MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon All-Stars got started off on the right foot at the 2010 Ohio Senior Babe Ruth Tournament, held at Memorial Park on Friday night. Mount Vernon beat Springfield, 10-5, in the best-of-3 series, and will look to sweep the Warhawks this morning at 11.
Right from the start, Mount Vernon looked superior to Springfield. The All-Stars turned a double play in the top of the first inning, and then went to work in the bottom of the frame. The All-Stars plated seven runs on just one hit, taking advantage of four walks, a hit batsman and three Springfield errors.
“Having a lead always helps,” said Mount Vernon manager Troy Gallagher. “We had a strong lineup at the beginning. Everybody picked each other up. ... I asked the boys for five runs and they gave them to me. I know their character. I don’t know all of them real well, but the ones I do, they will do anything I ask.”
Jordan Radel walked to lead off the inning and moved to third on an error by Warhawk first baseman Billy Sanders, which left Mike Moreland safe as well. Moreland stole second before Luke Wilson drove both runners in with a single to center. A wild pitch and a flyout moved Wilson to third, and he scored on a throwing error by Springfield catcher Adam Roberson. Springfield pitcher Titus Montgomery then walked Fred Sheets and J.J. Eshelman to put to runners on. Another error by Sanders allowed Sheets to score on a ball hit by John Valdez, and after a strikeout, Montgomery walked T.J. Hoff to load the bases. Nate Taylor was then hit by a pitch to force in Eshelman, and Radel followed with a two-run single to left. A fielder’s choice ended the inning, but not before Mount Vernon had a hefty lead.
“I usually don’t much run support, so to come out like that was great,” said Wilson. “I was on cruise control after that.
Wilson continued his strong pitching on the mound in the second inning, giving up one run after a single by Springfield’s Jimmy Rowland. Rowland took second on a Mount Vernon error and scored on a two-out single by Sanders.
The All-Stars took the run back in the bottom of the inning, getting back-to-back singles by Willie Gallagher and Sheets. Gallagher stole second before Sheets hit and scampered home on it.
Both teams stayed off the scoreboard in the third inning, but both posted runs in the fourth. Springfield scored three in the top of the inning, after singles by Tyler Foulke, Trent Davenport and Trey Casey. Mount Vernon managed to get one back in the bottom of the inning on a RBI single by Eshelman, scoring Willie Gallagher.
Down by five, Springfield didn’t give in. The Warhawks got a leadoff walk to Montgomery to start the fifth. He stole second and the raced home on a throwing error by All-Star catcher Corey Grennell. That was all they got off reliever Hunter Huvler, however. Huvler picked up three straight outs in the fifth and sixth innings, getting strong play from his defense. Huvler allowed a two-out infield single in the seventh inning, but induced a flyout to Radel to end the game.
“We wanted to give them a different look,” said manager Gallagher on the pitching change in the fifth inning. “There wasn’t anything wrong with the way Luke was pitching. We know we are going to need him down the road, so we went with Hunter.”
Mount Vernon, meanwhile, managed one more run in the bottom of the fifth. Huvler walked to lead off, moved to third on a fielding error and scored on a groundout by Radel.
“We really didn’t know what to expect,” said Wilson. “We only had one practice together as the whole team, and that was (Thursday). We came out and played well.”
With the win, Mount Vernon moves one step close to the Babe Ruth World Series. The Ohio champion will receive an automatic bid for the tournament, which will be held in Newark.
“This gives us a tremendous advantage, but we have to keep out heads on right and not worry about this game. It’s gone and we’ve got to compete (Saturday) at our best level,” said manager Gallagher.
Wilson said, “This helps us a lot. We’ve got one game to mess around with I guess, but we would rather sweep it and get out of here. We want to take care of business. I want to win and go to the World Series.”