MOUNT VERNON — The final home softball game for Mount Vernon’s nine seniors was not only a victory, it may have also served as a bit of a wake up call.
For their part, the Yellow Jackets got on top of the visiting Zanesville Blue Devils early, hung on and slammed the door late to win Thursday’s non-league matchup, 5-2.
With tournament time coming up Monday, Mount Vernon manager Mike Marcum knows that no team can ever be taken for granted.
“I think that we should have hit (Zanesville pitcher Tamara Hina) a little harder than we did,” said Marcum. “It is what it is.”
“It was good to get the win, but we were not playing up to our potential,” said Jackets’ second baseman Keli Thompson. “I’m a little frustrated with that but, at least, we got the win. We played another team like this earlier in the year and, sometimes, we play down to their level and we know that we can play so much better.”
The Jackets wasted no time getting on the board with designated player Kayla West and Thompson leading off the home half of the first with back-to-back singles. Mount Vernon first baseman Maggie Hale drove them both home with a double.
Meanwhile, starting pitcher Brittany Roden kept the Blue Devils at bay, holding them scoreless in the first four innings. She went five innings, striking out five and not walking a batter. The defense was solid behind her as well.
“I think we did very well,” said West. “We had (only one) error, which is good and that’s what wins ballgames.”
The Jackets were able to hang another pair of runs on the board in the fourth. Mount Vernon leftfielder Taylor Kelly led off the inning with a double. Shortstop Alex Rutherford singled and was forced out when rightfielder Amber Woodford hit into a fielder’s choice. Centerfielder Kate Reynolds singled to load the bases. West came up and singled to center, scoring Kelly and Woodford. In the same play, however, Reynolds was thrown out at the plate attempting to score and West was also thrown out after overrunning second base in what turned into an unusual two-RBI double play to end the inning. The Jackets lead was 4-0.
“(Zanesville) made some really good plays,” said Marcum. “They capitalized on a couple of aggressive moves that we made.”
After the Blue Devils scored twice in the fifth, Marcum lifted Roden in favor of Molly Chacey, who finished the game with a pair of scoreless innings.
“(Zanesville) was making good defensive plays,” said Thompson. “They were also hitting the ball.”