MOUNT VERNON — Friday’s baseball showdown between Ohio Capital Conference rivals Mount Vernon and Hilliard Bradley was best summed up by Tyler Mathias, the Yellow Jackets’ radio play-by-play announcer.
“This is the ugliest Mount Vernon home game I have ever seen,” he said on the air.
Nearly everyone cheering the orange and black would agree, as the Jaguars batted around twice and took advantage of six Yellow Jacket errors to deliver an 18-6 six-inning run-rule beatdown to Mount Vernon.
The loss ended an eight-game winning streak that included a sweep of Delaware Hayes.
There were few things that went right for Mount Vernon (9-7, 5-3 OCC), which went into Friday’s game in a four-way tie atop the conference. Besides six errors by six different fielders, the Jackets had a wild pitch, two passed balls and a hit batsman — all of which led to a score.
“Apparently, we weren’t ready to play, and that falls on me,” said Mount Vernon head coach Matt Smith. “We talk about things being contagious. The good things are contagious, but so are the bad things, and we saw that tonight. We started to press, and we did not play good defense. We have not played defense like that all year, and I’d be really surprised if we played like that again.”
The only place where Mount Vernon didn’t seem to struggle was at the plate. The team managed seven hits, including doubles by Kory Shackle and Jayben Martin, as well as a groundrule double in the first by Billy Jackson. In the first inning, Ryan Goetzman knocked two runners in on an error, then Jackson sent Maxwell home on his double, giving Mount Vernon an early 3-0 lead.
Shackle ended the day 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Shawn Maxwell had two hits and an RBI sacrifice fly.
But few people noticed the offense. Mainly because Mount Vernon was spending so much time on defense.
Hilliard Bradley (6-8, 3-5 OCC) sent 12 batters to the plate in the second inning. The Jaguars landed six hits and drew three walks in the frame, while another batter reached on an error. In all, six runs came in, and Mount Vernon’s lead had evaporated.
“We had that three-run first inning,” said Smith. “But, we also had runners at second and third with nobody out, and we couldn’t bring them in. ... I don’t know if we relaxed a little bit. I don’t know if we rested on our laurels, or what. But we definitely got outplayed, outcoached and outhustled.”
Mount Vernon managed a run in the second, when Shackle came in on two wild pitches. But in the fourth, Bradley struck again with four more runs to make the score 10-4. Maxwell’s sacrifice fly scored Riley Swanson in the bottom of the fourth, but the general feeling was that the roof was about to cave in on the Jackets.
Sure enough, after a three-run fifth inning, the Jaguars lit up the scoreboard for five more in the sixth, batting around for the second time.
Mount Vernon tacked on one more run when Swanson came in for the third time, this time on a passed ball. However, when Goetzman grounded out to second for the third out, the game was mercifully over.