MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets mounted one of their most memorable comebacks all season — only to see it wither away in a disastrous ninth inning.
The New Albany Eagles scored eight times in that fateful final stanza, ending a deadlock that both teams had a shot at winning. Instead, the 14-6 final score makes the game look like a blowout.
After spotting the Eagles (16-7, 8-4 OCC) six runs in the first two innings of their Ohio Capital Conference game, Mount Vernon scored five in the bottom of the second. In the third, with two outs, Nick Hoar scored the tying run in memorable fashion: He doubled, advanced to third after New Albany shortstop Nick Stahlman misplayed a groundball by Nate Shuman, then came in to score after Stahlman inexplicably threw the ball over the third baseman’s head.
Hoar went 3-for-4 in the game with two doubles, two RBIs and that wild run scored.
From there, the 6-6 score held up. Mount Vernon pitchers Hoar and Duke Cunningham shut down New Albany, while Nick Weisend and Wynston McMartin did the same to the Jackets.
After Hoar allowed just four hits and no walks in four innings of work, the Eagles finally got to him, pegging him with seven earned runs on six hits.
“The pendulum swings in baseball,” said Mount Vernon head coach Matt Smith. “In watching (New Albany) throughout their season, they’ve felt like they’ve left a lot of runners on base. Eventually, that pendulum is going to swing, and you’re going to get those clutch hits.
“Hitting is contagious. It got contagious for them in the ninth inning.”
Cunningham, who pitched 2 2/3 innings of shutout baseball with two strikeouts, had come in relief for Eric Ashbrook with one out in the second and the team trailing, 6-0.
Ashbrook appeared shaken as he came off the mound; however, he recovered in the bottom of the inning to hit a single following a Jayben Martin leadoff double. Hoar then singled both runners in to make the score 6-2.
Nate Shuman then singled, later coming in to score on a Brandon Dobbs single. Both Dobbs and Kory Shackle scored on a Riley Swanson triple that brought the Yellow Jackets to within one.