CHARLOTTESVILLE — On a warm day with the wind blowing steadily, one may expect a baseball game to put on a show of doubles and home runs.
On Tuesday evening however, Eastern Hancock used singles, aggressive base running and stellar defense to defeat the Mt. Vernon Marauders 8-3.
The Royals’ defense set the tone early, with juniors A.J. Muegge and Addison True each making impressive fielding plays at third base and shortstop, respectively, to keep Mt. Vernon’s runner on second base from scoring.
In the bottom of the inning, the Royals used the inverse of their defensive effort to stake out a 5-0 lead.
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Juniors Jarett Lewis, Muegge and Denny got on base via two singles and a walk. Errors against the next two batters opened the floodgates. After a Clayton White sacrifice fly brought the first out of the inning, Easton White cleared the bases with a double to bring the score to 5-0.
The Royals continued to display stellar infield and outfield defense to stymie the Marauders’ bats and not allow the few runners that did reach to advance around the bases.
“That’s something we take a lot of pride in,” Eastern Hancock coach Chad Coughenour said afterwards. “Andrew (Knoblock) is a ground ball pitcher, so our guys know what’s coming when he’s on the mound.”
Knoblock pitched a complete game, allowing three runs on nine hits. Two of those runs came in the seventh inning with his team already ahead by seven runs. With the win, Knoblock improves his record to 6-1 on the year.
The Royals were able to tack on three additional runs throughout their remaining at-bats despite not hitting anything higher than a single.
“We don’t really play station-to-station baseball,” Coughenour said. “We like to be aggressive on the base paths. For instance, one run we scored (a fifth-inning run by Muegge driven in by Levi Majority) was on a hit-and-run.”
Despite the size difference in schools, Mt. Vernon coach Ryan Carr came away impressed.
“They hit and field the ball really well; they really put the pressure on you,” Carr said. “I think they can really make some noise in their sectional.”
The win brought Eastern Hancock’s record on the season to 12-11, and they will get a chance to improve on that record Thursday night when they travel to Union County. Mt. Vernon plays tonight at Muncie Central.
Eastern Hancock 8, Mt. Vernon 3
MVHS (6-15); 000;100;2;—;3;9;4
EHHS (12-11); 501;110;x;—;8;9;2
WP: Andrew Knoblock (6-1) LP: Cole Cain (1-2)
2B: Easton Fields (EH).
Notable: E. Fields 2-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI.