardington at Yellow Jacket Field. Mount Vernon hit for the cycle in the game, led by Victoria Queen’s 3-for-4 day.
“I’m very pleased with our effort. One through nine, we were hitting the ball hard,” said Mount Vernon coach Carisa Frysinger. “We were hitting the ball hard yesterday, but it was right at people. That carried over into today, so I was very happy. I’ve heard (Cardington) had a good team; they have a lot of travel ball players.”
Queen just missed the cycle herself, hitting a single in the first, a double in the fourth and a three-run home run in the sixth inning. Abby Lyons went 3-for-4, and Natalie Scott belted a two-run triple in the second inning.
“I don’t think it’s landed yet,” said Frysinger of Queen’s home run. “She hit it straight away to center field. She needed that. She needed a big boost because she hasn’t been hitting the ball up until today like she has the last couple of years. She definitely showed the old Victoria Queen again.”
Cardington struck first, posting a single run the top of the first inning. Mount Vernon pitcher Kylee Marcum got off to a rocky start, walking Cardington’s Dezaray Minturn. Marcum’s battery mate, Olivia Starmer, then mishandled a ball, allowing Minturn to move up to second. A successful sacrifice bunt put her on third, and a wild pitch from Marcum brought her home. That, however, was about the only mistake Marcum made in the game.
“The first inning, we had a little jitters,” Frysinger said. “Olivia hadn’t caught in a couple of weeks, and I wanted to get her some time back there. It took a little bit, but by the next inning, she was working with Kylee very well.”
Marcum struck out the final batter of the first inning, and then sat down the next seven she faced, including six strikeouts in a row. Cardington’s Sophie Noe broke up her no-hit bid in the fourth inning, smashing a solo home run to left field. Marcum finished the game allowing just two hits and the walks. She struck out 13 batters.
“It is very helpful (to have a consistent pitcher), but it is also counterproductive if girls get used to her striking everybody out,” said Frysinger. “Kylee is that pitcher who can strike them all out, but she also puts the ball in play where we have to make plays behind her.”
Mount Vernon, meanwhile, matched Cardington’s first-inning run. Kate Reynolds singled to lead off the game, moved to second on a sacrifice by Scott and went to third on a single by Karina Shackle. Reynolds then scored on a single by Queen to make it a 1-1 game.
A combination of hits and errors helped Mount Vernon plate three more runs in the second inning. Scott’s triple keyed the inning and chased Noe from the mound. Minturn replaced Noe, and got out of the inning, but it wasn’t long before the Jackets lit her up as well.
A single by Lyons in the third inning and a two-out double by Ashton Bogo plated another run, and Bogo came home on another single by Reynolds to make it a 6-1 advantage.
Controversy struck in the bottom of the fourth after pinch runner Raven Farley was called out at home trying to score on a dropped third strike to Jess Wellman. Wellman ended up safe after the throw from Cardington catcher Tori Parsons pulled Stephanie Parker from the first-base bag. Farley broke for home on the play, and was called out for interference, though it appeared Parsons was blocking the plate. Queen ended up scoring on a single from Lyons, but the play at home had both team’s blood boiling.
The tension continued to rise over the next few innings, and it peaked in the bottom of the sixth. Shackle singled to lead off before Marcum was hit by a pitch. She immediately jumped out of the batter’s box in pain. After Frysinger and Marcum appealed to the home plate umpire for an intentional ruling, play resumed and that’s when Queen blasted her shot to center. That wasn’t the end to the problems, however. Farley, pinch hitting for Wellman, reached on a walk and stole second. She was hit on the head by the throw, however, sparking more hullabaloo.
“As a coach, there were a lot of emotions going on,” Frysinger said. “I’m always going to stand up for my players if I think they are getting wronged, but then there has to come a time and place in the game where you just keep your mouth shut and play softball.”
Putting this game behind them, the Jackets can turn their focus to today’s Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division game against Franklin Heights. The Falcons come to town fresh off losing to Watkins Memorial on Thursday, 5-0.
“I think we will carry this over,” said Frysinger. “The confidence we have, and how fired up they are right now, will be important. We need to keep pounding the ball and keep attacking. Especially after what happened last year with Franklin Heights, I think we will come in focused, fired up and ready to get the game going and over with, in our favor.”