FORTVILLE — While addressing his team during its postgame meeting Monday night, Mt. Vernon head coach Ryan Carr didn’t mix words. He only needed one.
“Flawless,” Carr said after the Marauders beat Class 3A No. 9 Guerin Catholic 4-1. “You played a flawless game.”
From start to finish, the Marauders could do little wrong, and it pushed them to 9-4 on the year.
Sophomore Caleb Rush and junior Luke Smoot combined to scatter three hits, one run and struck out nine batters through seven innings pitched.
Senior Noah Powell came out swinging, blasting a solo home run in the bottom of the third to finish 3-for-4 at the plate.
“That’s a really good team. They’re ranked. They blanked New Pal (6-0),” Carr said referring to the visiting Golden Eagles, which dropped to 11-6 on the year. “Everything is going to plan. That doesn’t normally happen.”
The win marked Mt. Vernon’s fourth in five games after splitting a Hoosier Heritage Conference doubleheader on Friday with Pendleton Heights. And it further bolstered their already budding confidence with a HHC makeup game today against Delta (11-4, 5-4 HHC) with Mt. Vernon (4-3 HHC) sitting at third in the standings.
“This is definitely my best year of the four and the best team. We have a great chemistry,” Powell said. “I’ll do anything for the team.”
Powell did plenty as he lofted a 320-plus foot home run over the left field fence on an 2-0 count off Guerin Catholic starter Grant Fremion in the third inning.
His third hume run of the season and just the second surrendered by Fremion in 28 innings gave Mt. Vernon a 1-0 lead. In the sixth inning, the leadoff hitter laced an RBI double to put the Marauders up 4-1 in the sixth with two outs.
Powell, who signed with Saint Joseph’s College, is hitting .415 with eight RBIs in 13 games. He spent a handful of games batting fourth in the lineup after opening the year in the one hole.
Back at his familiar spot, Powell started the game with a single and flashed the leather in the field. He rifled three putouts and an unassisted out at second base in the first inning with a runner in scoring position to end a potential threat.
“I can’t say enough about Noah,” Carr said. “He’s so good and he’s done everything that needs to happen for this team to be good.”
The duo of Rush and Smoot kept the Golden Eagles quiet with efficiency. Rush threw four innings, striking out the first two batters he faced. While issuing four walks, the 6-foot-6 underclassman stranded four base runners.
In the second inning, Guerin Catholic put runners on the corners with two outs before Rush and Powell teamed to catch Kash Hale in a rundown to end the frame.
“Coach always tells us to get ahead in the count, so that was goal No. 1 for me,” Rush said. “The defense was a major help in this game.”
After a Trevor George double and a ground out to put him on third, Rush made sure he stayed there by striking out David Jones before he was relieved by Smoot the next inning.
“He’s going to be a guy in the future that will be in baseball terminology, the guy,” Carr remarked on Rush’s growth. “He’s still learning a lot and figuring his body out, and he’s really impressive. To go from where he was last year to now is amazing. He’s finding ways to get out of jams.”
Smoot (2-0) tossed three scoreless innings and allowed one hit to record the win while striking out four, which included the final two hitters he faced.
The Marauders’ 1-0 lead vanished in the top of the fourth as George connected for an RBI double, but Mt. Vernon responded.
Heads up base running by Bryce Robbins, who walked in the fifth, reached third base after a Ryan Beck single and a passed ball. He crossed the plate on another passed ball as Fremion’s pitch trickled to the backstop.
In the sixth, the Marauders added two insurance runs, kicked off by a leadoff double from Brayden Augustinovicz.
Zach Roach’s sacrifice bunt moved Augustinovicz to third and a wild pitch by Fremion scored him. Powell’s third hit capped the inning.
“There were two situations where we had second and third (in the first and fifth innings) and didn’t get anything done, so that was bad. But at the end, the last at-bats we had were perfect,” Carr said. “We played a near perfect game.”
Mt. Vernon 4, Guerin Catholic 1
WP: Luke Smoot LP: Grant Fremion
HR: Noah Powell (MV). 2B: N. Powell, Braydon Augustinovicz (MV); G. Fremion, Trevor George (GC). RBI: T. George (GC); N. Powell 2 (MV).