By Steven Kochersperger
What a wild week it was for the Mount Vernon girls’ softball team. After winning five of their last six games the Wildcats came into the week confident in their ability to continue to score runs and win ball games. The runs came as expected and the Wildcats found themselves splitting a pair of exciting games in consecutive nights.
On Tuesday the Wildcats hosted Big Eight Conference foe Princeton in what looked to be a tough matchup. Princeton came into the night having beaten some impressive competition on the season and all in attendance noticed they came ready to play.
The first three innings of play were a pitcher’s duel. Wildcat pitcher Mackenzie Stratton and Tiger pitcher Taylor Holzmeyer traded innings by setting down the opponents and kept the other team scoreless through three innings of play.
The fourth inning would be better for the Tigers though. With two outs in the top of the fourth Princeton continued to battle and ended up scoring seven runs behind their great hitting and miscues by the Wildcat defense.
The Wildcats would try and chip away at the lead though. The Cats scored two in the bottom of the fourth inning and one in the fifth behind a run scoring double by senior Brittany Wilson to cut the Tiger lead to 7-3 after five innings of play. And after Princeton scored two more runs in the top of the sixth inning to go ahead 9-3 it looked like all hope had been lost for Mount Vernon.
That’s when the Lady Cats showed what they are made of this season. While many teams would have just laid down and gone home quietly, these Wildcat softball players did the opposite.
After back-to-back base hits by Madison Denning and Tylyn Tanner, Katie Tucker’s patience paid off at the plate when she loaded the bases by drawing a walk. This brought to the plate freshman Ellen Denning who is becoming quite a force for the lady Wildcat softball team. Denning, facing a new pitcher, crushed the first pitch she saw for her first career high school grand slam to bring Mount Vernon within two runs at 9-7 in the sixth inning. Morgan Matthews and Kelley McCloud would both double in a run each in the inning completing an amazing comeback by the Wildcats in the inning at 9-9.
And after both teams failed to score in the seventh the game went to extra innings. Princeton would get two runs off of Mount Vernon’s relievers to go ahead 11-9 in the eighth inning. Mount Vernon would get one last crack at it and would only get one run, off a home run by senior Morgan Matthews, and end the game one run behind 11-10.
The very next night the Wildcats hosted the Bosse Bulldogs looking for a chance to put the extra inning disappointment behind them. They did just that in convincing fashion as they crushed the Bulldogs by scoring sixteen runs off of eleven hits to beat Bosse 16-5 in five innings at home.
With the week behind them the Wildcats enter this week with an 8-8 overall record. This week the Cats will play three times on the road at Carmi, at Vincennes Lincoln, and at the Central Invitational.