MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets baseball team soared to a big first-inning lead on Tuesday.
Then, slowly, the Jackets came crashing back to Earth.
Olentangy Orange scored six unanswered runs to come away with a 7-4 victory on Mount Vernon’s home field.
Mount Vernon (1-2) came out with the energy they somehow lacked in the first two games of the season. The Jackets bantered, cheered and otherwise made more noise than the frozen crowd in the bleachers.
The rally cries worked. Mount Vernon’s first four batters all scored. Riley Swanson’s double started the early rally. After Kory Shackle walked and Ben Hoar reached on an error, Ryan Goetzman drove the first two home on a double.
Hoar would come home on a Shawn Maxwell single, then Goetzman scored on a wild pitch.
At that point, with four runs in and nobody out in the first, the Jackets appeared to have the game well in hand.
But this is baseball.
Orange pitcher Joe Haskins got himself out of the inning by striking out two batters and fielding a ground ball himself. Then Haskins settled down and went to work, shutting down Mount Vernon’s potent offense. He allowed just three Yellow Jacket baserunners in five innings, without allowing one of them past second base.
“We need to find a way to maintain that energy,” Mount Vernon head coach Matt Smith said. “I don’t know if it’s due to inexperience. But we’ve got to look at it as a seven-round mentality.”
Mount Vernon seemed unable to solve the mystery. Only five balls were hit into the outfield in those five innings.
When reliever Luke Wolford came in in the seventh for the save, the Jackets fared no better. Swanson reached on an error, but the next two batters struck out, and Goetzman grounded to second to end the game.