FORTVILLE — Whenever Wyatt Vestal walks up to the plate during a home game, heads turn.
In baseball, players rarely get the opportunity to show off their personality. Vestal expresses his in one three-word chorus.
“Everything is Awesome.”
“All the guys love it,” Vestal remarked on his intro song by The Lonely Island, made famous by “The Lego Movie” a few years ago. “I think it’s funny, and it kind of gets me pumped up a little bit.”
A musical choice inspired by his younger cousins while watching them last summer, Vestal and the Marauders lived by the lyric on Monday night, beating the Beech Grove Hornets 12-0 in five innings.
Vestal erupted for five RBIs, driving in a pair with a two-out double in the top of the third and three with a two-out homer in the first.
The Marauders laced five extra-base hits and junior Mitch McCarthy blasted a three-run home run during Mt. Vernon’s six-run fourth to give head coach Ryan Carr some payback.
While at Indianapolis Manual in 2014, Carr rebooted the dormant baseball program from scratch as the Redskins head coach, and his team endured several lopsided losses. One remained fresh.
“I have a history with this team. When I was at Manual, they beat us 43-0. I kind of had a little chip on my shoulder from that,” Carr said. “I told these guys, I had this game on my calendar. Thank God, they came out and played the way I envisioned they would.”
Caleb Rush, who was making his first start this year, tossed a one-hitter through five innings with three walks and eight strikeouts.
With Rush keeping the Hornets’ hitters at bay, after they beat both Indianapolis Tech and Northwest 16-0, the Marauders’ bats handled everything else, including runners on base.
“Coach talked to us before the game about that. Last game, we left over 10 runners on base, so that was a big part of this game,” Vestal said. “We have a long week ahead of us, and everyone was pumped to get this first win.”
During their split with Shelbyville this past Saturday, Carr emphasized how their 23 hits and seven walks only equated to 8 total runs in their 5-4 win and 5-3 loss.
Against Beech Grove (2-1), the Marauders left one runner stranded.
Vestal was the first to clear the base paths, clubbing his first home run this year over the left-center field wall at more than 362 feet.
His home run capped a string of four consecutive hits for Mt. Vernon. Vestal entered the game hitting .273 with a double and two RBIs.
“Vestal is a guy that has that power potential and always has. It’s just a matter of making contact,” Carr said.
Minor tweaks to the lineup paid dividends as well.
Looking to put senior shortstop Noah Powell in better position to drive in runs, Carr dropped him to the four hole and plugged McCarthy into the sixth spot, getting the starting nod at first base.
Powell reached base in every at-bat, lining a single, working a walk and getting him by a pitch. Vestal brought him home twice as he scored all three times.
“Noah took the first pitch deep the last game, so he’s in the fourth spot now to try to get us more RBIs,” Vestal said. “I’m not going to complain if Noah is on base in front of me.”
Vestal’s two-run double in the third fell less than two feet from becoming another three-run homer, grazing the bottom of the left-field fence to score Ryan Beck and Powell.
McCarthy drove in Vestal with a long RBI-single to left-center field to put the Marauders up 6-0 in the third inning.
Tyler Franklin opened Mt. Vernon’s six-run fourth inning with a one-out walk, followed by a Travis Mason double and a two-run triple by Beck, who was 2-for-2 at the plate.
The Marauders top six hitters all collected at least one hit. Vestal was 2-for-2, McCarthy finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs and Braydon Augustinovicz was 1-for-3 with an RBI-ground out in the fourth.
“Everything is awesome. Yes. Absolutely,” Carr laughed. “Beck and I were talking about that. Wyatt is an Eeyore. He never gets above 45 percent excited, and then the first time I heard that was his walk-up song, I couldn’t believe. It’s so contrary to his personality. It must get him loose.”
The Marauders (4-1) travel to Fishers today before hosting Hoosier Heritage Conference rival and third-ranked New Palestine for a doubleheader on Thursday. On Friday, they play Decatur Central in the Victory Field Classic.
“Fishers is really good. They beat us 12-1 last year,” Carr said. “We came in and took care of business today, so we’ll look to keep it rolling. I don’t have anything to yell at them about tonight.
“Everything is awesome.”
Mt. Vernon 12, Beech Grove 0, five innings
WP: Caleb Rush LP: Zach Ringham
HR: Wyatt Vestal, Mitch McCarthy (MV). 3B: Ryan Beck (MV). 2B: Travis Mason, W. Vestal (MV). RBI: R. Beck 2, Braydon Augustinovicz, W. Vestal 5, M. McCarthy 4 (MV).
Notables: R. Beck 2-2, 2 runs, SB; Noah Powell 1-1, 3 runs; W. Vestal 2-2, 3 runs; M. McCarthy 2-3, SB, run; C. Rush 5.0 IP, hit, 3 BB, 8 K.