GREENFIELD — The Greenfield-Central and Mt. Vernon baseball teams both entered the night with only two wins, and an intra-county and conference doubleheader was the perfect opportunity to turn one team’s season around.
Mt. Vernon was able to accomplish that feat by sweeping the doubleheader with an 11-1 win in Game 1 and a 6-4 win in Game 2.
Mt. Vernon coach Ryan Carr beamed afterwards when he said, “It feels really good to sweep a conference doubleheader. It’s nice to see us put together two good games on one night.”
The night began with the starting pitchers from both teams escaping jams with minimal damage. In the top of the first, Mt. Vernon first baseman Ryan Beck led off the game with a walk, moved to third on a single by right fielder Wyatt Vestel and was batted in on a fielder’s choice by designated hitter Brandon Turner.
Greenfield-Central answer in a similarly protracted fashion in the bottom of the inning. Dallas Pribble and Slater Rush walked for Greenfield-Central, and pitcher Seth Adams helped his own cause by driving in Pribble with a double to left-center.
After a quiet second inning by both teams, the third inning turned decisive. With a combination of five Mt. Vernon singles and three Greenfield errors, Adams watched seven Marauders cross home plate, despite the ball rarely leaving the infield.
“It’s pretty simple: You’ve got to field the ball. Seth (Adams) was making great pitches, but we just couldn’t field the ball,” Greenfield coach Robbie Miller stated. “Even in the second game, the ball rarely left the infield.”
After the first inning, Spears would cruise. Despite walking six batters, Spears only allowed an infield single and a single by Greenfield-Central lead-off hitter Drey Jameson (who would be picked off immediately to end the fifth inning). Spears would pitch a six inning complete game with 10 strikeouts, with only three hits and one run allowed.
“Spears was really amped to pitch in this game, and I think that showed in his first few innings,” Carr mentioned after his team’s big night. “He still had too many three ball counts, but he’s got to remember he has the ability to mow guys down.”
Mt. Vernon won the first game 11-1 after only six innings thanks to the 10-run rule, but the next game was not so simple.
It was more of the same for Greenfield-Central at the beginning of Game 2.
After a Seth Adams RBI single to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the first inning, Mt. Vernon’s first six batters reached base. Wyatt Vestal, Zach Spears and Tyler Lash would all drive in runs for the Marauders, and Mt. Vernon would lead 4-1 after one inning.
Mt. Vernon center fielder Tyler Franklin helped Mt. Vernon score one run each in the second and third innings. In the second, Franklin led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a fielder’s choice, and score on a wild pitch from Greenfield-Central pitcher Nick Johnson. In the third, after two walks and a hit batsman loaded the bases, Franklin drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to give Mt. Vernon a 6-1 lead.
“I know Tyler doesn’t like hitting ninth, but I like to bat him there so he can turn over the lineup for us. We’d like to get him more at bats, but his speed really allows us to use him as a weapon in that spot,” Carr said.
In the top of the fourth inning, Greenfield-Central threatened as much as it had all night, when it loaded the bases with two singles and a walk by Tyler Farrell, Dylan Cheshier, and Tyler Mundell respectively. After Farrell scored on a wild pitch, Mt. Vernon starting pitcher Kennedy Parker and relieving pitcher Mitch McCarthy escaped the jam to preserve the majority of the lead.
A single, a double and a single by Greenfield-Central batters Seth Adams, Tyler Farrell, and Taylor Montgomery lead to two more runs in the top of fifth inning to cut the deficit to 6-4. Slater Rush came in to pitch a one-two-three bottom of the fifth, and Greenfield carried the momentum into the sixth inning.
Emotions ran high in the Greenfield dugout after a called third strike sent Tyler Mundell back to the dugout in the middle of the Cougar’s rally, and a Greenfield assistant coach was ejected from the game.
“I’ve got really good assistants; they’ve been coaching longer than me honestly. So, they are really good at noticing when things need to be addressed during a game, and I trust them to do that,” Carr said.
However, Mt. Vernon brought in sophomore Ryan Beck, who set the Cougars down in order in the top of the sixth and seventh to end the game with Mt. Vernon victorious.
“Greenfield had the top of their lineup coming up, and Kennedy was pitching very well, but I thought it was time to bring in Beck,” Carr said after his performance. “He’s has had an elbow issue that has limited his innings, but by the end of the year we think we will be able to lean on him. Next year, he could slide right into a number one or two (starting pitching) spot.”
Mt. Vernon improved to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in the Hoosier Heritage Conference, while Greenfield-Central falls to 2-9 overall with a 1-5 record in the HHC.
Greenfield hosts Perry Meridian on Monday night and Connersville on Wednesday night, while Mt. Vernon will travel to Beech Grove on Monday and host Fishers on Tuesday.