FORTVILLE — Sometimes, you take what you can get.
In fact, in only the second Hoosier Heritage Conference doubleheader of his career, first-year Mt. Vernon manager Ryan Carr said he’s thrilled.
“Absolutely I’m happy (getting the split),” Carr said. “Pendleton is a great program.”
Mt. Vernon rode an outstanding performance from starting pitcher Zach Spears to a 9-5 Game 1 victory Friday night in Fortville.
Unfortunately for Carr and his Marauders, Game 2 proved more elusive than the opener. They kept themselves within striking distance most of the game but could never come up with needed rally, falling 12-5.
An unlucky third inning is all that prevented Spears’ stat line from looking as dominant as he pitched.
The lanky left-hander struck out 11 Pendleton Heights hitters, while tossing a complete game, allowing five runs, on five hits and one walk.
All five Arabians runs came in that third frame, though two of the four hits that contributed to the rally were routine flyballs the wind played cruel tricks with.
“If it weren’t for that one weird inning, it would have been a 9-0, 9-1 game,” Carr said. “He was really great. That was a good lineup, too. You saw how they hit the second game. They couldn’t do anything against him. They were overmatched.”
It is the second straight start for Spears in which he has notched double-digit strikeouts. He fanned 12 against Yorktown last week.
Spears also helped his own cause with the bat. He laced a pair of doubles, going 2 for 3 with a walk and scoring a pair of runs.
Spears’ first double came amid a four-run first inning for Mt. Vernon. Noah Powell set the inning in motion with a leadoff walk. Ryan Beck followed with a single, then Christian Smith and Spears crushed back-to-back doubles, and Brandon Turner capped the scoring with an RBI-single.
Unlike the Arabians, however, the Marauders’ scoring would not be contained to one inning. In fact, Mt. Vernon would push across at least one run in all but one of the remaining frames.
Every Marauder in the lineup reached base at least once, and all but one scored at least one run. Powell and Brandon Turner each collected a pair of hits.
It appeared the Marauders were going to pick up right where they left off in Game 1 after they plated three in the first inning of the second game, but the Arabians would have none of that.
In their half of the first, they shelled Mt. Vernon pitching to the tune of five hits and two walks, pulling ahead 5-3.
They would never relinquish the lead. Pendleton Heights added two runs in both the third and fourth innings, effectively ending the game.
On the plus side for Mt. Vernon, Nathanael Lash swatted the team’s first home run of the game in the sixth inning.
Overall, the Maruaders collected just five hits in the game.
Opening Day Mt. Vernon starters Travis Mason and Michael Cripe suffered injuries in the first game of the season, but Carr was happy to report the team received good news this week for both.
Cripe was diagnosed with a sprained ankle, and Carr said he should be able to return to practice in two to three weeks.
Mason dislocated his shoulder diving for ball in the outfield, and while Carr said he might not be doing that again any time soon, he will be available to pinch run and maybe even swing the bat in the near future.
The Marauders look to get back to their winning ways Monday against Lawrence Central.