By Steven Kochersperger
While many of us were busy preparing for Easter and enjoying the last few days of spring break the Mount Vernon baseball team was busy making some noise to begin their season at the Terre Haute ‘Baseball Bash’ Invitational.
On Friday night the Wildcats opened with a 3-1 win over New Haven behind some great pitching and defense. Then on Saturday morning the Cats took on Terre Haute South High School and came out victorious 4-1 behind some solid pitching and a go-ahead two run home run from junior Craig Beeson.
Those two games set up a great matchup with the Munster Mustangs in the final game who had also won both of their opening games of the Invitational. The Cats started Ross Canada as their pitcher and though he struggled early, his team had his back.
The game opened up with the Mustangs striking early and going up 2-0 in the top of the first inning. But while the top of the inning seemed to be a struggle for Mount Vernon, the Cats struck back in the bottom of the inning to answer the Mustangs.
With the bases loaded and only one out senior Drake McNamara stepped up to the plate and plated the first run for the cats on a fielders choice. The Wildcats continued the scoring in the first when Craig Beeson hit a two run single to put the Cats up in the ball game. Mount Vernon would score again in the inning behind a wild pitch and found themselves up 4-2 at the end of the first.
Munster would strike back though. The Mustangs scored three times in the top of the second inning behind a double and a single with two outs. And with the score 5-4 Mustangs at the end of two innings Munster was feeling good.
Canada struggled in his three innings on the mound but did strike out five while walking three runners. He turned the ball over to teammate Kris McKinney who struck out the Munster batter to end the fourth inning with the Mustangs threatening to score with a runner on third base. Not bad for a guy who took a year off of high school baseball and is now back.
In the bottom of the fourth Wildcat Trevor Veeck doubled in the tying run to even the ballgame up at 5-5. Munster would strike again though scoring two more runs in the top of the fifth but the Wildcats would answer once again behind a three run fifth inning. Drake McNamara started that fifth inning by hitting his first home run of the year. The Wildcats then added two more runs behind Craig Beeson’s sacrifice fly and Logan Brown’s single with two outs allowing a Wildcat runner to score and take the lead at 8-7.
The Wildcats added three more runs in the sixth and ended up only allowing one more Mustang run to win the game 11-8 and the Invitational for the first time since 2007.
The wins put Mount Vernon at 3-0 to start the year and Wildcat head coach Paul Quinzer is happy with his teams’ performance.
“We had pretty good pitching all weekend and good team play,” Quinzer said. “The first two ballgames we had pretty good pitching and all 16 guys contributed in some way in all three games for us. It feels good to start the year 3-0.”
And while the Wildcats are happy with how the early part of the season is going Quinzer knows that there is still a lot of time and work to do.
“We are happy right now but still have a lot of work to do to get better as a team,” he surmised.
One of the areas the team seemed to struggle, especially in the third game against Munster, was locking down the inning with two outs. And while there are things to work on, as there always are in the beginning of any season, the Wildcats feel their season can end up being a successful one if they continue to work hard and never give up no matter the situation.
By Steven Kochersperger
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