FORTVILLE — Jitters, nerves, butterflies.
Whatever you call it, Mt. Vernon felt it early in Friday’s season-opening loss to 4A No. 16 Cathedral.
The veteran Irish, already with two games under their belt, jumped on the Marauders with three first-inning home runs on the way to a 13-6 victory.
Mt. Vernon, due to rain-outs, was just opening the season — with a rookie head coach and a fresh-faced lineup.
“I’m not too disappointed, all things considered,” said Mt. Vernon coach Veronica Kirby, taking over this season for the retired Mike McGill. “We definitely had some jitters that got in the way.”
Part of Kirby’s initiation was an early scolding from the home plate umpire for not sending her signals into the Mt. Vernon catcher quickly enough.
No matter what Marauders starter Sara Pridgen (0-1) threw, however, the Irish connected.
Seniors Madison Dolan and Kylie Hagarty and junior Alex Jackson went deep for Cathedral (2-1) in the first inning. The Marauders trailed 2-0 after two pitches, and 6-0 heading to the bottom of the first.
The Irish continued to pound away and grabbed a 9-1 lead through the third inning.
Instead of a 10-run rule rout, though, the game became more competitive as the evening wore on, thanks in part to Kristin Connors.
The Mt. Vernon junior smacked two home runs, and after taking over on the mound in the fifth inning, held the Irish to one unearned run.
“She has that experience, which helps,” Kirby said of the junior third baseman. “I think a lot of the other girls don’t have that, yet.
“Kristin carries that confidence for us, I’m finding out. I’m learning, too, so I appreciate that, and it helps me calm my nerves.”
With just three hits off Irish pitching through the fourth inning, Mt. Vernon collected seven hits in the final three frames.
Connors finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Sadie Baugh went 2-for-4. Lauren Montgomery, Jennah Ruddick and Savanna Schultz collected doubles for the rallying Mt. Vernon offense.
“We’re going to take two (today),” Kirby said of the Marauders’ doubleheader with Lutheran, scheduled for 11 a.m. this morning in Fortville. “We’ve got all this out of the way. We’re ready, we’re prepared.
“We did a really good job being teammates tonight. We had each other’s backs. We never really let that six-run deficit get us down. We kept fighting.”
Following today’s doubleheader, the Marauders will open Hoosier Heritage Conference action Tuesday at Yorktown, then host Chatard on Wednesday.