MOUNT VERNON — For several minutes, a major upset was in the air at Phillips Park.
That is, until the Mount Vernon 12-year-old All-Stars came to bat in the third inning.
The team responded to an 8-3 deficit by scoring nine runs in the third and seven runs in the fourth to come away with a 19-8 victory over Fredericktown on Tuesday. The victory secured a championship in the District 5 preliminary tournament.
Isaac Stallard had two towering home runs in the late-inning onslaught. The first came when he led off in the third, smacking one just over the left center-field wall. The second came with Nate Orr on in the fourth; that time, it sailed over right center-field.
Tyler Bills added two doubles, the second of which scored two more runs in the fourth. Dustin Hess then drove in Bills with a double of his own.
Chase Jesse went 3-for-3 from the plate for Fredericktown. Brad Wolford added two singles with a run scored.
Both offenses poured it on in the third inning, which took nearly 50 minutes to play. Between both teams, 27 batters came to the plate. Fredericktown loaded the bases twice, with Jesse driving in two runs on a single. Jacob Hinger drove in another run on a single, and Billy Coss drove in the sixth and final run on a groundout to first.
Fredericktown, however, left the bases loaded. It would come back to haunt the team.
Mount Vernon scored nine times in the bottom half of the third, with Ballard scoring the first and last runs. Everyone in the lineup reached base at least once in the inning for Mount Vernon. Hess drove in two runs on a bases-loaded single, then came in on a Nate Orr single.
“When they came in, all I said was, ‘Let’s see what kind of team we’ve got here,’” said Mount Vernon head coach Steve Franko. “They responded. They definitely responded.”
Mount Vernon poured it on again in the fourth, sending 11 hitters to the plate with eight reaching base.
Despite the deficit being just 11 runs, both coaches agreed after four innings to end the game. The run rule states that a team wins when it holds a 15-run lead after four innings, or a 10-run lead after five.
“Most of our hitters are hitting strikes,” said Franko. “We’re swinging at very few bad pitches. They’re being patient. That’s a big thing right now — no one’s afraid to walk. A walk’s as good as a hit.”