FORTVILLE — The ball was hit with a crack, and for a split second the crowd thought Morgan Scruggs had delivered a game-tying hit for the Mt. Vernon Marauders.
Instead, the line drive went right to the third baseman, who caught the ball and ended the Marauders’ season with a 6-5 loss during the Class 4A Sectional 10 semifinals.
That’s the play-by- play of the final out, but the moments in the game leading up to that situation encapsulated the entire season for Mt. Vernon.
“Our girls have fought all year, and tonight was no different,” an understandably emotional Mt. Vernon coach Veronica Kirby said afterwards. “We had improved so much this year and were playing great towards the end of the season.”
On the first pitch of the game, the Marauders found themselves behind, as Wildcat pitcher Taylor Erschen lofted a home run to left field. But, the Marauders regrouped and allowed no further damage. They took the lead in the bottom of the first after a single and an error on a ball hit by MacKenzie McCann that brought home two runs.
The Wildcats took the lead back in the top of the third inning, highlighted by another home run by shortstop Raniah Rogers, which helped push the lead to 5-2.
Giving up those runs didn’t phase Victoria Whyde in the bottom half of the inning however, as she stepped to the plate and delivered a two-run RBI single to bring the Marauders within one.
McCann tied the game in the next inning with another RBI single and the game stood at 5-5 until the top of the seventh inning.
After the third inning, Kaitlyn Nugent took the mound for the Marauders and sat down the first nine hitters she would face.
“Both Kaitlyn and Victoria have done a great job for us this year,” Kirby said. “Kaitlyn was really hitting her spots for us tonight and had a great game.”
Lawrence North retook the lead in the top of the seventh, however. With Erschen on third base, an errant pick off attempt allowed her to scamper home to take the lead.
On the next pitch however, as a single was laced into center field, Rogers attempted to score but was gunned out at home plate by center fielder Morgan Scruggs, keeping the deficit at only one run and setting up the dramatics.
The loss ends Mt. Vernon’s season and brings the team’s final record to 10-14.
Lawrence North 6, Mt. Vernon 5
WP: Taylor Erschen (6-3). LP: Kaitlyn Nugent (5-8).
HR: T. Erschen, R. Rogers (LN). 2B: M. Gee, M. McCann, K. Nugent (MV), T. Erschen (LN).
Notables: S. Perry 3-4, 1 BB. K. Nugent 2-4, 2B. M. McCann 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI (MV)