MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon 12-year-old All-Star team isn’t slowing down.
The All-Stars won Sunday’s semifinal handily, 17-1, over a talented yet overmatched Fredericktown All-Stars team.
Mount Vernon batted around twice in three innings, scoring eight runs in the first and again in the third. The game was called after 3 1/2 innings due to the run rule.
“Everybody’s making good plays,” said Mount Vernon head coach Steve Franko. “I feel that, one through 11, we’re solid. ... They’re all interchangeable, and they all understand that, which I think is our strength. The two boys we had on the bench were cheering as loud as when they were playing. I think that’s a huge plus for us.”
Ten different Mount Vernon players had at least one hit. Kaden Daniels led the way by going 3-for-3 with three RBIs, reaching base all four times he came to the plate. His last hit was a towering two-run home run that sailed well over the left centerfield wall.
Dustin Hess led off the third inning with a solo shot that bounced off the tarp in straightaway center.
A lot of things are clicking for a team that hadn’t played together until only a few days ago.
“Any chance we get to play is good,” said Franko. “We didn’t get any tournaments ... so any chance we play is tremendous. They put a good pitcher on the mound, and we responded well.”
The first five batters for Mount Vernon all scored. Two were driven in on a bases-loaded double by Isaac Stallard. Ashton Spurgeon drove another run home with a single to centerfield.
In all, 10 Mount Vernon batters reached base in the first. The team tortured Fredericktown starting pitcher Jalen Sheriff by being patient and forcing him to throw strikes. When Sheriff did, Mount Vernon’s batters connected. Christian Kopina came in for relief, with similar results.
“That first time through, the hitters just made good decisions,” said Franko. “They were disciplined at the plate.”
In the third, the top five batters again scored. After Hess’ homer, Drew Hedrick reached and came home on a Stallard single. Jeffrey Rucker singled and came home on a hit by Marcus Shellenbarger. Stallard and Schellenbarger scored on ensuing at-bats by Spurgeon and Jaret Gaumer, respectively.
Rucker pitched the final inning to earn the win on the mound for Mount Vernon. Stallard struck out three and walked one in 1 1/3 innings, while Rucker struck out one in 1 2/3 innings of work. All three pitchers allowed just one hit apiece.
Billy Coss, Jacob Hinger and Brad Wolford each had a hit for Fredericktown. Hinger scored his team’s lone run, by reaching third on two wild pitches then scoring on a passed ball.