fORTVILLE — The Mt. Vernon Marauders used grit to put themselves in position to win late on Memorial Day, but their championship run came to an end just shy of another potential upset.
Knocking off Class 4A No. 3 Cathedral in the semifinals 9-7, the host Marauders never quit in the Sectional 10 title game, tying Lawrence North 4-4 before losing 8-4.
“We hung with them, but we made mistakes that cost us,” Mt. Vernon coach Ryan Carr said. “I think we could have gotten out of the first inning unscathed, if we hadn’t made mistakes.”
Mt. Vernon logged 10 hits, including a lead-off home run from senior Noah Powell in the bottom of the first as the Marauders trailed 2-0. Powell finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs, two runs and a double.
Back-to-back RBI singles by Travis Mason and Braydon Augustinovicz in the third inning trimmed the Wildcats’ lead to 4-3 in the third inning. Powell’s second RBI tied the game 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth as Nathan Seifert scored on the single.
“I couldn’t ask for a better effort,” Carr said. “Down 2-0, down 4-1, and to comeback and to tie it up. It might be cliche, but this team has a lot of guts. They have heart.”
Eventually mistakes — four errors — and Lawrence North’s standouts were difficult to overcome.
Justin Reed, who recorded the win on the mound for Lawrence North, came in as a reliever. The Indiana University recruit went four innings, allowing five hits and struck out a pair.
Coby Taylor, a Lincoln Trail recruit, was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including a two-run home run in the third inning as the Wildcats went up 4-1. He had an RBI double in the seventh.
“We have a great group of seniors that played really well for us this year and are going to be tough to let go, but we have some solid juniors coming up some good sophomores coming up,” Carr said. “Hopefully, we can build from this because this is going to be our sectional every year. It’s a really good sectional and a hard one to get through.”
On paper, the third-ranked Cathedral Irish can be intimidating. With two state titles since 2001 and four state runner-up finishes under head coach Rich Andriole the past 10 years, the Irish have collected 20 sectional championships overall and nine in 4A since 2005.
While impressive, it wasn’t enough to convince coach Carr and his Marauders that the Irish were the de facto sectional champions.
“I talked with my old coach at Manchester, Rich Espeset. He said one of the big things to remember is, ‘you’re not playing the guys in the past who wore that jersey. You’re playing the kids wearing that jersey now,’” Carr said.
Chasing senior Will Conway, a left-handed Purdue recruit, after one inning, Carr’s squad got in the groove in the bottom of the second, scoring nine runs on seven hits to upset the Irish 9-7.
“We just played this one like any other game,” Mt. Vernon senior Tyler Franklin said. “Coach told us, ‘It doesn’t really matter who you’re playing. You just have to play your best.’”
Though not quite flawless, the Marauders were fearless and rattled Conway, who walked five, including back-to-back to lead off the second before getting pulled for junior Jack Myers.
From there, the Marauders erupted, sending 11 more batters to the plate and forcing the Irish to go to senior Trey Craig after taking a 5-4 lead.
Luke Smoot drove in the first run on an RBI single, followed by a two-run double by Bryce Robbins. Ryan Beck, who earned the win on the mound, helped his own cause by tying the game 4-4 with an RBI single.
An RBI walk drawn by Brandon Turner with the bases loaded ended Myers’ day. Franklin opened the flood gates on his first swing against Craig with one out and the bags packed.
His three-run double and Smoot’s second RBI single of the inning gave the Marauders all they needed, going up 9-4.
Mt. Vernon 9, Cathedral 7
WP: Ryan Beck LP: Jack Myers
2B: Tyler Franklin, Bryce Robbins (MV); Anthony Oeding, Jared Poland, Nick Andriole (CHS).
RBI: R. Beck, Brandon Turner, T. Franklin 3, Luke Smoot 2, B. Robbins 2 (MV); A. Oeding, J. Poland, N. Andriole, Charlie Gomez 2 (CHS).
Notables: T. Franklin 1-2, two runs; L. Smoot 2-3; B. Robbins 1-3, run; T. Mason 1-2, run; Beck 1-2, run.
Lawrence North 8, Mt. Vernon 4
WP: Sam Paddock LP: Noah Powell
HR: Noah Powell (MV), Coby Taylor (LN). 2B: N. Powell (MV), C. Taylor, Tyler Nugen (LN).
Notables: Powell 3-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 2B, HR; Travis Mason 2-4, RBI; Braydon Augustinovicz 1-4, RBI; Luke Smoot 2-4 (MV).