By Steve Joos.
The Mount Vernon American Legion baseball team is young, but team members have some experience.
However, they started out the 2012 season with the week of living dangerously, and they still started out the season with a 2-0 record.
The Owen Dunn Post Five Legion squad manufactured enough runs to take the lead, played enough heads-up defense to maintain the lead and got enough pitching to post a 4-3 victory over Princeton Thursday night, after opening the season by pulling out a 9-8 win over Evansville Pate, taking the season opener on a bases-loaded walk-off er, walk to Jevin Redman, which forced in Craig Beeson.
“We just like to have close games,” Post Five manager Dan McNamara said. “We prefer to have them work in our favor and hopefully, they do, but again that (Princeton) is another good team with good players from a lot of different schools. For us to compete with them is a big thing for these guys. A lot of these guys are young and they play hard. They make good defensive plays that bailed some pitchers out. We got some hits when we needed them. We got a lucky bounce on a base hit that put us ahead. We’ll take that once in a while.”
A crazy hop on Beeson’s single to left field brought in Trevor Veeck all the way from first base after he singled with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, breaking a 2-2 tie.
Beeson then stole second and came around on a pair of passed balls for an insurance tally.
Post Five got good pitching from Drake McNamara, who went six innings before Bryce Newman and Veeck salted the game away.
One of those good players from a different school was Princeton pitcher K.D. Patton.
The North Posey product only gave up four hits in seven and one-third innings, but Mount Vernon got those blows in the right place at the right time.
An error led to an unearned run in the top of the first inning and then a single and passed ball made the score 2-0 before Post Five squared the set in the bottom of the fifth inning.
A hit batsman, walk, wild pitch and Clay Ford’s two-run single tied the game in the fifth and that’s how it stayed until the eighth.
Post Five let an 8-4 lead get away in the late innings, and then needed a bases-loaded walk to Redman in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull out a 9-8 decision over visiting Pate in their season opener Tuesday.
“We played pretty good,” McNamara said. “That (Pate) is a pretty tough team. They’ve got kids from three Evansville schools on the team, their lineup, one through nine, is pretty tough, and they were pinch hitting three or four guys off the bench in the late innings that were three or four hitters on their high school teams.”
Hank Dausmann kept Owen Dunn in the game, the coach said, giving up four runs in five innings before Ross Canada took over.
Canada was the winning pitcher despite getting a pair of bad breaks at the outset of the ninth inning and enabled Pate to forge an 8-8 tie, but Mount Vernon didn’t give up and came right back to win the game in bottom of the inning.
Three walks and a bunt single did the trick for Mount Vernon.
Beeson walked to open the Mount Vernon ninth, and then Collin Varner laid down a bunt for a single that almost got out of the infield and the Pate third baseman couldn’t control.
Ricer VanZant and Redman followed with walks, the last one forcing in the winning run.
Beeson belted a solo home run for Mount Vernon, while Ford collected four hits and Bo Harris two. Varner’s bunt single was one of three blows for the Mount Vernon outfielder.
“Most of the kids are seniors to be,” McNamara said. “So they’ve got a couple of years. Most of them have been on the varsity already. They know what they’re doing and most of it is a matter of being ready to play every game.”
Wednesday’s game with Funkhouser was cancelled due to a lack of players and coaches for the Evansville post. Many of Funkhouser’s players and coaches were part of Mater Dei’s high school team, which was still participating in the IHSAA state tournament.
By Steve Joos.
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