The Yellow Jackets took the Golden Eagles deep …
Mount Vernon, hitting three solo home runs in a day when the wind was blowing straight out to center field, held off a late Big Walnut charge en route to an 8-6 Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division softball victory Monday night in Sunbury.
After taking a 1-0 first-inning lead against Big Walnut starter Allie Walker on a single and two Golden Eagle errors, the Yellow Jackets (5-3-1, 4-2 OCC) led off the third inning with back-to-back home runs by center fielder Kate Reynolds and shortstop Keli Thompson that hitched a ride on the gusting winds on their way over the fence for a 3-0 advantage.
The Golden Eagles (9-6, 2-4 OCC) answered with a run in the bottom of the third on a walk to Hayley Apple, a fielder’s choice and an error against Yellow Jacket starter Brittany Roden. Big Walnut tied the game at 3-all in the fourth, opening the inning with back-to-back singles by Krysten Chadwick and Emily Petty, who would come home and score on a wild pitch and an error.
Mount Vernon, after going down in order on three ground balls against Walker in the fifth, went back to work in the sixth. Third baseman Maggie Hale hammered the first pitch she saw over the left-center field fence for a 4-3 Yellow Jacket lead. After Walker hit first baseman Jess Wellman with a pitch, catcher Abby Lyons reached when her one-out bunt was mishandled for an error that left runners at second and third. Kaysa West cleared the bases with a double to right-center field and came home on Alex Rutherford’s triple down the right-field line and the Jackets were up 7-3.
Big Walnut went back to work, mounting a 3-run rally with two out in the bottom of the sixth. Apple walked on a 3-2 pitch, advanced to third on Shaye Kuhlman’s double to left and scored on Brooke Hatfield’s single to left. Hatfield’s hit was midhandled by left fielder Amber Woodford allowing Kuhlman to come home and Hatfield to reach third, where she would score on the Jackets’ second error of the inning to trim the mount Vernon led to 7-6.
But that was as close as Big Walnut would come. Mount Vernon tacked on an insurance run in the seventh as Reynolds was hit by a pitch and scored on back-to-back two-out singles by Wellman and Roden for the 8-6 final.
Roden went the distance for the Yellow Jackets to record the win, giving up six runs, three earned, on five hits. She walked two and struck out two.
“Mount Vernon is a good ball club that can swing the bats,” Golden Eagle head coach Jeff Hatfield said. “But I was proud of the way our girls never quit and battled back to pull even twice … we never gave in.”
Walker also went the distance in taking the loss for Big Walnut, surrendering eight runs, six earned, on nine hits and two hit batsmen. She fanned a pair.
“We’re continuing to improve,” Hatfield said of his Golden Eagles. “Our goal is to continue to get better and be ready to compete in the postseason.”