By Steve Joos.
The Mount Vernon American Legion baseball team ran into a series of strong teams last week.
In fact, they hit the “Wahl” almost from the start.
Rockport came out hitting the ball Tuesday night and put Owen Dunn in an early hole they couldn’t climb out of as the Spencer County team took a 13-3 decision in eight innings under the 10-run rule.
Devin Wahl and Damon Wahl sheared the pitching duties for Rockport and basically shut Post Five down on three hits Tuesday. Devin retired the first eight batters he faced while tossing the first five innings, then Damon took over and shut things down the rest of the way.
“We dug ourselves a big hole early and really didn’t get out of it,” coach Dan McNamara said. “We were putting the ball in the hitting zone a little more than we needed to. Trevor (starting pitcher Trevor Veeck) settled down and got a few outs, he got through some innings, but he just got in too big a hole.”
Walks and hard hits led to four runs in the top of the first and then lead-off walks led to more Rockport runs in the second and third innings as the Spencer County team scored in each inning except for the fifth.
Trent Benningfield belted a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning, as Rockport scored single runs in the middle frames and four more in the top of the eighth to put the game away.
“They would get runners on base and they hit the ball hard,” McNamara explained. “We just couldn’t find the hole, we just couldn’t get it going. They made the plays; they (Rockport) have a pretty good ball club. We just got into too big a hole.”
Four straight two-out walks led to Mount Vernon’s first run of the night in the bottom of the third inning. A lead double by Veeck was the first hit and he came around on a two-out double by River VanZant.
Rockport plated four runs in the top of the first inning and then bookended that with a four-run eighth, wearing Mount Vernon down with five single-run frames.
VanZant also singled for Post Five, but the Mount Vernon team managed just one other hit—a double by Trevor Veeck which led to a run on VanZant’s blow. The Wahls did walk eight Post Five batters, but Mount Vernon only managed two more runs.
The Owen Dunn Post Five squad turned the tables on their next foe, pounding Boonville 11-1 in eight innings on Wednesday.
VanZant had four hits and mopped up for starting pitcher Drake McNamara in the bottom of the eighth after McNamara pitched seven innings of four-hit baseball. The Mount Vernon hurler was tossing a no-hitter until Boonville’s only run of the game came on a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Mount Vernon had all but put the game away by then, striking for seven runs in the top of the fifth. Veeck, Clay Ford, Bryce Newman and Austin Krizan each had two hits, while Mount Vernon took advantage of four Boonville errors.
On Thursday, Post Five hit the ball, but Funkhouser hit it even harder and the Evansville post took advantage of those blows and four Mount Vernon errors for a 14-7 victory at Stone Field in the Barker Avenue complex.
Funkhouser banged out 17 hits of its own and broke things open with two big innings of its own, plating four runs in the bottom of the second and another five in the fourth to take control of the game. The Evansville post scored 12 runs in the second, third and fourth frames, chasing starter Ross Canada.
VanZant once again swung a big stick with three hits. Seth Reeves also collected three blows, while McNamara, Newman and Jevin Redman each banged out two hits.
•A game shortened by the 10-run rule?
On a very hot summer day?
Hey, why not?
Post Five scored in all but two innings and got home runs from Ford and VanZant as they touted visiting Fairfield 12-2 in seven innings Sunday.
Ford cleared the basses in the bottom of the first inning with a double and then put Post Five up 5-0 with a two-run homer in the bottom of the third.
‘’Good thing we had runners on base when Clay Ford came up,” McNamara said. “He must have been seeing the ball pretty good.”
Ford was seeing the ball and making contact each time at the plate, McNamara explained, adding that other players were spraying the ball around.
VanZant also hit the ball hard, greeting a Fairfield relief pitcher by taking him out of the yard with a solo homer to lead off the fifth inning.
On the mound, Veeck pitched a solid game, scattering five hits while going the distance and nearly blanking the Illinoisans to clinch the run-rule victory.
Two errors opened the door for Fairfield in the top of the seventh, with the second miscue allowing the team’s first run to score.
Mount Vernon answered in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out and then ending the game with a bases-laded walk and single by VanZant.
“I think he (Veeck) was getting tired and thought he had a strikeout,” McNamara said. “”He thought he was going to have a shut out, but he didn’t get a pitch, then he gave up a walk and a hit and before you know it, they scored a couple of runs. But he was able to get us out of it and we got a couple of urns in the bottom of the seventh to finish it off.”
Ford definitely had a better idea at the plate, collecting three hits and driving in seven of Mount Vernon’s runs. VanZant had two hits, as did Redman, One of Redman’s blows was a double.
The team played a solid game, with a pair of double plays and just one error. The drought was a factor, as both teams hit into a pair of double plays.
As for Mount Vernon’s other games, McNamara was pleased with the way Drake McNamara and VanZant pitched at Boonville, while the team once again played good defense and hit the ball.
The coach was unable to attend Thursday’s game, but said that it wasn’t a pitcher’s duel and Post Five had some hard luck, hitting a number of balls right at Funkhouser fielders.