Clutch hits for both teams, but Marauders advance

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PENDLETON — Stepping to the plate as a pinch hitter Monday evening, Jennah Ruddick had a chance to put Mt. Vernon ahead in its Sectional 9 quarterfinal contest with Greenfield-Central. As fate would have it, Monday also just so happened to be Ruddick’s 16th birthday.

On her Super Sweet 16, Ruddick delivered, driving a single to right to plate the go-ahead run in her team’s 4-3 win over the Cougars.

Top that, MTV.

The Marauders (9-16) face Richmond (19-11) today at 7 p.m. in the second Sectional 9 semifinal at Pendleton Heights. The host Arabians (19-9) take on New Castle (20-6) in the first semifinal at 5:30 p.m. The championship game is Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Following a single, a sacrifice bunt and an error, MV had runners at first and third with one out in the top of the seventh inning.

Up came the sophomore Ruddick to pinch-hit, earning the gig by impressing the coaching staff at batting practice in the days leading up the game.

“That I have to hit the ball and I’m up here for a reason,” Ruddick said of the thoughts running through her mind as she approached the batter’s box. “I need to do my job.”

Ruddick came through with a dart to right field, plating pinch runner Mackenzie Loehr for her second RBI of the year. Loehr was pinch-running for Kristin Connors, who singled.

“Most of the people of the in Hancock County would tell you I’m not a genius,” coach Mike McGill said with a laugh when asked about his decision to pinch-hit Ruddick. “She’s been having some good cuts during batting practice. And I talked to our assistant coach and she was the one that swung the bat the best during batting practice the day before yesterday, so that’s who we went with.”

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